In the parsha hashavua, we have:

עַ֚יִן תַּ֣חַת עַ֔יִן שֵׁ֖ן תַּ֣חַת שֵׁ֑ן יָ֚ד תַּ֣חַת יָ֔ד רֶ֖גֶל תַּ֥חַת רָֽגֶל׃

But the injured did not ask to be injured. Simple fairness (be it literal or monetary) doesn't undo the disruption. (Modern example: You total my car. You (or your insurance) give me money, the value of my car. But my day was totally messed up, I have to rent a car for a week or two to deal with it, and I have all the hassle of dealing with the situation. Is the value of the car really the whole damage that was imposed on me?)

Help me understand how halacha makes (or doesn't make) the victim of an involuntary injury "whole."


1 Answer 1


On Sefer HaHinuch, Mitzva #49, Rabbi Eli Mansour explains:

The Gemara specifies five separate payments which one is required to pay if he caused his fellow bodily harm: Nezek, Sa’ar, Ripui, Shebet, and Boshet.

Nezek refers to the person’s loss of value as a result of a permanent injury caused to him by his fellow. If, for example, he lost a limb, Heaven forbid, then there are certain jobs which he is no longer capable of performing. Bet Din therefore assesses the victim’s value if he would be sold as a servant before suffering the injury, and his value now, after the injury, and the guilty party is required to pay the difference.

Sa’ar means “pain,” and it refers here to the amount of money a person would be willing to pay in order to be spared the pain suffered by the victim. This amount must be paid by the guilty party.

Ripui refers to the medical expenses incurred as a result of the injury inflicted.

Shebet refers to the victim’s loss of income. If he lost worktime because of the injury, then the guilty party must pay him the amount of money he would have earned during the time he was unable to work.

Finally, if the victim suffered embarrassment as a result of the injury, then Bet Din makes an assessment of the value of this embarrassment, and the guilty party must pay this amount, as well.

  • The question wasn't about bodily harm.
    – Double AA
    Jan 28, 2022 at 3:46
  • @DoubleAA True, but my example happened to be material. It was not meant to define the question. I find this response useful. Jan 28, 2022 at 4:40

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