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Questions tagged [beit-din-court]

Court of Jewish Law. Nowadays, they mostly adjudicate civil disputes, and are composed of 3 judges. Their decisions are halachically binding, and in most cases, legally as well.

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30
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3answers
811 views

Is it a mitzva to escape the death penalty?

If someone is being led to his death by bes din (a Jewish court), is he supposed to try to escape, since, in general, saving one's own life is paramount? More: normally, we say that if someone is out ...
26
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5answers
974 views

Why is the torah so misleading without the oral law

In Parshas Ki Teitze (Devarim 22:13-21) it says if a man takes a wife, hates her, accuses her of not being a virgin, etc. Then the elders spread out the bedsheet to see if there is blood of virginity. ...
24
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5answers
876 views

Is it a sin to escape the death penalty?

If someone is sentenced to death by a Jewish court and is being held prisoner until the sentence can be carried out, if he escapes, is that a sin for him?
24
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8answers
657 views

Is one allowed to kill false witnesses to his own capital crime?

Reuven and Shimon conspire to execute Levi in Beis Din (court) for killing Yehuda by their testimony. There were no Eidei Hazama (counter-witnesses) who will expose Reuven and Shimon to be liable to ...
22
votes
10answers
2k views

Does the Torah ever mention jail as a punishment for a crime?

I have learned that punishments in the Torah often (always?) have a rehabilitative aspect to them as well as providing justice to the victim, e.g. someone who steals and can't pay back the value of ...
21
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5answers
740 views

Did courts ever execute?

The laws of capital crimes elucidated in Sanhedrin and elsewhere make conviction very unlikely. Makkot 1:10 famously tells us that a court that executes once in seven years is considered "destructive",...
16
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2answers
277 views

How were judges appointed in the times of the Bais Hamikdash?

In the times of the Bais Hamikdash, were judges appointed by the king, or were they elected by the people? And was the system different based on which size court (i.e., courts comprised of 3, 23, or ...
15
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4answers
2k views

Can conversion be revoked?

In a recent case the Israeli Rabbinical Court has revoked someone's conversion to Judaism on the grounds that they were deceptive. This decision was "...Based on the fact that she completely ...
14
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2answers
164 views

Are Jewish Court Rulings subject to appeal?

Is there such a thing as an appeal in Jewish law, or are rulings issued by Jewish courts absolutely final?
14
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1answer
355 views

Napoléon's Sanhedrin

In 1806, Napoléon Bonaparte convened a synod of French rabbinim (mainly Alsatiens and Bordelais) to ascertain halachic opinions on a set of questions. What is the halachic standing of this synod's ...
14
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4answers
922 views

DNA and Jewish Law

Why isn't DNA seen as a valid source of Halachic decision making? Is it because it's too small for the naked eye? A margin of error problem? What? Normally, physical evidence is plenty of information ...
13
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2answers
2k views

(Why) May a Beit Din refuse to bury a body in order to coerce a man into giving a divorce?

I read recently of a case where a Rabbi (I assume as head of a Beit Din) instructed a Jewish burial society not to bury the body of a woman who is the mother of a man who refuses to give his wife a ...
13
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1answer
102 views

The process of the evaluation of the Sages' wisdom when electing for the Sanhedrin?

Mishnah Sanhedrin 4,4: "ושלש שורות של תלמידי חכמים יושבין לפניהם כל אחד ואחד מכיר את מקומו" Three rows of the Sages sit before [the Sanhedrin of 71], every one of them knows his place Rambam'...
12
votes
1answer
748 views

How do you “take someone to beis din”?

Reuvain and Shimon are having a monetary dispute. Reuvain wants to take Shimon to beis din to settle the dispute, how does this work in practical terms? Does Reuvain have to tell Shimon first? Can he ...
11
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1answer
405 views

Why is the talmud concerned about judges being swayed by each other only for capital cases?

Sanhedrin 4:2 teaches that in a monetary case or one involving (im)purity, judges give their opinions starting with the most senior, while in a capital case they begin with the most junior. In the g'...
11
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1answer
258 views

Were there any Sadducees on the Sanhedrin?

Various Jewish sources indicate the presence of Sadducees among the priesthood, including the position of Kohen Gadol. However, are there any Jewish sources that discuss Sadducees on the Great ...
11
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2answers
255 views

How would the 'split the baby in half' situation be resolved according to halacha?

