If somone does something which makes him an invalid witness, is he considered an invalid witness only after Bes Din declares him invalid or is he always invalid? For example, Reuven does something which makes him an invalid witness but nobody knows about it. Can he be a witness for a wedding? Does the marriage take effect?

  • If needed body knows, he is kosher for the Bet din that is dealing with public world
    – kouty
    Aug 21, 2018 at 2:21
  • So let me get this straight. Reuven gambles for a living, yet nobody knows. How does nobody know that? He had to gamble against somebody. Reuven loans on interest. How does nobody know that? He had to loan that money to somebody. Reuven sells Shmittah produce. How does nobody know that? Reuven has to sell it to somebody. If you asked regarding Kerovim, I could buy that, with the case being established as an adoption or a foundling or the like, or even someone who didn’t know that his parent had siblings. But as the question stands, I don’t see how this is possible.
    – DonielF
    Aug 21, 2018 at 3:02
  • For reference, the list of pesulim is listed in the first half of Sanhedrin 3:3.
    – DonielF
    Aug 21, 2018 at 3:04
  • @Donielf I'm thinking primarily of eating in the street (assuming we're holding that's not talking just about somone who stole the food or only in a public area). But Also other cases like if he gambles for a living in a area with no jews. The only ones who know are nonjews. Or he sells the Shemitta to again nonjews. Or the people he sold it do didn't know it was Shemitta produce.
    – Orion
    Aug 21, 2018 at 4:52
  • @kouty I assume you me at to write nobody. And source please?
    – Orion
    Aug 21, 2018 at 4:53

1 Answer 1


Rambam Hilchot Edut 11:6

‫מַה בֵּין פָּסוּל לְעֵדוּת מִן הַתּוֹרָה, לְפָסוּל מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם: שֶׁפָּסוּל מִן הַתּוֹרָה שֶׁהֵעִיד--עֵדוּתוֹ בְּטֵלָה, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא הִכְרִיזוּ עָלָיו בְּבָתֵּי כְּנָסִיּוֹת וּבְבָתֵּי מִדְרָשׁוֹת. וְהַפָּסוּל מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם, צָרִיךְ הַכְרָזָה.

What is the difference between someone who is invalid [to testify] biblically as opposed to rabinically? One who is invalid biblically, his testimony is void, even if they did not announce regarding him in the synagogues and study halls. Whereas, one who is invalid rabinically requires an announcement.

In a comment, you indicated that you were interested in the status of one who eats in the street.

Rambam Hilchot Edut 11:5

‫וְכֵן הַבְּזוּיִין, פְּסוּלִין לְעֵדוּת מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם; וְהֶם הָאֲנָשִׁים שֶׁהוֹלְכִין וְאוֹכְלִין בַּשּׁוּק לִפְנֵי כָּל הָעָם

And similarly those who are lowly are invalid to testify rabinically. These are those people who walk and eat in the street in front of everyone.

Such a person is then only invalid once the court has mad a public announcement to that effect.

This is in contrast to say, a thief, who is invalid bibilically. In this case, Rambam (Hilchot Edut 10:4) rules that he is invalid from the moment he stole (without the requirement for an announcement).

However, we would need two witnesses to testify to the theft, and then he becomes invalid retroactively from the time of the theft. His own admission to having stolen would be insufficient to invalidate him. (See Rambam Hilchot Edut 12:2.)


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