Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 181:1

סִימָן קפא – הִלְכוֹת הִלְכוֹת טוֹעֵן וְנִטְעָן וְעֵדוּת

181: Laws of Claimants, Defendants and Testimony

א: כְּשֶׁנָפַל בֵּין ֹשְנֵי בְנֵי אָדָם אֵיזֶה סִכְסוּךְ, רָאוּי לָהֶם לְהִתְפַּשֵּׁר בְּטוֹב וְשֶׁיְוַתֵּר כָּל אֶחָד נֶגֶד חֲבֵרוֹ, כְּדֵי לְהִתְרַחֵק מִזִּילוּתָא דְבֵי דִינָא בָּכָל מַה דְּאֶפְשָׁר

When a disagreement arises between two people, it is better for them to compromise for good, and each give in something against their friend, in order to avoid the lowering of the courts as much as possible.


This relates to the middah of maavir al midosav. Insisting on strict justice rather than seeking more of a win-win resolution lowers the court. It’s a shift from covenantal thinking to contractual justice.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 181:2

ב: אִם אִי אֶפְשָׁר לָהֶם לְהִתְפַּשֵׁר בְּטוֹב, וּמֻכְרָחִים לָבוֹא בַּמִּשְׁפָּט, יָבוֹאוּ לִפְנֵי בֵית-דִּין יִשְׂרָאֵל. וְאָסוּר לִדּוֹן בִּפְנֵי דַיָנֵי גוֹיִם וּבְעַרְכָּאוֹת שֶׁלָּהֶם, אֲפִלּוּ בְּדִין שֶׁדָּנִים כְּדִינֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל. וַאֲפִלּוּ נִתְרַצּוּ שְׁנֵי בַעֲלֵי דִינִים לִדּוֹן בִּפְנֵיהֶם, אָסוּר. וַאֲפִלּוּ נִתְקַשְׁרוּ בְּקִנְיָן עַל זֶה אוֹ ֹשֶכָּתְבוּ כֵן בִּשְׁטָר, אֵינוֹ כְלוּם. וְכָל הַבָּא לִדּוֹן בִּפְנֵיהֶם, הֲרֵי זֶה רָשָׁע, וּכְאִלּוּ חֵרֵף וְגִדֵּף וְהֵרִים יָד בְּתוֹרַת מֹֹשֶה רַבֵּנוּ עָלָיו הַשָּׁלוֹם. וַאֲפִלּוּ בְּדָבָר הַמֻּתָּר לְמֶעְבָּד דִּינָא לְנַפְשֵׁהּ, כַּאֲשֶׁר יִתְבָּאֵר אִם יִרְצֶה הַשֵׁם בְּסָעִיף ט, מִכָּל מָקוֹם אָסוּר לַעֲשׂוֹתוֹ עַל יְדֵי גּוֹיִם. וַאֲפִלּוּ אֵינוֹ דָן לִפְנֵי הַגּוֹיִם, אֶלָּא שֶׁכּוֹפֵהוּ עַל יְדֵי גוֹי שֶׁיַעֲמֹד עִמּוֹ לְדִין יִשְֹרָאֵל, רָאוּי לְמָתְחוֹ עַל הָעַמּוּד

If it is impossible to reach a good compromise, and they are forced to come in justice, they should go before a Jewish court [of halakhah]. It is prohibited to stand judgment before non-Jewish judges and their adjudication even in laws that they just the same as Jewish law. Even if both litigants want to stand judgment before them, it is prohibited. Even if the purchase was tied to this condition or they wrote it in a contract [that they would go to non-Jews for any adjudication], it is nothing. Whomever comes to judgement fefore them, he is an evil person, and it’s as though he got angry and rebelled and lifted a hand against the Torah of Moshe Rabbeinu a”h. Even something which he is permitted to serve justice on his own, as I will explain — if G-d desires — in se’if 9, in any case one may not do so through the aegis of non-Jews. Even if he is not judged by non-Jews but he was compelled by non-Jews to stands with him for Jewish justice, it would be appropriate to stretch him against the pillar [for lashes].


The notion of law is central to Judaism. It is therefore tantamount to denying Judaism for someone to imply that Jewish law is insufficient and they need to go elsewhere.

