Jewish rights are not cheap and Jewish defense is not wrong. This is the lesson of the Mount and "That's how my grandfather captured Rudolf Hess" and The Torah has always shown great compassion and mercy for the weak and unfortunate and Chief Rabbi Lau: “Anyone In Quarantine Is Forbidden To Attend Shul Even If Risk Is Very Slight”
Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement
The Long Trip
Rabbi Feldman waited in line to have his car filled with gas just before a long holiday weekend. The attendant worked quickly, but there were many cars ahead of him in front of the service station.
Finally, the attendant motioned him toward a vacant pump. "Rabbi," said the young man, "sorry about the delay. It seems as if everyone waits until the last minute to get ready for a long trip."
Rabbi Feldman chuckled, "I know what you mean. It's the same in my business.
The Defense Rests
Harry Rosenberg was known as a brilliant trial lawyer. He once defended a bus driver against claims that his negligence had caused injury to a young man's arm.
"Will you please show us how high you can lift your arm now?" Rosenberg asked the plaintiff.
The young man obediently raised his arm to shoulder level, his face contorted with apparent pain.
"Thank you," said Rosenberg. "And now, please, will you show us how high you could lift it before the accident?"
The man's arm shot above his head.
Shuki's in the Pool
A wealthy Texan had an impressive ranch. He had a huge swimming pool where he kept a shark. The rich Texan loved to throw lavish dinner parties and would invite his guests up around the pool afterwards. Then he would say to them, "If any of you will swim a length of this pool then I will give you one of three things: $10 million, or half of my estate, or the hand of my daughter in marriage." Then he would add, "But I must warn you before you do so, there is a shark in the pool."
One evening a young Israeli named Shuki Hadari who had just finished his army service scored himself an invite to one of the Texans famous parties. After the Texan gave his usual spiel, there was a splash, Shuki was in the water and swam the entire length of the pool chased by the shark. Shuki got out of the pool just in time as the shark thudded into the wall.
The Texan said, "Congratulations you are the first person who has ever done that!! Now what would you like? Would you like $10 million?"
Shuki gasped, "No."
"Would you like half of my estate?"
"No," Shuki replied.
"Ahh, you want the hand of my daughter in marriage?" asked the Texan.
Exasperated, Shuki said, "No!"
So the Texan said to him, "Well what do you want?"
Shuki said, "I want the name of the guy who pushed me in."
The Torah has always shown great compassion and mercy for the weak and unfortunate
The Torah has always shown great compassion and mercy for the weak and unfortunate: the orphan, the widow, and the stranger.
In the Torah section last week called Parsha Mishpatim, however, Gd takes up the plight of these hapless individuals by declaring that any cruelty shown to them incurs His wrath. In verse 22:22, the repetition of the verbs – "If you oppress, afflict him [beware,] for if he cries, cries out to Me, I will hear, hearken to his cry, ענה תענה ...צעק אצעק ...שמע אשמע" – underscore the severity of tormenting these downcast people.
Even more, the Midrash asserts the strange position that "A great affliction and a small affliction are all the same. "
Rav Soloveitchik elaborates: "The degree of hurt is irrelevant; causing transient humiliation and causing severe physical pain are both subsumed under affliction. A word, a gesture, a facial expression by which the widow or the orphan feels hurt; in short, whatever causes an accelerated heartbeat – that comes under oppression… Neither the nature nor the magnitude of the oppression mitigates the punishment." (Chumash Mesoras HaRav, Shemos pp.202-203)
The Talmud (Semachos 8:4) tells the story of R. Shimon b. Gamliel who was told by R. Yishmael that perhaps he was being punished because, "You were at the table or asleep and a woman came to inquire about her ritual purity, and the attendant told her: 'He is asleep'; for the Torah said: 'If you torment them (the widow and orphan) . . . " and continued: 'Then I shall kill you by the sword.'"
Again, in the Rav's dramatization of the event: "What was wrong in R. Shimon's conduct? He had come home exhausted after a full day's work and lay down for a short rest. It had been a busy day: an entire load of communal responsibilities pressed heavily on his frail shoulders. Cruel Rome continued its ruthless policy of religious persecution and the economic ruin of the people… While he was dozing, a woman entered with an inquiry: is she ritually pure or impure? The attendant, knowing how fatigued R. Shimon was, advised her to wait until he awoke; he did not wish to disturb R. Shimon. How, then, the question arises, did R. Shimon afflict the woman?
