Thursday, August 20, 2015

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Shoftim

The following is a brief summary of some of a thought said over by R' Frand on the parsha. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand. 

R' Frand told a story about a Jew who lived in a town called Skolov (sp?) who married off his daughter to a Talmid Chacham. Two years later, witnesses came and told the Talmid Chacham that the woman had been seen going into a locked room with another man. The woman protested that this was not true, and her father similarly challenged the charges. 

The Talmid Chacham went and asked the Rav what to do. The Rav was unsure and went to ask the Vilna Gaon what to do. The Vilna Gaon said to him - I am not a prophet, I need to hear the witnesses for myself. 

The Rav then arranged for the Talmid Chacham, the wife her father and the witnesses to come and testify. They all went and testified in the same manner that they did before the Rav. The Vilna Gaon took the witnesses aside and asked them each to explain their stories. After completing the review, the Gaon said - they are liars! The witnesses then recanted and said that they were lying and had been paid by a business rival to lie about the woman. The students asked the Gaon - how did you know? 

The Gaon responded by quoting a mishna which discussed how to listen to testimony of witnesses. The mishna says to listen to the witnesses and see if the stories are found to be identical (nimtz'u). 

The Gaon explained that the use of the word nimtz'u teaches that a Judge has to listen and decide whether they are telling the same story. But here, the witnesses told the same story - word for word. No two witnesses will tell the same story - they must be liars. And this was enough to spook the witnesses into admitting they had lied. 

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