In practice, though, the above is only true where Jewish law is actually sufficient. In cases where our current exile makes it impossible for a beis din to enforce the law (e.g. charging someone with child molestation ), or the people are noted in the community and it would be difficult to find a court that both parties agree is unbiased, it may be permissible. Consult your rabbi if this ch”v were to arise.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 181:3-4

ג: הָיְתָה יָדָם תַּקִּיפָה וּבַעַל דִּינוֹ גֶבֶר אַלָּם, יִתְבָּעֶנוּ לְדַיָּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל תְּחִלָּה. אִם לֹא רָצָה לָבוֹא, נוֹטֵל רְשׁוּת מִבֵּית -דִּין וּמַצִּיל בְּדִינֵהֶם

If they are trying to seize [the disputed amount] and his other litigant is a difficult person, he should drag him to a Jewish court first. If he doesn’t want to come, he should obtain permission from the [Jewish] court, and may avail himself of their [ie non-Jewish] law.

ד: מִי שֶׁתּוֹבְעִים אוֹתוֹ מָמוֹן שֶׁהוּא מֻחְזָק בּוֹ, אָסוּר לוֹ לְבַקֵּשׁ צְדָדִים לְהִשָּׁמֵט,כְּדֵי שֶׁיִתְרַצֶה הַלָּה לַעֲשוּת עִמּוֹ פְשָׁרָה וְיִמְחוֹל לוֹ עַל הַשְּׁאָר. וְאִם עָבַר וְעָשָׂה כֵן, אֵינוֹ יוֹצֵא יְדֵי שָׁמַיִם, עַד שֶׁיִתֵּן לוֹ אֶת שֶׁלּוֹ

If they are trying to seize money that the person has in hand, he may not avoid settlement [to get the claimant] to retire [his claim], so that the other would more readily come to a compromise and forgive the rest. If he [the defendant] violates [halakhah] and does this, he does not leave Divine [Justice] until he gives him [the one who is owed] what is his.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 181:5-6

ה: אָסוּר לְבַעַל-דִּין לְסַפֵּר עִנְיַן הַמִּשְׁפָּט לִפְנֵי הַדַּיָן שֶׁלֹּא בִּפְנֵי בַעַל-הַדִּין חֲבֵרוֹ. וְלֹא יַקְדִּים אֶת עַצְמוֹ לָבוֹא לִפְנֵי הַדַּיָן קֹדֶם לַחֲבֵרוֹ, שֶׁלֹּא יְהֵא נֶחְשָׁד שֶׁמַּקְדִּים כְּדֵי לְסַדֵּר טַעֲנוֹתָיו שֶׁלֹּא בִפְנֵי חֲבֵרוֹ – ספר מאירת עינים

It is prohibited for a litigant to tell some matter of the case before a judge when it is not in front of his fellow litigant. And he should not make him self early to come before the judge before his fellow, so that it shouldn’t lead to suspicion that he came early to lay out his case when not before his fellow.

ו: כְֹּשֵם שֶׁהַדַּיָן הַלּוֹקֵחַ שֹׁחַד אֲפִלוּ לְזַכּוֹת אֶת הַזַכַּאי עוֹבֵר בְּלֹא תַעֲשֶׂה, כָּךְ הַנּוֹתֵן אֶת הַשֹּׁחַד עוֹבֵר בְּלֹא תַעֲשֶׂה דְלִפְנֵי עִוֵּר לֹא תִתֵּן מִכְשֹׁל

Just as a judge who accepts a bribe — even to exonerate the innocent [so the ruling isn't altered] violated a prohibition, so to the person who gives the bribe violates [that] prohibition and [the one of] “before a blind person, do not place a stumbling block.”

