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Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld

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Kesuvos 19

KESUVOS 16-19 - have been anonymously dedicated by a unique Ohev Torah and Marbitz Torah living in Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel.


(a) Question: Why does R. Meir say they are not believed to say that they were forced to sign?
(b) Answer#1 (Rav Chisda): He says that witnesses should forfeit their lives rather than sign falsely.
(c) Objection (Rava): If they would consult with us, we would instruct them to sign and live - why should we not believe them?!
1. One may transgress anything to save a life, except for idolatry, incest, or murder.
(d) Answer#2 (Rava): The reason for R. Meir is as Rav Huna.
(e) Rav Huna: If Shimon admits that a document (that obligates him) was written properly, Reuven may use the document against Shimon, and need not prove that the signatures are valid.
(f) Rav Nachman: Why are you deceiving people?! If you hold as R. Meir, say, the law is as R. Meir (by saying the law in your own name, you imply that all agree to it)!
(g) Rav Huna: How do you hold?
(h) Rav Nachman: When people come to me, I tell them to verify the signatures first. (Otherwise, Shimon would be believed to say that he paid, Migo he could have claimed that the document was forged.)
(a) (Rav Yehudah): If he says that the document is Amanah (the loan was never made - he trusted the prospective lender to hold but not use the document until he lends the money), he is not believed.
(b) Question: Who is saying that it is Amanah?
1. Certainly, the borrower is not believed to say this!
2. If the lender says this - he will be blessed for his honesty (certainly he is believed, there is no need to teach this)! 3. It must be, the witnesses are saying this.
i. If we can verify their signatures without them - of course they are not believed!
ii. If we cannot verify their signatures without them - why shouldn't they be believed?
(c) Answer#1 (Rava): Really, the borrower claims that it is Amanah - he is not believed for the reason of Rav Huna (since he admitted that the document was written properly, he is not believed with a Migo that he could have said that it was forged).
(d) Answer#2 (Abaye): Really, the lender says that it is Amanah; it is a case where his admission hurts others (his creditors), as R. Nasan's law.
1. R. Nasan: Reuven owes Shimon, and Shimon owes Levi - we take money from Reuven to pay Levi - "He will give to the one to whom the principle is due".
(e) Answer#3 (Rav Ashi): Really, the witnesses say that it is Amanah, and we cannot verify their signatures without them.
1. They are not believed because of Rav Kahane's law.
2. (Rav Kahane): One may not keep a document of Amanah in his house - "Do not make injustice dwell in your home".

3. (Rav Shashes Brei d'Rav Idi): We learn from Rav Kahane's law that witnesses are not believed to say that the document they signed was Amanah.
i. This is because witnesses do not sign on injustice.
(f) (R. Yehoshua Ben Levi): One may not keep a paid document in his house - "Do not make injustice dwell in your home".
(g) In Eretz Yisrael they say, "If there is sin in your hand, distance it" - this refers to a document of Amanah or Pasim (a document which was only written to make the alleged lender appear rich); "Do not make injustice dwell in your home" - this is a document which (the loan that it testifies to) has been paid.
1. The opinion that says one may not keep a paid document, all the more so says that one may not keep a document of Amanah.
2. The opinion that says one may not keep a document of Amanah, permits keeping a paid document - sometimes it is kept until the borrower pays the cost of the document.
(h) A Sefer (of Tanach) which has mistakes may not be kept more than 30 days before fixing it - "Do not let injustice dwell in your home".
(i) (Rav Nachman): If witnesses say that the document they signed was Amanah or Moda'ah (a sale in which the seller told the witnesses that he was being coerced and intends to nullify the sale when the coercion ends), they are not believed.
(j) (Mar Bar Rav Ashi): If witnesses say that the document they signed was Amanah, they are not believed; if they say there was a Moda'ah, they are believed.
1. The former should not have been written, but the latter may be written.
(a) Question (Rava asking Rav Nachman): If witnesses say that what they signed was subject to a condition, are they believed?
1. You (Rav Nachman) say that they are not believed to say Amanah or Moda'ah, is because this uproots the document - the same applies to saying that it was conditional!
2. Or perhaps, a condition is a separate matter (and is not an uprooting of the document).
(b) Answer (Rav Nachman): When such cases come up, I tell (the buyer) to fulfill the condition (i.e. the witnesses are believed to say there was a condition).
(c) One witness says that it was on condition, the other says that it was not.
(d) (Rav Papa): Both admit that the document is valid; we now have one witness saying that there was a condition - one witness is not believed against 2 (the signatures, which say that the document is unconditional).
(e) Question (Rav Huna Brei d'Rav Yehoshua): If so, this should apply even when both witnesses say that there was a condition (they should not be believed to change their testimony)!
(f) (Rav Huna Brei d'Rav Yehoshua): Rather, we say that the 2 are uprooting their testimony. Also when 1 says that it was conditional, he uproots his testimony (and we are left with only one witness on the document, which is insufficient).
1. The law is as Rav Huna Brei d'Rav Yehoshua.
(g) (Beraisa): Reuven and Shimon signed a document and died. 2 witnesses come and say that they recognize the signatures of Reuven and Shimon, but that Reuven and Shimon were coerced, children or invalid witnesses at the time - they are believed;
(h) If other witnesses recognize their signatures, or we have a document they signed which was validated by Beis Din after there was a dispute over it, they are not believed.
(i) Question: (in the latter case) - we do not believe the latter witnesses, and the bearer of the document may collect with it?
4) Answer#1 (Rav Sheshes): We deduce that Hachchasha (contradiction) is the beginning of Hazamah (disqualifying witnesses by proving that they were not where they claimed to have seen what they testified about).

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