Rambam Mishneh Torah, Eidus: Chapter 10: Reshaim

Chapter 10: Reshaim

Halacha 1: The invalidation of a Rasha

  • Reshaim are biblically invalid to testify.
  • Testifying with a Rasha: It is forbidden for a valid witness to testify together with a Rasha, even though he knows that his testimony is true. It goes without saying that it’s for been a friend to testify with a false witness who never witnessed the event.

Halacha 2: Who is a Rasha?

  • Anyone who has transgressed a biblical prohibition which carries with it the penalty of lashes, or death, is invalid for testimony.

Halacha 3: The transgression that deems one a Rasha

  • Biblical invalidation: One who transgressed a biblical transgression is biblically invalid for testimony.
  • For example, one who ate meat and milk together, were eight improperly slaughtered animals, or ate an insect, or desecrated the first day of Yom Tov, or wore wool and linen together, is biblically invalid.
  • Rabbinical invalidation: One transgresses a rabbinical prohibition is rabbinically invalid for testimony.
  • For example, if one a chicken and dairy together, or desecrated the second day of the Yom Tov, then he is rabbinically invalid for testimony.

Halacha 4: Invalidation is due to monetary transgressions

  • The following individuals are all invalid:
  • One who steals: A thief is invalid for testimony. One who transgresses a rabbinical prohibition which is defined as stealing is likewise rabbinically invalid for testimony.
  • Eid Zomeim-One who testified falsely: A person who was found to have testified falsely is biblically invalid for testimony. His invalidation begins retroactively from the moment he gave the testimony.
  • Ribis-One involved with an interest loan to a Jew: One who lends or borrows money with interest is invalid for testimony. If he is taking biblically forbidden interest, then his invalidation is biblical while if he’s taking rabbinically forbidden interest then his invalidation is rabbinical.
  • Forcing a sale: People who forcefully take land from another individual in exchange for payment are rabbinically invalid for testimony.
  • Shepherds: Shepherds are rabbinically invalid witnesses as it is assumed that they allow their animals to graze other people’s property.
  • Farmers: In Israel, people who raise small domestic animals are rabbinically invalid for testimony. In the diaspora, they are valid. Even in Israel it is permitted to raise large domestic animals.
  • Tax collectors: Tax collectors are rabbinically invalid for testimony.
  • Dove flyers: A person who guides a flight of doves within a settled area is rabbinically invalid for testimony, being that he gathers doves from other nests.
  • People who do business with Shemita products: People who do business with Shemita products are rabbinically invalid for testimony.
  • Gamblers: Gamblers are rabbinically invalid for testimony if this is their only occupation.

Halacha 5: A sharecropper

  • A sharecropper who takes produce from the field early, is not considered to be stealing and hence remains valid for testimony.

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