In 1 Kings 3:16-27 there is a story of two prostitutes who appear before King Shlomo, each having a newborn baby. One of the babies died and there was a dispute as to which one. There were no ...
11
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2answers
257 views

Why is precedent set by individual rabbis, but not courts?

The headline on this obituary for R' Eliyashiv ("A One Man Supreme Court") got me thinking - why do we invest so much power in precedents set by individual rabbis, as great as they may be, but not in ...
10
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1answer
700 views

Can a convert serve as a dayan?

I believe that there are specific restrictions placed on a ger (convert) being a legal decisor on a beit din. What are these restrictions and do those, ipso facto, preclude that individual from ...
10
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2answers
574 views

Can a Beis Din deny conversion if a person cannot physically perform a mitzvah?

As far as I know if a male is unable to have children due to body damage, he cannot become a ger. I have also heard of Beitei Din not allowing deaf people to convert since they cannot do certain ...
10
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1answer
665 views

What should a conversion candidate expect at an Orthodox beit din?

This question about conversion before a Reform beit din made me wonder about other cases: what does the examination of a prospective ger by an Orthodox beit din look like today? Does the beit din ...
9
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2answers
465 views

History of Capital Punishment

When is the most recent documented occurrence in Jewish history of a beit din carrying out the death penalty? Or if historical documentation is lacking, when is the most recent time in Jewish history ...
9
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4answers
382 views

Could a Jewish court try and execute a non-Jew?

When capital punishment was possible, could a beit din try and sentence a non-Jewish defendant that committed a capital crime? Or would a non-Jew whose transgression affected Jews never be tried by a ...
9
votes
1answer
230 views

Is there still yibum if executed by beis din?

If a married man who is childless is executed by beis din, does his brother still have an obligation to perform yibum?
9
votes
1answer
432 views

Which beis din can declare items Hefker?

There is a rule that Hefker Beis Din Hefker, that a court can declare items ownerless. What are the requirements for a Beis Din to declare items ownerless? Are there any courts nowadays with such ...
9
votes
2answers
688 views

Can you convert without a rabbi?

Disclaimer: I am already Jewish. This question for curiousity only. Obviously it is always the best idea to convert to Judaism with a proper, official beit din. Three Jewish males over the age of bar ...
9
votes
2answers
142 views

Threatening to sue with no intention to do so

Let's say that a person is rightfully owed a sum of money, and the debtor refuses to pay them. Can they threaten to take the person to Beis Din or a secular court, even if they have no intention of ...
9
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0answers
137 views

Looking for a particular idea from Reb Yonason Eibshitz

I recall reading a quote from Reb Yonason Eibshitz concerning a judge on a beis din of 23 faced with a strange situation. The defendant seems to the judge to be guilty of murder, but this judge is the ...
9
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1answer
123 views

Does Beis Din have the authority to quarantine?

In light of the recent discussions about the legality of quarantining potential Ebola patients, I was wondering if Halacha has the mechanism for such a thing. In an autonomous Jewish society, in ...
8
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5answers
727 views

Etymology of the word sanhedrin

what is the root and source of the term "sanhedrin," the name of the Jewish high court and of a tractate in the Talmud? As far as I know, it is not from scripture.
8
votes
1answer
492 views

Is there a Statute of Limitations in Jewish Law?

From Wikipedia: A statute of limitations is an enactment in a common law legal system that sets the maximum time after an event that legal proceedings based on that event may be initiated. In civil ...
8
votes
2answers
107 views

Dressing similarly at a Din Torah - When did this change and why?

Gemara Shevuos 31a says that if two people come to Bais Din one dressed in rags and the other dressed in expensive clothing, we make them dress similarly. Sefer Hachinuch Mitzva 235 indicates that ...
8
votes
1answer
138 views

are you obligated to give testimony if you know you are pasul l'eidus?

I remember learning that there is a mitzvah to give testimony if you know of something which it requires. My question is if you know about yourself, with certainty, that you are pasul l'eidus in ...
8
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2answers
134 views

Whatever happened to the Chiefs of the 10, 50, 100 and 1,000?

