Fair Dealing and Fraud

My weekly lectures (available at the Internet Archive) and column for this past פרשת בהר discussed the laws of אונאה: In parashas Behar, the Torah commands (25:14): “And if thou sell ought unto thy neighbour, or buyest ought of thy neighbour’s hand, ye shall not oppress [or ‘aggrieve’] one another.” The Talmud (Bava Metzia 51a, […]

Sliding Down the Slippery Slope of Circumstantial Evidence

My weekly parashah lectures and halachah column for this past פרשת ויקרא discuss the acceptability (or lack thereof) of circumstantial evidence in halachic civil and criminal procedure. A central source is Rambam’s adamant insistence that anything short of eyewitness testimony is absolutely unacceptable in capital cases: המצווה המשלימה ר”צ האזהרה שהזהרנו מלהוציא לפועל את העונשים […]

Passover Wash Sales

The role that the Stamp Act of 1765 played as a triggering event of the American Revolution is well known; in this post we discuss a connection between stamp acts in general and the Jewish festival of freedom, Passover. As we briefly noted five years ago, the nineteenth century saw a debate over whether a […]