Thoughts on Judaism

Friday, August 13, 2010

A bite outa crime

Two thoughts today

In daf yomi, we recently passed a sugya in Shavuot that discusses the family obligation to stop a criminal.

It translates:
There is no family that has a tax collector where all are not tax collectors (in there times, a tax collector was presumed to be corrupt and violently disposed). there is no family that has a bandit (word is listis, which implies an armed gangster), where all are not bandits. The gemora asks why we have the uncustomarily harsh tone with people who might not have been involved in crime and it answers "ki m'chapin alav", because they protect him. The gemara then states that the family gets a level punishment for this reason.

The other thought is kanya d'Rava, the cane of Rava.

When discussing false oaths, the gemorra brings a pasuk that forbids "kanya d'Rava". It happened in the court of Rava that a defendant was ordered to swear an oath that he had already repaid a loan to the plaintiff. Duly he gave the plaintiff his walking stick to hold while he went to swear, which he did. In anger at seeing the defendant in such a bald faced lie, the plaintiff through the stick to the ground. It cracked in half and coins spilled out, totaling the amount owed. Technically, the defendant could argue that he was telling the truth, so the pasuk comes to include this type of oath as a false oath.

I understand that the Crown Heights Rabbanim, who universally support Chabad criminals, even if they agree that they are guilty, did not learn this gemorra. It may not have been brought down this way in the Rambam. However, the Rabbanim from Monsey, Boro Park, and everywhere else, "mai ika l'maimar?"

The kanya de'Rava also applies to apologetics. How many times to we build a mountain of goo out of words that had a clear meaning, so that we can say that, literally speaking, the words are not false.