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22

In Tanach I find the following cases (there may be others I've missed): Moshe's court executing the blasphemer (Lev. 24:23) ...and the Shabbos violator (Num. 15:36) Yehoshua's court executing Achan for taking from the spoils of Jericho (Josh. 7:25) Navos being executed by the court of Jezreel on charges of blasphemy and cursing the king (I Kings 21:13). ...


13

A convert can: Judge a case as part of a beis din that has been accepted by the Yisrael Force a judgment on another convert Force a judgment even on a Yisrael if the converts mother or father was born of a Yisrael A pure convert cannot: Force judgment on another Yisrael These laws are based on the double language of שׂוֹם תָּשִׂים עָלֶיךָ מֶלֶךְ, ...


13

The RaMBa"M is likely quoting this directly from the Gemara in Sanhedrin 2A (Hebrew, English): סנהדרין גדולה היתה של שבעים ואחד וקטנה של עשרים ושלשה מנין לגדולה שהיא של שבעים ואחד שנאמר אספה לי שבעים איש מזקני ישראל ומשה על גביהן ר' יהודה אומר שבעים The Great Sanhedrin consisted of seventy-one members; the small sanhedrin of twenty-three. Whence do ...


9

About your second question, defending himself by killing his executioners: Mishneh Lemelech (Hil. Rotze'ach Ushemiras Nefesh 1:15) implies that no. He says that in cases where extrajudicial killing is permitted (e.g., a goel hadam pursuing a murderer, or a zealot attempting to kill a Jew consorting with a gentile woman), then the intended victim may indeed ...


9

From Torah.org (quoting Pischei Choshen, Halvahah 2, note 72): The legal concept of "statute of limitations" is not recognized by the halachah From Daas Torah blog: There is no statute of limitation for crimes in halacha From Matzav.com (concerning loans: In principle, there is no statute of limitations on a loan in halacha (other than ...


8

As stated above, the death penalty was exceedingly rare. Just regarding the burning part, fascinatingly the Talmud says that to burn someone at the stake is a violation of "love your fellow like yourself." Instead, a death sentence of "burning" is carried out by pouring molten lead down their throat. Still not fun, but it's seen as I believe less painful ...


7

Technically, jutky is correct: once the Great Sanhedrin moved out of their office in the Beis Hamikdash, forty years before it was destroyed, capital punishment was no longer carried out. (Shabbos 15a, et al) That said, we do find sporadic cases where a beis din executed someone judicially in later times. One is in Sanhedrin 52b, where a kohen's daughter ...


7

I haven't studies the sources inside, but a couple observations, and some places to do more research: There are several different ways that DNA may be used in Halacha, and these ways may have different laws. There's using DNA for paternity tests in cases of inheritance, which may (or may not) be different than paternity cases that concern Mamzerut. In ...


6

There are appeals, but only in some cases: From the pasuk containing וְנָקִי וְצַדִּיק אַל-תַּהֲרֹג, we learn that you do not punish an acquitted person- even if we find out he is not righteous. We also do not punish a righteous man, even if he wasn't acquitted. Sanhedrin 33b So in punitive cases, guilty verdicts may be appealed (by anyone, not just the ...


6

Judicial execution is not the same as murder. The same torah that says "do not murder" also calls for the death penalty for certain transgressions, so there must be a difference. Tractate Sanhedrin discusses capital punishment in a fair bit of detail. There are strict rules, but nonetheless a death sentence is possible and does not violate lo tirtzach.


6

Bamidbar 27:3, quoting Tz'lofchad's daughters, who were seeking land in Israel: אָבִינוּ מֵת בַּמִּדְבָּר וְהוּא לֹא הָיָה בְּתוֹךְ הָעֵדָה הַנּוֹעָדִים עַל ה׳ בַּעֲדַת קֹרַח כִּי בְחֶטְאוֹ מֵת…‏ Our father died in the desert; he was not among the group who met against God in the group of Korach, but died for his own sin… The Sifre (ad loc.) ...


6

The concept of prison does not exist in The Torah. The closest thing that the Torah has to 'imprisonment' are the cities of refuge where someone who kills unintentionally has to go to and where he has to remain until the death of the current Kohen Gadol, and excommunication where the person who is excommunicated is socially isolated until the excommunication ...


5

About monetary matters there is a quote in the gemarah: "Bei Dina Basar Bei dina lo daiki". (A court doesn't look after another court). The reason given is that if one could, there would be no end to the matter (one would go around looking for a court that agrees with him) and because we have an assumption that court rules correctly. Nowadays, many poskim ...


