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Parsha Mitzvot-Mishpatim: Rav Hirsch: Mitzvah 49 – Concept 465

“If a man shall uncover a pit, or if a man shall dig a pit and not cover it, and an ox or a donkey fall into it, the owner of the pit shall make restitution. He shall return money to its owner, and the carcass shall be his. (Exodus 21:33-34) The courts must judge the damages incurred by a pit. (Rambam, Hilchot Chovail U’mazik – The Laws of Property Damages.

Here we have the far-reaching idea of Grama – indirect causation, in the Jewish laws of compensation. It is divided into Grama B’nezikin, in more indirect “causing” and Dinei digarmi, in nearer, more direct causing. But the difference is purely with regard to legal responsibility. Morally, even where the law has not to impose any compensation, every ‘causation’ anything that we do, by which somebody else receives damage or loss, is a grave crime for which we will be held responsible by God. Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch.

The Bet Yosef rules according to the Mordechai (Perek “Hazahav”) that even courts outside of Israel may levy a fine on someone who causes a financial loss even through iindirect causation.

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