Does the halacha of עד אחד נאמן באיסורין (a single witness is trusted in matters of prohibition) apply to a random internet users? If someone presents themselves as being a practicing Jew, can I take their word for it on information they give me?

For example, if someone says "I called the OU and they said that all cheese sold on Tuesdays is aged," can I believe him or her that the OU said such?

Does it make any difference if this anonymous internet user has a solid reputation of some kind or another?

I do not mean to ask if I can accept his or her halachic opinions - for that you should CYLOR.

  • 1
    Is this something which you could check but don't want to or something you can't check? (eg. the OU's official position is X vs I was present in the factory that day and they used the blue box of flour)
    – Double AA
    Nov 4, 2014 at 3:37
  • 5
    @DoubleAA An answer could explain as much if there is a difference between the two. (i.e. I'm asking about both, or all, cases of reporting facts) Nov 4, 2014 at 3:39
  • 3
    @ShmuelBrin, you only have about 19000 reputation. You are probably a goy. Nov 4, 2014 at 14:07
  • Nice question. +1. Even more complicated is when someone like me quotes a certain Rabbi's ruling. Its very possible that that very same Rabbi would rule differently for you! This is a side complication not reserved for random internet users but something people should consider nonetheless.
    – user6591
    Nov 4, 2014 at 14:31
  • 2
    .... He asked a bunch of random internet users. Nov 4, 2014 at 16:22

1 Answer 1


I personally like the wikipedia standard of verifiability and I try to apply it to myself and others on the internet. If someone just states a fact as true, I usually find it suspect. If something is true, it should be possible to provide a verifiable source. Verifiable means that "I heard from a friend" doesn't work because the reader can't verify it. However citing a book, webpage, or organization you can call to check out the statements is verifiable. Even if you don't do the verification yourself, verifiable statements that are false are more likely to be uncovered by someone else, and the people making those statements will lose reputation (or someone will just post the contradictory discovery).

  • 6
    But can you provide a verifiable source that this standard is halachically valid?
    – Double AA
    Nov 4, 2014 at 16:36
  • @DoubleAA Shulchan aruch siman 903. Nov 4, 2014 at 16:38
  • @ShmuelBrin Those can happen even in printed, linked-to sources
    – Double AA
    Nov 4, 2014 at 18:17
  • 5
    Your source should be edited into your answer. And siman 903? Nov 4, 2014 at 18:36
  • 3
    @YeZ, I suspect that it's in the "fifth cheilek."
    – Isaac Moses
    Dec 4, 2014 at 17:13

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