Translation:Shulchan Aruch/Choshen Mishpat/44

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Paragraph 1- When writing a document, one must repeat the content of the document in the last line because we do not deduce anything from the last line due to the fact that the witnesses are not capable of ensuring that their signatures are immediately juxtaposed to the text. We are concerned that the witnesses left space the size of a line and a forger wrote what he wanted there. If the document did not review the content, it would not be disqualified over this, but we would not be able to deduce anything from the last line. This view is not like those that say that the entire document would be disqualified because it was not written in the way the Rabbis had instituted, even though there is no logical reason to disqualify it. This that we do not deduce from the last line is only in a situation where we are concerned of a forgery. If, however, the last line negatively impacts the party that produces the document, we would deduce from it because it was certainly not forged.

Paragraph 2- If the entire document was written in the handwriting of the party that is obligated, we would deduce from the last line. If, however, the document was in the hand of another person and the obligated party signed on bottom, we would not deduce from the last line.

Paragraph 3- If the document concluded at the end of a line and the witnesses distanced their signature a full line and signed in the middle of the second line, we would not deduce anything from half of the last line nor from the complete line before it if something was discovered to have been written in the half row before their signatures or the row before it. This is only where the witnesses signed one on top of the other. If, however, they signed one following the other, the entire document is invalid as will be written later in 45:10.

Paragraph 4- If the document states “this is affirmed and verified,” we would deduce from the last line and they would not need to repeat the content on the last line.

Paragraph 5- If a document has erasures, hanging letters or words that were written over, it would need to be verified before the document states “affirmed and verified.” They would not have to write “and this is their verification.” If these edits were not verified, the document would not be disqualified. We would just not deduce from them. There are those that say that an unverified erasure would invalidate the entire document because perhaps something negative was written against the document-holder and it was erased, unless it is evident what was erased, in which case the entire document would not become invalid. If the edits were in the essence of the document- i.e., the name of the borrower or lender or the amount of money- the document would be invalidated if they did not verify the edits. If the edits were in the date and were unverified, the document has the status of an undated document.

Paragraph 6- If a document has a scrape in the back or between the lines in a place where they have the custom to document repayment on the back or between the lines, the document is valid, but we must intimidate the document-holder. There are those that invalidate the document.

Paragraph 7- There are those that say that we would not verify erasures other than with a writing that is identical to the writing of the document, but not with a writing that is lighter than the writing of the document.

Paragraph 8- If the erasure was in the penultimate line and was the size of “affirmed and verified” or larger, the document would be invalid, even if the erasure was verified, because perhaps a party erased and replaced with a forgery and then verified in the space between the text and the witnesses. This is only true where there is no line-size space between the witnesses and the document in which case we are concerned that the party added something in the space the witnesses had left. If, however, there is a line-size space, the document is valid and we are not concerned that they had left two lines of space and the party added what he wanted in one line and left the other line-size space blank. This is only where the witnesses are established as knowledgeable. Otherwise, we would in fact be concerned.

Paragraph 9- Nowadays, we have the custom to write the verification of erasures and hanging letters after “and they have made a kinyan” because today the practice is for all documents to say “affirmed and verified” so it is impossible to forge, we deduce from the last line and we do not need to review the content of the document on the last line. Thus, a document that does not say “affirmed and verified” would be invalid. Witnesses should not sign a document unless it says “affirmed and verified.” If the document says “affirmed and verified” twice, it is still valid, but one should not do it in the first instance.

Paragraph 10- If a document had written on a scrape in its verification, “nun vov” and they checked and investigated the document letter by letter and could not find those two letters, the document is valid.

Paragraph 11- If a document contains erasures and the witnesses forgot to verify them at the end of the document and they wrote “affirmed and verified” and one witness signed, but before the second witness signed they discovered that they did not verify the erasures, the way to correct this document is to write, “we are witnesses that after one of us had signed before verifying such and such erasure contained in the documents, we verified appropriately and everything is affirmed and verified” and then both witnesses sign. All the more so would a document be valid if they wrote something below their signatures and signed again.