There is a story in Brachos where R' Ada bar Ahava ripped a Karbalta (a red non-tznius garment) off a woman, and then discovered that she was not Jewish. He then was fined for that act 400 zuz. He asked this non-Jewish woman "What is your name" and she said "Masun". He then said "Masun Masun you are worth 400 zuz".

From the fact that he went to court and had to pay the money only after it was discovered that she was not Jewish, implies that had she been Jewish, he wouldn't have to pay. Moreover, he seemed upset that he had to pay, which would be surprising if he would have to pay her if she was Jewish.

Does this story imply that one who damages someone to prevent them from doing an aveira is not obligated to pay for damages?

  • 8
    Wouldn't ripping a non-tzniut garment off of someone be even more non-tzniut?
    – Double AA
    Jun 20, 2012 at 19:09
  • @DoubleAA your question seems like a question on the g'mara rather than on this question and so belongs as a separate question rather than a comment here.
    – msh210
    Jun 20, 2012 at 20:55

2 Answers 2


I don't believe there is proof from this story that one who damages someone to prevent them from doing an aveira is not obligated to pay for damages.

R' Ada bar Ahava was likely a dayan who was qualified (according to the rules set forth in Sanhedrin 5a) to judge cases on his own. The courts have many powers that individuals do not, such as using certain means of coercion to achieve various societal gains. He may have simply been utilizing that power. We, on the other hand, are bound by the regular laws of damages, and do not have such justification.

  • 1
    Sanhedrin ad loc. also holds that these rulings are only b'diavad. Jun 30, 2014 at 16:28

Harav Yosef Mizrahi Shelit"a said that you don't have to pay (he quoted from Harav Moshe Malka). He quoted this Gemara, and then said you are allowed destroy their sinful objects.

I'm not sure exactly who Harav Moshe Malka is but I hear he was a great disciple of the Baba Sali.

  • Why the downvote? Jun 20, 2012 at 19:16
  • 5
    Please edit in information about the context in which they discuss this. Is it the exact theoretical point that Shmuel brings up? The Gemara in Berachot? A responsum about a particular case that fits this model?
    – Isaac Moses
    Jun 20, 2012 at 19:16
  • 3
    You could also improve this answer by including information or a link to information saying who these rabbis are.
    – Isaac Moses
    Jun 20, 2012 at 19:18

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