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 181:7

ז: אָסוּר לִטְעֹן שֶׁקֶר בְּכָל עִנְיָן. וַאֲפִלוּ אִם יוֹדֵעַ בְּעַצְמוֹ שֶׁהוּא זַכַּאי, וְאִם יִטְעַן הָאֱמֶת יִתְחַיֵב בַּדִּין, מִכָּל מָקוֹם לֹא יִטְעַן שֶׁקֶר. הָכִי אִיתָא בַּגְּמָרָא, תָּנוּ רַבָּנָן, מִנַּיִן לְנוֹשֶׁה בַּחֲבֵרוֹ – פֵּרוּשׁ שֶׁהִלְוָה לַחֲבֵרוֹ מָנָה, שֶׁלֹּא יֹאמַר אֶטְעֲנֶנּוּ בְּמָאתַיִם כְּדֵי שֶׁיּוֹדֶה לִי בְּמָנֶה וְיִתְחַיֵב לִי שְׁבוּעָה וַאֲגַלְגֵּל עָלָיו שְׁבוּעָה מִמָּקוֹם אַחֵר–תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר, מִדְּבַר שֶׁקֶר תִּרְחָק. מִנַיִן לְנוֹשֶׁה בַּחֲבֵרוֹ מָנֶה וּטְעָנוֹ מָאתַיִם. שֶׁלֹּא יֹאמַר הַלֹּוֶה, אֶכְפְּרֶנּוּ בְּבֵית-דִּין וְאוֹדֶה לוֹ חוּץ לְבֵית-הַדִּין כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא אֶתְחַיֵב לוֹ שְׁבוּעָה וְלֹא יְגַלְגֵּל עָלַי שְׁבוּעָה מִמְּקוֹם אַחֵר–תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר, מִדְּבַר שֶׁקֶר תִּרְחָק. מִנַּיִן לִשְׁלשָׁה שֶׁנּוֹשִׁין מָנֶה בְּאֶחָד, שֶׁלֹּא יְהֵא אֶחָד בַּעַל-דִּין וּשְׁנַיִם עֵדִים כְּדֵי שֶׁיּוֹצִיאוּ הַמָּנֶה וְיַחֲלֹקוּ–תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר, מִדְּבַר שֶׁקֶר תִּרְחָק

It is prohibited to make a false claim in any subject. Even if he knows to himself that he is correct and if he makes an honest claim he would be found obligated, in any case he should not claim a lie. This is what it says in the gemara:

The rabbis repeated [in a beraisa]: From where do we know that someone who has a lein on his friend — meaning, he lent his friend a maneh [100 zuz] — that he should not say “I will caim against him 200 [zuz] so that he would agree with me about one maneh and he will be obligated to make an oath for me and thereby I will make him promise via another purpose and thus a binding obligation for the amount he really owes]”? We are taught to say “distance yourself from falsehood.” [Shemos 23:7]

Where do we know that someone who has a lein on his friend for a maneh and he claims against him 200 [zuz], that the borrower should not say “I will bring him to court, but will [first] agree with him outside of court so that I won’t be obligated to take an oat and the oath won’t be via another purpose [and thus binding to limit the debt to the real amount]“? We are taught to say “distance yourself from falsehood.”

Where do we know that three people who have a lein [in partnership] for a maneh against one person, that one should not appear as litigant and the other two as witnesses so that they should extract the maneh and divide it amongst themselves? We are taught to say “distance yourself from falsehood.”

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 181:8

ח: לִפְעָמִים בַּעֲלֵי-הַדִּין בּוֹרְרִים לָהֶם אֲנָשִׁים שֶׁיַעֲשׂוּ פְשָׁרָה בֵּינֵיהֶם, אִם בְּצֵרוּף בֵּית-הַדִין אוֹ שֶׁלֹּא בְבֵית-דִּין. וְדָבָר זֶה, הָגוּן הוּא, שֶׁכָּל אֶחָד הוּא מְצַדֵּד בִּזְכוּתוֹ שֶׁל זֶה אֲשֶׁר בְּחָרוֹ וְיֵצֵא הַפֶּשֶׁר כָּרָאוּי. וְדַוְקָא לְצַדֵּד בַּדֶּרֶךְ הַיָשָׁר. אֲבָל חָלִילָה-לּוֹ לְעַוֵּת אֶת הַפֶּשֶׁר. שֶׁכְּשֵׁם שֶׁמֻּזְהָרִין שֶׁלֹּא לְהַטּוֹת אֶת הַדִּין, כָּךְ מֻזְהָרִין שֶׁלֹּא לְהַטּוֹת אֶת הַפֶּשֶׁר

Sometimes litigants identify for themselves people who would arrange a compromise between them, whether adjunct to beis din or not in beis din. This thing is proper, because each side will move to the credit of the one who chose him, and the compromise will be appropriate. But specifically to move in an honest direction; however far be it from him to cheat on the compromise! Just as they are careful not to pervert the judgment, so too they are careful not to pervert the compromise.


We saw something similar in se’if 1, where the halakhah was given that a court must first try to find a settlement, and only (se’if 2) if that fails, does the court engage in adjudicating the case.