5

The isur comes from som tasim alecha melech- all appointment that you do should be from your brethren. This refers to positions where you are forcing people into judgement. But in a "non-appointed" position where the baal din or the noder comes of his own volition, that isn't a problem. (Aruch Hashulchan C.M. 7:1)


5

R' Samson Raphael Hirsch, when describing your case about a thief's slavery, writes that the Torah's system of punishment is much better than the prevailing system of imprisonment, which basically destroys the perpetrator. This implies that jail is never found as a punishment in Judaism. That being said, there are times where someone is guilty of a severe ...


4

Rabbi Yonatan claims (Sanhedrin 71a) to have seen a ben sorer u'moreh and sat on his grave. There are difficulties taking this at face value (this is part of a machloket about whether ben sorer u'moreh ever happened. Also, Rabbi Yonatan was a cohen), but if we do take it at face value, it implies that the sanhedren at one point executed a ben sorer u'moreh. ...


4

according to the hebrew wiki the capitol punishment was canceled 40 years before destruction of the second temple.


4

Rashi states in Devarim Chapter 1, Verse 15: אנשים חכמים וידועים: אבל נבונים לא מצאתי. זו אחת משבע מדות שאמר יתרו למשה ולא מצא אלא שלש, אנשים צדיקים, חכמים וידועים: According to Rashi, it would seem that Moshe was only able to find men with some of the traits and not all of them. Yisro was identifying the ideal candidate. However, as we know in life, ...


4

Agreed that a person found guilty should accept their sentence; here's a different source. There are several different Midrashic explanations to Deuteronomy 25:11-12, involving a woman trying to save her husband. Several say the phrase to save her husband from his fellow excludes either saving him from an agent of the courts (carrying out the death ...


4

Best interest of child. Rule of thumb (all else being equal) in defining that is: age six and under, with mom. Seven and older: boys with dad, girls with mom. But there are instances where best interests of child will mean all with mom; all with dad; or even neither parent and foster care. (As heard from Rabbi Hershel Schachter on yutorah.org)


4

Journal of the Beth Din of America 1:1, page 32: -3. Non- Jews: Tashbetz assumes that, technically speaking, the prohibition against litigating in secular court would apply even in the context of a non-Jewish adversary. However, one may assume that a non-Jew will not willingly appear before a beit din, and accordingly one may bring the non-Jew before ...


4

The torah itself never discusses imprisonment. Penalties for transgressions include restitution, financial penalties, lashes, becoming a slave, and capital punishment, but imprisonment as a final outcome isn't discussed. (I don't know how to prove a negative, sorry.) See Ypnypn's answer for something that looks like imprisonment but isn't. And ...


3

The Rambam in Moreh Nevukhim 3:41 (2nd paragraph) explains the reason behind "an eye for an eye" literally, then says that we should not be bothered that the law is that one pays, because his goal is to explain the written Torah, not the halakhah, and one who wants an explanation of the halakhah should consult the Rambam in person. The commentator Narboni ...


3

R' Herschel Schachter was quoted in an interview with Ami Magazine, lamenting how Batei Din often (mal)function (emphasis mine): Q: Do you have a problem with the borerim system [in which two of the dayanim are chosen by the litigants and the two dayanim choose a third]? A: The borerim system is also a shanda. A lot of the borerim act like toanim. I ...


3

I think R' Broyde answered it pretty well. Technology progresses quickly, it takes time for everyone to be willing to fully accept the latest results. Not everything always ends up being certain as once thought, so sometimes some rabbis are a bit extra conservative and cautious. Also, many rabbonim are willing to rely on DNA evidence alone, so it is "seen ...


3

Punishment doesn't (and didn't) work the way I think you're assuming. Ancient Israel didn't have a "police force" to deal with violations of halacha. Any transgression punishable by a court was acted on only if witnesses came forward to bring an accusation. As part of doing that, the witnesses would certainly have to know if the person they accuse is ...


2

Reb Shloime of Vilna gives a different answer. He says that a convert can not be a Judge. Therefore all the people Moshe could Hire as Judges where born Jews that got out of Mitzrayim and hence righteous so the Prefab had all the other qualifications just אַנְשֵׁי חַיִל which Rashi says means Rich so they would not need others money. Yisro did not know this ...


2

The Nataeh Eisan answers based on the Medrash that says that the Maan fell for Tzaddikim and the sick at their doors. An the non righteous had to go collect from afar. The sickly also received it at their door. so all Moshe had to do was check if he was an Ish Chayil meaning was he Healthy and the rest was observable based on where the maan fell so really ...


2

There is such a thing as asking the Kohen Gadol, via the Urim VeTumim, to solve tricky questions, but not questions of contention that would otherwise require a Beith Din, just more guidance questions. Still, though, I think the point is to show not only how important Shalom Bayith is, but how incredibly difficult it is to maintain, and how a lack of trust ...



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