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Mishnayos Bava Kamma Perek 10 Mishnah 7

בבא קמא פרק י׳ משנה ז׳


In the case of one who says to another: I robbed you, or: You lent me money, or: You deposited an item with me, and I do not know if I returned your property to you or if I did not return it to you, he is liable to pay the sum or item in question. But if he said to him: I do not know if I robbed you, or: I do not know if you lent me money, or: I do not know if you deposited an item with me, he is exempt from paying the sum or item in question.

הָאוֹמֵר לַחֲבֵרוֹ, גְּזַלְתִּיךָ, הִלְוִיתַנִי, הִפְקַדְתָּ אֶצְלִי, וְאֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ אִם הֶחֱזַרְתִּי לְךָ אִם לֹא הֶחֱזַרְתִּי לְךָ, חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם. אֲבָל אִם אָמַר לוֹ, אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ אִם גְּזַלְתִּיךָ, אִם הִלְוִיתַנִי, אִם הִפְקַדְתָּ אֶצְלִי, פָּטוּר מִלְּשַׁלֵּם:


האומר לחבירו גזלתיך וכו' - and for example, that his fellow claims evidently/with certainty that you stole from me, and he says, it is true that I stole from you. But if he doesn’t know if I returned it to you, he is liable to pay. But if his fellow claims that perhaps you stole from me or I lent you, and he (i.e., the other) states, it is true truthfully, I stole from you or you let me, but he doesn’t know if he restored it (i.e., the lent object), he is exempt from the laws of mankind, and if he wants to fulfill according to the [Laws of] heaven, he should pay him.

איני יודע אם גזלתיך וכו' – he is exempt from paying. But however, he should take an oath that he doesn’t know that he is liable to him, for pleading ignorance or offering a possible alternative is not preferable to a certainty, But alternatively, if he would make a claim to him that he doesn’t have in his hand anything, he would have him take the equitable oath. (This is applied, if one who is sued for a debt, denies the latter entirely, in contradistinction to the legal oath which is required when the defendant admits a part of the claim. It being presumed that nobody will go to law unless he has a claim, it is a matter of equity to put the opponent to an oath, to which he may in return put the claimant. See Talmud Shevuot 40b).

האומר לחבירו גזלתיך וכו׳ וכגון שחבירו טוענו ברי גזלתני, והוא אומר אמת, גזלתיך אבל איני יודע אם החזרתי לך, חייב לשלם. אבל אם חבירו טוען שמא גזלתני או הלויתיך, והוא אומר אמת גזלתיך או הלויתני ואיני יודע אם החזרתי לך, פטור מדיני אדם. ואם בא לצאת ידי שמים, ישלם לו:

איני יודע אם גזלתיך וכו׳ פטור מלשלם. ומיהו ישבע שאינו יודע שחייב לו, דלא עדיף שמא מברי, דהא אי נמי הוה טעין ליה אין לך בידי כלום, הוה משבעינן ליה שבועת היסת:ל