Translation:Shulchan Aruch/Choshen Mishpat/9

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Paragraph 1- A judge must be exceedingly careful not to accept a bribe, even if it is to find for the meritorious party. If the judge has taken the bribe he must return it when the giver claims it from him. Just as the one who accepts the bribe violates a negative commandment, so too has the giver violated “lifeni iver lo siten michshol.” This does not only apply to a monetary bribe, but a verbal bribe as well. Any judge who has borrowed an item is disqualified from judging the lender. This is only true where the judge did not have what to lend the lender. If, however, the judge had what to lend, he is permitted to judge because he could have lent to him as well. This is only true where he commonly borrows from him. If it is a rare occurrence and it is not evident that he is doing it because of the case,however, there is no issue.

Paragraph 2- If the plaintiff went ahead and sent a gift to the judge before calling the defendant to court, the defendant does not have the ability to disqualify the judge, unless the judge chooses to recuse himself from the case as a midas chassidus, such as where the judge knows that the gift affected his feelings of closeness.

Paragraph 3- The custom is for the court to have a collection set aside to support the court. They collect it either at the beginning of the year or the end of the year. There is no issue of a bribe or payment because there is an obligation on all of the Jews to support their judges and scholars. Similarly, if they receive donations of a general nature, they may accept them. Ideally they should collect at the beginning of the year so that the money will be accessible and they will not to have to flatter or provide gratitude to any individual.

Paragraph 4- Any judge who sits and creates profit for the transcribers and assistants is included in those that are drawn after bribes.

Paragraph 5- A judge who accepts payment in order to judge has his rulings voided except for cases where we specifically know he did not accept payment. If he simply accepts payment for being idle, that is permissible so long as it is obvious to all, such as a case where he has known work to perform at that time and he tells the parties to give him the cost of that work that he is missing. This is only permitted where he accepts equal payment from both parties. If it is not obvious, however, such as where he does not have known work and says I may be able to turn a profit by purchasing inventory or acting as a broker and thus I want payment, then it is prohibited. See later 34:18.

Paragraph 6- A judge may not allow an ignorant student to sit in front of him so that the student does not involve himself in the give and take and distort the true law.

Paragraph 7- If a student is sitting in front of his Rabbi and sees a merit for the poor person where his Rabbi wants to find against the poor person, the student is obligated to speak up. If he is silent, he violates “midvar sheker tirchak.”

Paragraph 8 - If a student is sitting in front of his Rabbi and observes that the Rabbi is erring in judgement, he should not say I will remain silent until the case has concluded and then I will void the ruling and have the case re-litigated and I will get the credit. Rather, he should say in a respectful manner, this and this is what you have taught me.