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Monitory obligation for damages caused on Shabbos

Question:

Hi, I have been disturbed by this question for a few years and would appreciated an answer immensely. The situation is only theoretical and the answer too:
-The Rambam in hilchos rotzeiach goes though the options of dealing with a murderer who has a technical ‘petur’ he did not say ‘al menat ken’ or there was no ‘hatra-ah’ or two kosher eidim, etc, he offender is ‘patur’ from ‘sayif’ but the beis din should do kippa or horaat sha-ah, and if not so they hand him over to the king to should kill him, if not so, they beis din should flog him close to death and imprison him for life and make an example of the murderer…..
Now we have learnt above the ‘patur’ is not a picknic but it can have other severe ramifications. How about in the situation of a ‘mazik’ who has a technical petur of קם ליה בדרבה מיני, how does this apply when there is a sanhedrin or in todays modern times when there is no sanhedrin.
e.g. A yid is driving on shabbos and bumps into another car, or he is speeding recklessly during the week and does the same, or he is driving drunk and does the same….can beis din impose damages upon the driver?
Your wisdom on the topic is much appreciated.
Brochah ve-hatzlocheh,
AL

 

Answer:

Hi, I have been disturbed by this question for a few years and would appreciated an answer immensely. The situation is only theoretical and the answer too:
-The Rambam in Hilchos Rotzeiach goes though the options of dealing with a murderer who has a technical ‘petur’ he did not say ‘al menat ken’ or there was no ‘hatra-ah’ or two kosher eidim, etc, he offender is ‘patur’ from ‘sayif’ but the beis din should do kippa or horaat sha-ah, and if not so they hand him over to the king to should kill him, if not so, they beis din should flog him close to death and imprison him for life and make an example of the murderer…..
Now we have learnt above the ‘patur’ is not a picnic but it can have other severe ramifications. How about in the situation of a ‘mazik’ who has a technical petur of קם ליה בדרבה מיני, how does this apply when there is a Sanhedrin or in today’s modern times when there is no Sanhedrin.
e.g. A yid is driving on Shabbos and bumps into another car, or he is speeding recklessly during the week and does the same, or he is driving drunk and does the same…. can Beis Din impose damages upon the driver?
Your wisdom on the topic is much appreciated.
Brochah ve-hatzlocheh,
AL

 

Answer:

Interesting question.

There is a difference between when a person essentially committed a sin that is punishable by death, and monetary issues. Regarding severe aveiros, even when the actual punishment can’t be given for whatever technical reason, as far as shomayim is concerned, this person will be killed. As the Gemora (Kesubos 30a) says that a person who is supposed to get stoned, will get pounced upon by an animal, being burned, he will get burned in a fire or a snake will bite him… We see that heaven is not willing to let this sin go unpunished.

On the other hand, regarding monetary laws, there are many times when the Torah says that a person is exempt from paying, for various reasons, and we don’t find that from heaven they will make sure that the person will have that loss. I once heard regarding monetary loses, that when it is decreed upon a person to have a certain monetary loss, that one of the ways that he can have that loss is when someone will damage his property, in a way that the Torah exempts the person from paying. This being the case, bais din is not going to do anything to correct this. If they feel in heaven that the person should have a loss because of what he caused, they will see to it that he indeed gets what is coming to him.

Another thought, regarding capital punishment, when there is a strong societal need for everyone to see that these sins don’t go unpunished. Then the bais din has the responsibility, to make sure that people don’t think they can take advantage and commit such crimes. However, with monetary laws, the ramifications are not as severe, and they didn’t see the need to act upon it in this way.

Best wishes

 

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