This answer suggests a standard of "beyond a shadow of a doubt". That type of term is very popular from an English Law perspective, which has varying standards of "proof". Among them:

  • Probable cause (30-51% chance of the relevant fact)
  • Preponderance of evidence (51%, or more likely than not)
  • Clear and convincing (substantially more than 51% and a firm belief or conviction of the judge)
  • Beyond a reasonable doubt (one would be willing to rely and act upon it without hesitation in the most important of one's own affairs).

Beyond a shadow of a doubt is, of course, even higher than this, although not used in English law (and some of a philosophical bent would question if it is ever achievable).

In a Jewish context, I think the last four (Preponderance, clear and convincing, beyond a reasonable doubt and shadow of a doubt) are a reasonable description of the perception of G-d in the four worlds, however this question is about Choshen Mishpat.

What are the relevant standards of proof in Judaism and when to they apply?

One famous distinction between capital cases and others is if it requires seeing vs knowing (עדי ראיה ולא עדי ידעה), but that is a standards of evidence issue, not a standard of proof.

What standard(s) of proof is/are required in Halacha with regards to Beis Din cases? My impression (which is vague) is that clear and convincing would be a pretty close approximation, but I'm not sure.

  • You discussing monetary cases, capital cases, divorce cases...?
    – user6591
    Jan 8, 2015 at 16:54
  • @user6591, yes. If the standard of proof (as opposed to the standard of evidence, which I alluded to in the question) varies depending on the type of case, then that would even more strongly parallel English law, where preponderance of the evidence is for civil cases and beyond a reasonable doubt is for criminal cases.
    – Yishai
    Jan 8, 2015 at 17:07
  • are you asking about cases where the judges would determine the case based on testimony, chazaka, or umdena? Like the difference between עדי ראיה and עדי ידיעה, these are differences in the way that evidence can/is used by a Beis Din. Other than within the category of umdena (and sometimes chazaka), I don't think that Halakha requires cases to be based on certainty based on evidence, but based on guidelines of what counts and what doesn't Jan 8, 2015 at 18:23
  • @Matt, an answer could be that Halacha doesn't generally use these categories. But I don't know that you are right about that. A Beis Din decides if witnesses are trustworthy - that is what Chakira and Drisha are all about.
    – Yishai
    Jan 8, 2015 at 18:43
  • Perhaps I'm incorrect, but I think that the Rambam assumes otherwise, at least in principle. Drisha vechakirah is a technical requirement, and while such a requirement certainly makes sense to us mortals, the fact that it decreases injustice may be no more than a taam. This is all in principle; in practice, אין לדיין אלא מה שעיניו רואות, but that's different than normal halakhic standards. Is that what you're asking about? Jan 8, 2015 at 19:43

1 Answer 1


I think what you are looking for is easiest found in Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat siman 15. Siff 5 reads A dayan should judge monetary cases based on what he thinks is the truth and he has a strong idea in his heart that it is so. There in siff 3 & 4 a situation where fraud is suspect is discussed and what degree of inspection is required. The Shulchan Aruch says to do drisha and chakira like you would in a capital case, but the Ramma quotes a Rivash that this is not literal, it simply means to check into more. An allowance for a judge to recuse himself based on his doubts ifs discussed there as well.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .