Court of Jewish Law. Nowadays, they mostly adjudicate civil disputes, and are composed of 3 judges. Their decisions are halachically binding, and in most cases, legally as well.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (3)

23
votes
2answers
406 views

Is it a mitzva to escape the death penalty?

If someone is being led to his death by bes din (a Jewish court), is he supposed to try to escape, since, in general, saving one's own life is paramount? More: normally, we say that if someone is out ...
19
votes
2answers
418 views

Is it a sin to escape the death penalty?

If someone is sentenced to death by a Jewish court and is being held prisoner until the sentence can be carried out, if he escapes, is that a sin for him?
17
votes
4answers
454 views

Did courts ever execute?

The laws of capital crimes elucidated in Sanhedrin and elsewhere make conviction very unlikely. Makkot 1:10 famously tells us that a court that executes once in seven years is bloodthirsty, R. ...
15
votes
6answers
1k views

Does the Torah ever mention jail as a punishment for a crime?

I have learned that punishments in the Torah often (always?) have a rehabilitative aspect to them as well as providing justice to the victim, e.g. someone who steals and can't pay back the value of ...
14
votes
2answers
218 views

How were judges appointed in the times of the Bais Hamikdash?

In the times of the Bais Hamikdash, were judges appointed by the king, or were they elected by the people? And was the system different based on which size court (i.e., courts comprised of 3, 23, or ...
12
votes
2answers
118 views

Are Jewish Court Rulings subject to Appeal?

Is there such a thing as an appeal in Jewish law, or are rulings issued by Jewish courts absolutely final?
12
votes
4answers
553 views

Can conversion be revoked?

In a recent case the Israeli Rabbinical Court has revoked someone's conversion to Judaism on the grounds that they were deceptive. This decision was "...Based on the fact that she completely ...
11
votes
4answers
392 views

Why is the torah so misleading without the oral law

In parsha ki tetze (Devarim 22) it says if a man takes a wife, hates her, accuses her of not being a virgin, etc. Then the elders spread out the bedsheet to see if there is blood of virginity. If not, ...
10
votes
3answers
460 views

DNA and Jewish Law

Why isn't DNA seen as a valid source of Halachic decision making? Is it because it's too small for the naked eye? A margin of error problem? What? Normally, physical evidence is plenty of information ...
10
votes
1answer
123 views

How do you “take someone to beis din”?

Reuvain and Shimon are having a monetary dispute. Reuvain wants to take Shimon to beis din to settle the dispute, how does this work in practical terms? Does Reuvain have to tell Shimon first? Can he ...
10
votes
2answers
188 views

Why is precedent set by individual rabbis, not courts?

The headline on this obituary for R' Eliyashiv ("A One Man Supreme Court") got me thinking - why do we invest so much power in precedents set by individual rabbis, as great as they may be, but not in ...
9
votes
1answer
159 views

Is there still yibum if executed by beis din?

If a married man who is childless is executed by beis din, does his brother still have an obligation to perform yibum?
9
votes
2answers
110 views

Threatening to sue with no intention to do so

Let's say that a person is rightfully owed a sum of money, and the debtor refuses to pay them. Can they threaten to take the person to Beis Din or a secular court, even if they have no intention of ...
8
votes
1answer
330 views

Can a convert serve as a dayan?

I believe that there are specific restrictions placed on a ger (convert) being a legal decisor on a beit din. What are these restrictions and do those, ipso facto, preclude that individual from ...
8
votes
2answers
84 views

Dressing similarly at a Din Torah - When did this change and why?

Gemara Shevuos 31a says that if two people come to Bais Din one dressed in rags and the other dressed in expensive clothing, we make them dress similarly. Sefer Hachinuch Mitzva 235 indicates that ...
8
votes
1answer
169 views

Napoléon's Sanhedrin

In 1806, Napoléon Bonaparte convened a synod of French rabbinim (mainly Alsatiens and Bordelais) to ascertain halachic opinions on a set of questions. What is the halachic standing of this synod's ...
8
votes
1answer
91 views

are you obligated to give testimony if you know you are pasul l'eidus?

I remember learning that there is a mitzvah to give testimony if you know of something which it requires. My question is if you know about yourself, with certainty, that you are pasul l'eidus in ...
8
votes
1answer
85 views

Does Beis Din have the authority to quarantine?

