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The Torah clearly prohibits taking a bribe.

What about giving it? Why is the prohibition specific about taking?

To put it stronger: regarding interest, it is made very clear that both the action of giving and taking are equally prohibited.

Why would bribing be any different?

I am particularly interested in sources about this question, if there are any.

Thank you very much!

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    At the very least it's lifnei iver, no?
    – Double AA
    Apr 23, 2023 at 20:55
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    Is it possible that the prohibition is only on bribing judges? Apr 24, 2023 at 1:04
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    @ClintEastwood -- I asked this question in a comment that was promptly deleted. There are countries where nothing gets done without bribing. What does halacha say about that? Keep deleting, DoubleAA, and I'll keep asking. Apr 24, 2023 at 1:16
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    @MauriceMizrahi the pischei Teshuva discussed giving bribes to non Jews and brings different opinions. He seems to conclude that it isn’t allowed. sefaria.org/…
    – Chatzkel
    Apr 24, 2023 at 2:21
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    There's a famous story from R' Chaim Brisker about why the Torah focused on the recipient. Something about who would be encouraged to speak up. Will try and find it later b'n.
    – Shalom
    Apr 26, 2023 at 18:32

2 Answers 2

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Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 9:1

וכשם שהלוקחו עובר בלא תעשה כך הנותנו עובר בלפני עור לא תתן מכשול ולא שוחד ממון בלבד אלא אפי' שוחד דברים

Just as the one who receives it transgresses a negative command, so does the donor transgress [the negative command], 'Thou shalt not put a stumbling block before the blind.' And not only a bribe of money [is forbidden] but even a bribe of words [or acts]. (Sefaria)

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  • Great, thank you very much! But still, regarding ribbis, the Torah goes out of its way and institutes a separate prohibition, besides lifnei iveir?
    – Binyomin
    Apr 23, 2023 at 21:12
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    Perhaps ribis is different because the issur starts from when you sign the shtar (that’s how the eidim are liable) so there needs to be another prohibition to include just signing the shtar even if he doesn’t end up paying
    – Chatzkel
    Apr 24, 2023 at 2:52
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My question is explicitly asked by the Chavos Yair (as I've found based on your great reading suggestions):

לכאורה יש לתמוה למה לא הזהירה תורה גם לא תתן שוחד כמו דהזהירה גבי ריבית

Seemingly it is surprising that why haven't the Torah forbidden giving bribe just as it forbade giving interest?

https://www.sefaria.org/Havot_Yair.136.8?lang=bi

The answer is quite lengthy but I believe that its core is that since by bribery the Torah have specified a reason (not to pervert the judgement), therefore it is incumbent on a future event (whether the judgement will be perverted or not). Therefore there is a chance under certain circumstances that it is not causing a problem.

This is not the case regarding interest where the wrongdoing is committed immediately and the person giving and taking are committing it, and it has nothing to do with the future.

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  • Nice. I was thinking also that quite often in life, bribery has been necessary and the norm. Even today, in places like Mexico, it's always expected you offer a bribe to a police man, even if you didn't do anything wrong. If it were assur d'oraita to do that, it would have been a huge issue. However, this doesn't answer the point Clint Eastwood made that maybe bribing judges specifically is a hava amina
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Apr 26, 2023 at 17:40
  • @RabbiKaii sefaria.org/Arukh_HaShulchan%2C_Choshen_Mishpat.9?lang=bi Here in first seif katan it addresses almost all the questions above
    – Binyomin
    Apr 26, 2023 at 19:35

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