Friday, August 19, 2011

Maharam Shick:Calling the police- even when permitted - is not for Gedolim

Maharam Shick[i](C.M. 50): [In the case of someone’s brother who had died suddenly and his sister‑in‑law is suspected of poisoning her husband. Based on Bava Metzia (83b) regarding R’ Eliezer catching Jewish robbers for the Roman the halacha would allow reporting her to the police.]. While that is the halacha, nevertheless that gemora itself indicates that it is inappropriate for gedolim to be the ones to report the transgressor to the secular authorities. This is also the view of the Rashba cited by the Beis Yosef (C.M. 388). An even greater proof against reporting transgressors to secular authorities – even when there is a possible danger in not reporting – is found in the Rambam. The Rambam (Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah 5:5) writes that if non‑Jews specify which Jew they want and they will kill all the Jews if he isn’t handed over – they should give him over. However the Rambam notes that if that wanted Jew deserves the death penalty he can be given over to save the others – but this halacha is not to be publicized. This is also the view of the Yerushalmi (Terumos 8:4)…. Consequently while one should not protest against those who follow the straight halacha and report the criminal to the authorities - which has many poskim to rely on - nevertheless the gedolim should not get involved in reporting these crimes but rather should be passive. This is as we saw with Shimon ben Shetach who did not have proper evidence that someone was a murderer - even though it was obvious – and therefore he did nothing. Also look at Sheilas Yaavetz (2:9)…

[i]  מהר"ם שיק (חושן משפט נ'): אמנם כל זה לדינא אבל מהתם עצמו מוכח דלכל הפחות אין לגדולי ישראל להתאמץ ולהשתדל וכמ"ש הרשב"א בתתשובה הנ"ל המובאת בב"י סי' שפ"ח. וגדולה מזה אפילו יש חשש סכנה לכלם כ' הרמב"ם דאפילו יחדוהו ואפילו חייב מיתה דאין מורין כן. וכמו"ש בפ"ה מה' יסודי התורה הלכה ה' והוא מהירושלמי (תרומות ח:ד), והגם דהב"ח בתושבה סי' מ"ג צידד בזה וכ' סברות לחלק ולדבריו יש גם כאן מקום לחלק ולהתירץ מ"מ הש"ך ביו"ד סי' קנ"ו סקט"ו לא ישרו בעיניו החילוקים עיי"ש. ולכך נהי דאין למחות לאחרינא ומאלה דעביד ומשתדל כדין עביד דיש לו הרבה פוסקים לסמוך עליהם. מ"מ עכ"פ אין לגדולי ישראל להשתדל בזה אלא להיות בשב וא"ת וכמו שאמר שמוען בש"ט ומה אעשה שאין דמך מסור בידי ועיין בשאילת יעב"ץ (ב:ט) וכעת אינו בידי כו' והמקום יפרע מהם וד' יגזור פרצת עמו בני ישראל ברחמים ...


  1. MS may not bring Rambam as proof in a situation where the person may strike or harm others in the future (the case of Ms does not seem to suggest such a scenario and neither does the Rambam's Halocho). He may have felt that Gedolim may/should report in these cases

  2. But gedolim, as any other citizen, will go to jail if they were in a legal situation of "mandated reporter" and did not do so.


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