In light of the recent discussions about the legality of quarantining potential Ebola patients, I was wondering if Halacha has the mechanism for such a thing. In an autonomous Jewish society, in ...
7
votes
1answer
173 views

Why is the hard limit for the size of a beis din 71 members?

When a beis din is undecided (e.g. when adjudicating monetary cases or Dinei Nefashos), judges can be added until the beis din reaches a maximum size of 71. Why is a beis din's maximum size 71? Why ...
7
votes
2answers
270 views

History of Capital Punishment

When is the most recent documented occurrence in Jewish history of a beit din carrying out the death penalty? Or if historical documentation is lacking, when is the most recent time in Jewish history ...
7
votes
1answer
250 views

Is there a Statute of Limitations in Jewish Law?

From Wikipedia: A statute of limitations is an enactment in a common law legal system that sets the maximum time after an event that legal proceedings based on that event may be initiated. In ...
7
votes
1answer
204 views

Which beis din can declare items Hefker?

There is a rule that Hefker Beis Din Hefker, that a court can declare items ownerless. What are the requirements for a Beis Din to declare items ownerless? Are there any courts nowadays with such ...
7
votes
1answer
74 views

Why do we call the “judges” experts?

The hataras nedarim of Erev Rosh Hashanah starts with "Listen now my masters, expert judges" ("‎שמעו נא רבותי, דיינים מומחים‎").1 In practice, at least as far as I've seen, these judges are ...
7
votes
0answers
127 views

What should a conversion candidate expect at an Orthodox beit din?

This question about conversion before a Reform beit din made me wonder about other cases: what does the examination of a prospective ger by an Orthodox beit din look like today? Does the beit din ...
6
votes
1answer
386 views

What are the chief sources for requiring Jews to litigate in a beis din rather than in a civil court?

If I were to try to disuade a Jew from suing another Jew in court, without first going to a beis din, what Biblical and rabbinic sources should I cite as proof?
6
votes
2answers
165 views

Why can't All Cases be Solved with a Drink?

In the case of a סוטה (wayward wife) we have an amazing and miraculous way to figure out if the woman is guilty or innocent. What's so special about the case of סוטה that we have a very special method ...
6
votes
1answer
61 views

Can an affidavit be used in Beit Din?

An affidavit, from what i understand, is basically a signed document given by a witness to be used as evidence in a trial, without the witness themselves needing to take a stand. Can an affidavit be ...
6
votes
1answer
462 views

What forms of evidence do batei din accept to establish that someone is Jewish?

I am interested in the question, what forms of evidence do contemporary Orthodox batei din accept to establish that someone is Jewish? In particular, if you, your parents and grand-parents are ...
6
votes
2answers
207 views

Can a Beis Din deny conversion if a person cannot physically perform a mitzvah?

As far as I know if a male is unable to have children due to body damage, he cannot become a ger. I have also heard of Beitei Din not allowing deaf people to convert since they cannot do certain ...
6
votes
0answers
66 views

Historical Calendar Records

Are there any records of the Beis Din's decisions regarding the Hebrew Calendar (e.g. to add months, how long the month would be), before Hillel Hakatan established the fixed calendar?
6
votes
1answer
101 views

Is there a penalty under the law for attempted adultery?

If a married man or woman propositions sexual misconduct to a person, or a man or woman propositions a person they know is married, is there a prescribed penalty according to the law, i.e. would a a ...
5
votes
4answers
462 views

Etymology of the word sanhedrin

what is the root and source of the term "sanhedrin," the name of the Jewish high court and of a tractate in the Talmud? As far as I know, it is not from scripture.
5
votes
3answers
163 views

Can a judge take an equal bribe from both sides?

It says in Choshen Mishpat Siman 9 that it is forbidden for a Dayan (judge) to take a shochad (bribe). What about if a particular Dayan is dealing with a case between Reuven and Shimon, both of whom ...
5
votes
1answer
296 views

What is Otzar Beis Din?

During shmittah, some stores sell otzar beis din produce which is ok to eat. What is otzar beis din and why does it make the produce permissible to eat?
5
votes
1answer
123 views

Were there any Sadducees on the Sanhedrin?