I would conclude from this that we are placing peace ahead of justice; better a resolution that leaves both parties on more amicable terms than to give the property to its real possessor.



Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 181:9

ט: יָכוֹל אָדָם לַעֲשׂוֹת דִּין לְעַצְמוֹ. אִם רוֹאֶה חֵפֶץ שֶׁלּוֹ בְּיַד אַחֵר שֶׁגְּזָלוֹ, יָכוֹל לְקַחְתּוֹ מִיָדוֹ. וְאִם הָאַחֵר עוֹמֵד כְּנֶגְדּוֹ, יָכוֹל לְהַכּוֹתוֹ עַד שֶׁיַנִּיחֶנוּ, אִם לֹא יוּכַל לְהַצִיל בְעִנְיָן אַחֵר, אֲפִלּוּ הוּא דָבָר שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ הֶפְסֵד, אִם יַמְתִּין עַד שֶׁיַעֲמִידֶנּו בַּדִין. וְאִם יֵשׁ עֵדִים הָרוֹאִים שֶׁהוּא תופֵס אֶת הַחֵפֶץ מִיַד הָאַחֵר, אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְתָפְסוֹ עַל יְדֵי הַכָּאָה, אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן יָכוֹל לְבָרֵר אַחַר כָּךְ שֶׁנָּטַל אֶת ֹשֶלּוֹ. כִּי אִם לֹֹא יְבָרֵר, לֹא מַהֲנֵי לֵהּ תְּפִיסָתוֹ, כֵּיוָן שֶׁהָיוּ עֵדִים בַּדָבָר. אֲבָל אִם אֵין עֵדִים, דְּאָז מַהֲנֵי תְפִיסָתוֹ, יָכוֹל לַעֲשׂוֹת כֵּן, אַף-עַל-פִּי שֶׁלֹּא יוּכַל לְבָרֵר

A person may obtain justice for themselves. If he wants his item, which is in the possession of someone else who stole it, he can take it from his possession. And if the other stands in his way, he can beat him until he puts the item down. [But this is only] if he can not save it another way, even if it’s an item that is not perishable, if he were to wait until he can stand him in court.

If there are witnesses who see him taking the item from the possession of the other, he can not grab it via hitting unless he can prove afterward that he took his own [property]. Because if he can’t prove it, the grabbing [of his item] won’t help him, since there are witnesses for the matter [who could be brought to court to force him to return it]. But if there are no witnesses, he may do so, even where he does not have the ability to prove [that the item is really his].

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 181:10

י: בְּנֵי הָעִיר שֶׁמַּעֲמִידִין לָהֶם בֵּית-דִּין, צְרִיכִין לֵידַע שֶׁיֵשׁ בְּכָל אֶחָד מֵהֶם שִׁבְעָה דְבָרִים אֵלּוּ, חָכְמָה בַתּוֹרָה, עֲנָוָה, יִרְאָה, שִׂנְאַת מָמוֹן אֲפִלּוּ שֶׁלָּהֶם, אַהֲבַת הָאֶמֶת, אַהֲבַת הַבְּרִיּוֹת לָהֶם, בַּעֲלֵי שֵׁם טוֹב בְּמַעֲשֵׂיהֶם. וְכָל הַמַּעֲמִיד דַּיָן שֶׁאֵינוֹ הָגוּן, עוֹבֵר בְּלֹא תַעֲשֶׂה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, לֹא תַכִּירו פָנִים בַּמִּשְׁפָּט, כְּלוֹמַר, לֹא תַכִּירוּ פְנֵי הָאִישׁ לוֹמַר, פְּלוֹנִי עָשִׁיר הוּא, קְרוֹבִי הוּא, אוֹשִׁיבֶנּוּ בַדִין. וְכָל דַּיָן שֶׁנִּתְמַנָּה בִּשְׁבִיל כֶּסֶף וְזָהָב, אָסוּר לַעֲמֹד לְפָנָיו אוֹ לְכַבְּדוֹ בִּשְׁאָר כִּבּוּד, וְעָלָיו דָּרְשׁוּ רַבּוֹתֵינו זִכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה, אֱלֹהֵי כֶסֶף וֵאלֹהֵי זָהָב לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ לָכֶם

A city wish establishes for themselves a court, they must know that each one of them [the judges] have these seven qualities:

  1. wisdom in Torah,
  2. modesty,
  3. fear/awe [of G-d],
  4. a hatred of money [as an ends], even their own,
  5. love of truth,
  6. the love of all creatures [i.e. people] is for them, and
  7. they have a good reputation in their deeds.

