Thursday, August 7, 2008

Gittin Daf 28

The Mishnah tells us that if a person is on his way to receive a death penalty we still may not allow his wife to remarry until we know for sure he is dead. R' Yosef limits this ruling to a Jewish court. The reason is that a Jewish court even on the way to a death sentence allows for someone who knows information which may exonerate the convicted person to stop the proceedings. The Gemara explains that even though a secular court might accept bribery, that is only true until the chief justice signs the death warrant. Once the chief justice signed a death warrant we may assume the woman's husband is dead.
This difference between a Jewish and secular court is an important lesson to each of us. How many times do we stick to our decisions even when there is new evidence that should make us rethink our conclusions. We need to learn from the Jewish courts that we are not infallible and there can always be some new information that can change everything, especially when someone else stands to suffer from our errors.

1 comment:

Mark Kerzner said...

Yup, it is not easy to acknowledge that one has made a mistake. Rather, people will continue convincing themselves that they were right, and the other side has all the guilt.

How many people have you seen who can acknowledge their error? I can remember a couple episodes. So, if I knew about 2000 people closely enough, then it is keeping with Shlomo's proportion, "one man in a thousand I found righteous."