Shevuat Pikadon

Shevuot (5:1) | Yisrael Bankier | 6 years ago

Towards the end of this week we will start learning about another type of shevuahshevuat pikadon. This shevuah refers to one who swears falsely denying that he has another person’s money, e.g. a collateral, loan, etc. If the person then admits to swearing falsely, he is obligated to bring a korban asham and most return the money adding chomesh.

The Rambam (Shevuot 1:8) rules that if one denies holding another person’s money he has transgressed the prohibition of “You shall not steal, neither deny falsely, neither lie one to another”(19:11). He explains that a deliberate violation is not punishable with lashes since its violation does not involve an action. If the person subsequently swears, he has violated another prohibition of “neither lie one to another”.1

The Sefer HaChinnuch (266) however writes that one who swears violating a shevuat pikadon has transgressed two prohibitions. One is the specific prohibition of swearing falsely in this situation (as stated above). The other is the broader prohibition of swearing falsely – shevuat bitui.

The Minchat Chinnuch notes that the Rambam only mentions one prohibition for swearing regarding a shevuat pikadon.2 He suggest that perhaps the Chinnuch holds like the Parshat Derachim. The Parshat Derachim questions why the Sifra demanded an explicit prohibition regarding a shevuat pikadon – its violation appears to fall under the prohibition of a shevuat bitui (a false oath)! The Parshat Derachim however answers that a shevuat pikadon is broader than a shevu’at bitui. A shevuat bitui only takes hold if it is articulated by the person (mi’pi atzmo). A shevuat pikadon however also takes hold if prompted by another (mi’pi acheirim). Consequently a separate prohibition is required. The Minchat Chinnuch therefore explains that the Chinnuch appears to have adopted this position that in a case of shevuat pikadon that is mi’pi atzmo two prohibitions have been violated.3

Recognising that there are two prohibitions involved helps to solve another issue. The Rambam (7:8) rules that if one deliberately swears falsely, then they are not liable to lashes. He explains that this is because the Torah removed the punishment of lashes that applies by default to negative prohibitions when it obligated one to bring a korban whether they violated the prohibition deliberately or be’shogeg (see Shevuot 37a). The Chinnuch however explains that one that violates the prohibition would be liable to lashes.

The Minchat Chinnuch therefore suggests that there is a difference whether the person articulated the shevuah or adopted a shevuah prompted by another. Even though one is not liable due to the prohibition of a shevuat pikadon, if the shevuah is mi’pi atzmo then there is an issue of shevuat bitui that is punishable by lashes. He finds a support for this position as the Rambam rules if one swears falsely regarding land or other items that are not covered by a shevuat pikadon they have still violated a shevuat bitui. The Minchat Chinnuch suggests that this is why the Chinnuch wrote the one is liable to lashes. It is one set of lashes for shevuat bitui and not two since he agrees with the Rambam that the deliberate violation of a shevuat pikadon only obligates one to a korban and not lashes.4


1 This exposition of these pesukim is found in the Gemara (Bava Kama 105b).

2 He does however note that the Rambam mentions two prohibitions in his Sefer HaMitzvot.

3 This is despite the fact the Parshat Derachim is unsure of both are violated.

4 The Minchat Chinnuch however notes that according to this logic on that violates a shevuat pikadon be’shogeg should be liable to bring two korbanot oleh ve’yored.

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