POINT BY POINT SUMMARY
Prepared by P. Feldman
of Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Yerushalayim
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
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KESUVOS 16-19 - have been anonymously dedicated by a unique Ohev
Torah and Marbitz Torah living in Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel.
1) THE ARGUMENT IN THE MISHNAH
(a) Question: Let the Mishnah teach that R. Yehoshua admits,
if Reuven tells Shimon, I borrowed 100 from you and
repaid you, he is believed!
(b) Answer: If we taught this, we would want to teach in the
end of the Mishnah, if witnesses know that Reuven
borrowed the money, he is not believed to say that he
1. But we hold that one who borrows money with
witnesses (without a document) may return the money
*without* witnesses (and thus Reuven *would* be
(c) Question: Let the Mishnah teach that R. Yehoshua admits,
if Reuven tells Shimon, I borrowed 100 from your father
and repaid half, he is believed!
1. Question: Like which Tana (of the coming Beraisa)
would the Mishnah hold?
(d) Question (Rabah): Why did the Torah impose an oath on a
partial admission (the person should be believed, Migo he
could have denied the entire claim)!
i. If as Chachamim - they say, he is as one who
returns a lost object (and is believed even if
witnesses knew of the loan!)
2. (Beraisa): R. Eliezer Ben Yakov says, sometimes a
person swears on his own claim, e.g. Reuven tells
Shimon, I borrowed 100 from your father and repaid
ii. If as R. Eliezer Ben Yakov - he says that
Reuven must swear!
3. Chachamim say, he is like one who returns a lost
object, and need not swear.
4. Question: Does R. Eliezer Ben Yakov not agree that
one who returns a lost object need not swear?
5. Answer (Rav): The case is, a child claims that he
owes the full 100.
6. Question: But we learned, one does not swear in
response to the claim of a child, deaf person or
7. Answer: Rav meant that he is an adult; he is called
a child, because an adult is as a child regarding
his father's affairs.
8. Question: If so, why is this called swearing on
Reuven's own claim - it is the claim of another
9. Answer: It is the claim of another party, and
Reuven's own admission.
10. Question: Every case (of the oath of partial
admission) is another party's claim, and a person's
11. Retraction: Rather, the argument is based on
(e) Answer (Rabah): We have a Chazakah (a rule of human
nature) that a person lacks Chutzpa to deny the claim of
1. He would like to deny it entirely, but he cannot be
2) WITNESSES THAT SAY THAT THEY IMPROPERLY SIGNED A DOCUMENT
2. To avoid being so brazen, he would like to admit to
the full claim; he denies part, planning to stall
until he can pay the full claim.
(f) The Torah imposes an oath on him, in order that he admit
to the full claim.
(g) R. Eliezer Ben Yakov says that a person cannot be brazen
to the son of his creditor; therefore, he is not as one
returning a lost object, and he must swear to the claim
of the son.
(h) Chachamim say that a person can be brazen to the son of
his creditor; since he chooses to return the money, this
is like returning a lost object, and he need not swear.
(a) (Mishnah): Witnesses that say, these are our signatures,
but we were forced to sign/children/invalid witnesses -
they are believed;
3) We also understand why they are not believed to say that they were
children - Reish Lakish taught, we have a Chazakah that witnesses only sign
a document if the parties are adults!
(b) If other witnesses recognize their signatures, or if we
can match their signatures to an authenticated document
they signed, they are not believed.
(c) (Gemara - Rami Bar Chama): We only say they are not
believed when they claim that they signed because of a
monetary threat; if they say that they signed to save
their lives, they are believed.
(d) Objection (Rava): No way! Once they have testified, they
cannot retract their testimony!
1. Suggestion: Maybe this principle only refers to oral
testimony, but not to written testimony.
(e) Correction: Rami Bar Chama' law applies to the beginning
of the Mishnah: We only say they are believed when they
claim that they signed because of a mortal threat; if
they say that they signed to save their money, they are
2. Rejection: Reish Lakish taught, witnesses signed on
a document are treated as testimony which has been
investigated and accepted by Beis Din.
1. This is because a person cannot invalidate his
testimony by saying that he transgressed.
(f) (Beraisa): R. Meir says that they are not believed to
invalidate the document; Chachamim say that they are
1. We understand the Chachamim - 'the mouth that
prohibited is the mouth which permitted' (we could
only verify their signatures through them, so the
are believed to say that the document is invalid).
2. Question: What is the reason of R. Meir?
i. We understand why they are not believed to say
that they were invalid witnesses - the lender
certainly would have checked that his witnesses