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The Role of Peshara
within the Halakhic Judicial System:
Rav Moshe Taragin

The Role of Peshara
within the Halakhic Judicial System:

by Rav Moshe Taragin

I. Introduction
In general terms, Beit Din's role in deciding civil suits  between two parties entails gathering evidence and issuing a  definitive verdict. The gemara (Sanhedrin 6a-7a) however,  addresses an alternative - the legal option known as peshara,  whereby Beit Din brokers a compromise or settlement between  the litigants.  According to some opinions, this is the more  preferable option, though, one opinion in the gemara views compromise as an INFERIOR option even claiming that it is  forbidden for a judge to abandon his pursuit of absolute  truth. Moshe, according to this opinion presents the ultimate  model of a judge who did not waver in his pursuit of justice  even at the cost of peace and harmony. It was only Aharon -  not formally a judge - who was permitted to strike compromises  (ohev shalom ve-rodef shalom). Moshe the judge did not have  such an option. However, most positions stated in the gemara view peshara more favorably citing it as the highest form of  'justice' one which settles disputes while engendering peace  and goodwill between the two parties. This article will  explore the nature of peshara.

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