Various Jewish sources indicate the presence of Sadducees among the priesthood, including the position of Kohen Gadol. However, are there any Jewish sources that discuss Sadducees on the Great ...
5
votes
1answer
88 views

What is/are the Halachic standard(s) of proof

This answer suggests a standard of "beyond a shadow of a doubt". That type of term is very popular from an English Law perspective, which has varying standards of "proof". Among them: Probable cause ...
5
votes
1answer
80 views

How does Beis Din handle loans with interest?

If a borrower and a lender go to Beis Din with a loan document that stipulates interest, but the borrower claims he can at least collect the principle, how does Beis Din look at that? Do they ...
5
votes
0answers
36 views

Looking for a particular idea from Reb Yonason Eibshitz

I recall reading a quote from Reb Yonason Eibshitz concerning a judge on a beis din of 23 faced with a strange situation. The defendant seems to the judge to be guilty of murder, but this judge is the ...
5
votes
0answers
59 views

Is one allowed to kill false witnesses to his own capital crime?

Reuven and Shimon conspire to execute Levi in Beis Din (court) for killing Yehuda by their testimony. Levi asks around and there are no witnesses who will come forward, and a few people told him that ...
5
votes
0answers
195 views

Relations among King David, the Sanhedrin, and the high priest

Do we have any historical source that discusses the relations among King David, the Sanhedrin during his reign, and the high priest during his reign? Were they on friendly terms? Was there a power ...
4
votes
2answers
206 views

When Eidim Zomemim are found guilty who do they pay if it was a monetary case?

When Eidim Zomemim are found guilty who do they pay if it was a monetary case? I can think of reasons to say it's the initial accused, the court, or the person who was said to have been owed the ...
4
votes
1answer
366 views

Can a convert (ger tzedek) serve on a beis din to annul a non-convert's vows?

If I understand correctly, there are certain cases where a convert can't serve on a beis din judging a native-born Jew. Yet when we break into groups of three for hataras nedarim (annulment of vows), ...
4
votes
1answer
230 views

Does Judaism have a default rule about child custody in the case of divorce?

In many marriages in modern times, a couple will sign a prenuptial agreement that outlines what should happen if they (chas v'shalom) get divorced. Among the things commonly agreed upon in a ...
4
votes
1answer
94 views

Clarification on “The Bloody Court”

If a beit din executes more than 1 person in 70 years, it is considered a bloody court. Does this axiom refer to only the 4 kinds of executions involving the 2 witnesses or does it include the ...
4
votes
3answers
65 views

Saving an innocent person from being wrongly executed by a Beis Din

There is already a question on this site asking about saving a person from being executed (fairly) by a beis din, as well as a question regarding the criminal himself, if he may/must attempt to save ...
3
votes
4answers
114 views

Why does Yisro appear to have higher standards for judges than Moshe does?

First Yisro says: וְאַתָּה תֶחֱזֶה מִכָּל הָעָם (1)אַנְשֵׁי חַיִל (2)יִרְאֵי אֱ־לֹהִים (3)אַנְשֵׁי אֱמֶת (4)שֹׂנְאֵי בָצַע וְשַׂמְתָּ עֲלֵהֶם Then when He selected it says he got: ...
3
votes
1answer
226 views

What should a conversion candidate expect in a Reform three-judge rabbinic court (Bet Din)?

What should a conversion candidate expect in a Reform three-judge rabbinic court (Bet Din)? I was told it was to determine the Jewish knowledge of the conversion candidate, but do you have any ...
3
votes
1answer
96 views

How does “getting a heter” work?

I have heard of the concept of "getting a heter" to do something that is not ordinarily permitted, but I don't have a good idea of what it means. I am interested in explanations of what this process ...
3
votes
1answer
99 views

How can you get Ka'asher Zamam if you became a Chalal

There is a rule that Ka'asher Zamam vilo Ka'asher Asa: the second set of witnesses have to appear in court "before the punishment" in order that the first witnesses get the punishment Ka'asher Zamam. ...
3
votes
1answer
101 views

May a person with a nature of getting angry be a dayan?

I sit in a beis din with a dayan who gets angry very easily. He can't seem to control his anger, causing great anguish to the litigants, and a big chilul Hashem at times. I have been asked to approach ...