Whoever establishes a judge who isn’t upright, violates a prohibition, as it says “do not recognize faces [an idiom: show favoritism] in judgement”, as if to say, “do not recognize the face of the person, to say ‘so-and-so is wealthy”, or “… is my relative”, I will settle the judgement for him.

Any judge who accepts an appointment for silver/money and gold, it is prohibited to stand before him [for judgment] or honor him in any honor. About him our rabbis whose memory is a blessing expounded, “Gods of silver and gods of gold, do not make for yourselves.


For a mussar shmuess: Reread this se’if keeping in mind that each one of us assesses those around us in a “courtroom of our mind”. What qualities do we need to cultivate in our relationships to others?

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 181:11

יא: עֲיָרוֹת שֶׁאֵין בָּהֶם חֲכָמִים הָרְאוּיִים לִהְיוֹת דַּיָּנִים, מְמַנִּים הַטּוֹבִים וְהַחֲכָמִים שֶׁבָּהֶם לְדַעַת אַנְשֵׁי הָעִיר, וְהֵם יָדוּנוּ אַף-עַל-פִּי שֶׁאֵינָם רְאוּיִים לְדַיָנִים, כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יֵלְכוּ לִפְנֵי עַרְכָּאוֹת ֹשֶל גּוֹיִם. וְכֵיוָן שֶׁקִבְּלוּם עֲלֵיהֶם בְּנֵי הָעִיר, אֵין אַחֵר יָכוֹל לְפָסְלָן. וְכָל מַעֲשֵׂיהֶם יִהְיוּ לְשֵׁם-שָׁמָיִם

Cities that do not have within them sages worthy of being judges should chood the best and wisest from among them according to the knowledge of the people of the city, and they should judge even though they aren’t worthy of being judges, so that they shouldn’t go before the adjudication of the non-Jews. Since the people of the city accepted them upon themselves [as arbitrators], no one else may disqualify them. And all their actions should be for the sake of [the One in] heaven.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 181:12

יב: כָּל מִי שֶׁיּוֹדֵעַ עֵדוּת לַחֲבֵרוֹ וְרָאוּי לְהָעִידוֹ וְיֵשׁ לַחֲבֵרוֹ תּוֹעֶלֶת בְעֵדוּתוֹ וְהוּא תוֹבְעוֹ שֶׁיָעִיד לוֹ בִּפְנֵי בֵּית-דִּין–חַיָב לְהָעִיד לוֹ, בֵּין שֶׁיֵשׁ עוֹד עֵד אַחֵר עִמּוֹ, בֵּין שֶׁהוּא לְבַדּוֹ. וְאִם כָּבַשׁ עֵדוּתוֹ, חַיָב בְּדִינֵי שָׁמָיִם. וְאָסוּר לְאָדָם לְהָעִיד בְּדָבָר שֶׁאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ, אַף-עַל-פִּי שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ אָדָם שֶׁיּוֹדֵעַ בּוֹ ֹשֶאֵינוֹ מְשַׁקֵּר. וַאֲפִלּו אָמַר לוֹ בַּעַל-הַדִּין, בּוֹא וַעֲמֹד עִם עֵד אֶחָד שֶׁיֵשׁ לִי, וְלֹא תָעִיד, רַק שֶׁיִפְחַד בַּעַל חוֹבִי וְיִסְבּוֹר שֶׁיֵשׁ לִי שְׁנֵי עֵדִים, וְיוֹדֶה לִי–לֹא יִשְׁמַע לוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, מִדְּבַר שֶׁקֶר תִּרְחָק

Anyone who knows testimony for his friend and is capable of giving that testimony, and his friend has a purpose in his testimony and calls upon him that he testify for him before the court, is obligated to testify. Whether there is another witness with him, whether he is alone. And if he suppresses his testimony, he is accountable by the laws [ie penal system] of heaven.

It is prohibited for a person to testify about something that he doesn’t know even if he was told it by someone who he knows that he never lies. Even if the claimant tells him, come and stand with this one witness that I have and don’t testify, just that my debtor shall worry and figure that I have two witnesses and therefore agree to me [ie my claim], don’t listen to him, for it says “stay distant from things of falsehood.”