In Parshas Yisro (Shemos 18:25) Moshe appoints the Chiefs of the 10, 50, 100 and 1,000. "וַיִּבְחַר מֹשֶׁה אַנְשֵׁי־חַיִל מִכָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיִּתֵּן אֹתָם רָאשִׁים עַל־הָעָם שָׂרֵי אֲלָפִים שָׂרֵי ...
8
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1answer
114 views

Why do we call the “judges” experts?

The hataras nedarim of Erev Rosh Hashanah starts with "Listen now my masters, expert judges" ("‎שמעו נא רבותי, דיינים מומחים‎").1 In practice, at least as far as I've seen, these judges are ...
8
votes
1answer
110 views

Historical Calendar Records

Are there any records of the Beis Din's decisions regarding the Hebrew Calendar (e.g. to add months, how long the month would be), before Hillel Hakatan established the fixed calendar?
8
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0answers
78 views

(How) did the South African rabbinate deal with non-white conversion candidates during apartheid?

As I understand it, during apartheid, the South African government treated the Jews as "white." Did it ever happen that someone in a different racial group expressed interest in converting to Judaism ...
7
votes
1answer
233 views

Why is the hard limit for the size of a beis din 71 members?

When a beis din is undecided (e.g. when adjudicating monetary cases or Dinei Nefashos), judges can be added until the beis din reaches a maximum size of 71. Why is a beis din's maximum size 71? Why ...
7
votes
1answer
670 views

Why does a small sanhedrin have 23 judges rather than 21?

Sanhedrin 1:6 explains the size of the small sanhedrin, but I'm having trouble following the reasoning. It says (my notes in brackets): From where do we learn that the little Sanhedrin should be ...
7
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2answers
236 views

Why can't All Cases be Solved with a Drink?

In the case of a סוטה (wayward wife) we have an amazing and miraculous way to figure out if the woman is guilty or innocent. What's so special about the case of סוטה that we have a very special method ...
7
votes
2answers
269 views

In the time of the mishna, were there Jewish cities without courts?

In a discussion of the heifer ritual when a murder victim is found between two cities, Sotah 9:2 lists some cases when a city does not bring a heifer, including a city where a majority of the ...
7
votes
3answers
220 views

Judicial System During the First Temple period

The Sanhedrin was a Jewish high court that was the supreme authority for Jewish law during the second Temple period. There seem to be a references to a central group of Sages in Exodus 24 and ...
7
votes
1answer
90 views

Can an affidavit be used in Beit Din?

An affidavit, from what i understand, is basically a signed document given by a witness to be used as evidence in a trial, without the witness themselves needing to take a stand. Can an affidavit be ...
7
votes
1answer
128 views

Jewish man serve on Beis Din for woman he's dating

Shalom everyone, I'm just curious, if a Jewish man is dating a woman who is converting I assume it wouldn't be appropriate to serve on her beis din, but is it prohibited halachically?
7
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2answers
241 views

Beis Din - peshara and Za.B.L.A

In an actual Beis Din case these days, if someone is summoned to Beis Din, can the nitva (respondent) insist on using a different Beis Din than the plaintiff sent the hazmana (summons) from? Does ...
7
votes
1answer
747 views

What forms of evidence do batei din accept to establish that someone is Jewish?

I am interested in the question, what forms of evidence do contemporary Orthodox batei din accept to establish that someone is Jewish? In particular, if you, your parents and grand-parents are non-...
7
votes
2answers
106 views

The purpose of punishment in the Afterlife

This follows my previous question "can-one's-merits-in-the-world-to-come-be-traded" In my humble understanding, the general purpose of punishment is to make someone better, to make a person change, ...
7
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0answers
108 views

Can anyone warn a man's wife to give her the status of a sotah?

In the Mishna, Sotah 4:5 (and Bavli 27a) it explains that in certain situations Beit Din may warn a woman not to be secluded with a man and this warning carries the legal status of kinuy such that if ...
7
votes
1answer
250 views

Is there a penalty under the law for attempted adultery?

If a married man or woman propositions sexual misconduct to a person, or a man or woman propositions a person they know is married, is there a prescribed penalty according to the law, i.e. would a a ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

How should the 23rd judge vote?

Capital cases go to a court of 23 judges. A majority is required to convict, except that if all 23 vote to convict, the defendent goes scot-free. If 22 judges have already voted to convict, and the ...