Translation:Shulchan Aruch/Choshen Mishpat/4

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Paragraph 1[edit]

A person can make a judgment for himself: If he sees what it his in the hands of another who stole it, he can take it from his hand; and if the other is standing opposite him, he can hit him until he lets [the true owner take the item back] (if he can't save [the item] in another way) (Tur). Even if it is a matter that wouldn't cause loss if he waits until they can stand in judgment; nevertheless, he doesn't have permission to take collateral for a debt. Note: For the reason that will be explained later in section 97 paragraph 6. And there are those who say that this is specifically with an actual debt, but if he owes him [money for any reason] other than a loan, or if he doesn't need collateral because he already has something in trust or found something [of the ower] in the hands of someone else, it is permissible to seize it (Rivash, section 396). And there are those who say that we don't say a person want to judge himself except for the possession of the person who selects something of his from him; for example, when he robs or wants to rob or wants to damage — then he can save what is his. But if he already owed him from a theft or from some other place, he can't [save his money from being taken by the one to whom he owes] (Mordechai and Nimukei Yosef, Perek "HaMeniach"). And specifically he himself can judge his own judgments, but it's forbidden [to be judged by] Aku"m (Trumat HaDeshen section 304). However, if he transgressed and did it through the non-Jewish courts, if he can't save what is his in another matter, what he did was done (see Maharik Shorsh, 161). There are those who say that we don't recognize someone who did a judgment for himself except when he damaged his friend; for example, that he hit him and therefore he can't do [work] unless he can prove that it is his. But mere seizing, where he seized for collateral, he can do for any matter, and he descends with him afterwards to judgment (Maharik Shorsh, section 161). And all this is dealing with an individual against an individual, but an individual against the many, when he is of the people of the town, can do judgment for himself if he knows that the law is with them, even though they can't explain before a beit din because they are unfit for testimony, because everyone is biased in the matter (Responsa of Rashba, rule 7 section 25). See section 7, paragraph 12; and section 37. And if there are discrepancies and errors between them, we have a chazakah of the many versus the single, and he needs to give them the collateral before they go with him to judgment (Mordechai, Perek "HaMocher Peirot" and then end of Perek "Lo Yachpor"). And that which we call a chazakah concerning the single is specifically concerning matters of taxes, but not in other things; but nevertheless he needs to give collateral before they go to judgment with him (Trumat HaDeshen section 341). And all this is when the single isn't a talmid chacham, but if he was a talmid chacham for whom Torah was his profession, and he has a law in this of the wrath of taxes, he doesn't need to give them collateral, and they aren't said to have a chazakah against him (Moharam from Rizkorg), and it's permitted to corporally punish someone in matters of taxes through idol-worshipers and to cause him loss if they can't retrieve the tax from him in another matter (Maharik SHorsh, 17 and 27).