The woman was a poor widow, and extremely sensitive. While waiting for R. Shimon, the thought may have gone through her head: had my rich neighbor come with a similar question, the attendant would have acted differently: he would have aroused R. Shimon. Because of my poverty and loneliness, she may have thought, he didn't mind making me wait; she sighed and brushed away a tear. So, R. Shimon did afflict a widow, and thus violated a Biblical prohibition. Her tear was responsible for the tragic death of R. Shimon." (See the Rav's essay "The Community" in Tradition 17:2, pp.17-18)
The question, of course, is why should the penalty of aggrieving the orphan, widow and stranger be so harsh and exacting? To this, the Rav offers this fundamental insight whose application goes well beyond the specific command against afflicting these individuals. Here are the Rav's own words:
"Each individual possesses something unique, rare, which is unknown to others; each individual has a unique message to communicate, a special color to add to the communal spectrum. Hence, when a lonely man joins the community, he adds a new dimension to community awareness. He contributes something which no one else could have contributed. He enriches the community existentially; he is irreplaceable. Judaism has always looked upon the individual as if he were a little world (microcosm); with the death of the individual, this little world comes to an end."
In the Rav's view, this existential worth of the individual is rooted in the religious belief that man as a natural being exists once in an eternity, that the very singleness of man makes him indispensable and hence infinitely precious.
When I recognize this truth, my perception of the "thou" goes far beyond the physical. It is more than that: it is an act of identifying him existentially, of affirming his singular role as a person who has a job to do and that only he can do properly.
If so, what must inexorably follow from this belief is this: "To hurt a person means to tell him that he is expendable, that there is no need for him. The Halacha equated the act of publicly embarrassing a person with murder. Why? Because humiliation is tantamount to destroying an existential community and driving the individual into solitude. It is not enough for the charitable person to extend help to the needy. He must do more than that: he must try to restore to the dependent person a sense of dignity and worth. That is why Jews have developed special sensitivity regarding orphans and widows since these persons are extremely sensitive and lose their self-confidence at the slightest provocation. [Therefore] The Bible warned us against afflicting an orphan or a widow." (Ibid, p.16)
In other words, for the Rav, the Torah's admonition against afflicting those less fortunate extends to treating anyone with disdain and dismissive contempt.
To act as if you have no use for someone, to be apathetic to their struggles, to ignore their distress is to be guilty of "oppressing the widow." In fact, Ibn Ezra comments on the transition in verse 22:21 from the plural to the singular and back by asserting that not only the oppressor but the passive observer as well will be considered equally culpable of the same transgression if upon witnessing the degradation – the shaming - of another human being, he chooses to remain silent. "There are no other instances in the Torah where the onlooker receives the same punishment as the instigator."
When we take a step back and contemplate the content of our culture, it certainly appears that our world is increasingly becoming a place where all too many are just out for themselves, that the "other" is devalued as an "it" rather than a "thou", exploited – consciously or otherwise, it matters little - for the selfish ambitions and pleasures of the urbane human predator.
To refuse to grant to any person the dignity he deserves as a human being created in the image of G-d is to perpetrate an unforgivable crime upon the self-esteem and innate respectability of that person not to mention the sacrilegious rejection of Gd's purpose in placing him in this world in the first place.
The Jew is uniquely chosen to fight the battles for the weak and unfortunate. We were strangers in Egypt and G-d brought us out and said to never forget the experience.
It is the Jew that is in the forefront of Civil Rights, even if it goes against our interest.
Henry Fonda had the words in the famous movie the Grapes of Wrath, but they are taken from the bible as if G-d had said them:
"Wherever there's a fight, so hungry people can eat, I'll be there." I'll be all around in the dark. I'll be everywhere. Wherever you can look—wherever there's a fight so hungry people can eat, I'll be there.
Chief Rabbi Lau: "Anyone In Quarantine Is Forbidden To Attend Shul Even If Risk Is Very Slight"
Rav Lau responded that "anyone who is required to remain in isolation is forbidden from davening with the tzibur. An issur gamur applies to anyone at risk of harming another person even if the chances are very slight. Likewise there is an issur to enter a place of danger and therefore one should refrain from visiting places where there is a risk of contracting [the virus]."
"Bechira is given to a person in two fundamental cycles of life and one of them is כל בידי שמים חוץ מצינים ופחים.'"
"Matters of health are granted to man and a person should utilize whatever knowledge he has to protect himself from illnesses and infections and distance himself from them. This is the reason that the Torah commands us 'ונשמרתם מאוד לנפשותיכם
Jewish rights are not cheap and Jewish defense is not wrong. This is the lesson of the Mount
Kahane of the Parsha - Yitro
DON'T BE SO HUMBLE
We are told that when the L-rd desired to give the Torah to the Jewish people, instead of choosing a lofty and majestic mountain, He selected Sinai, a small, humble little mount barely more than a hill. His purpose in this symbolic act was to teach us that man must turn his back on overbearing pride and reject a false ego.
The Gerer Rebbe asked: If G-d intended to teach us that man must turn down false pride, why was the Torah not given in a valley?
The Rebbe answered: It is not enough, he said, to reject overbearing pride. Too much humility is also wrong. A man should- man must- possess some pride in his being; otherwise, he is not a man.
I never cease to be amazed that we continue to be valleys. I never cease wondering at our choosing the way of the meek. One would imagine that after all the "help" we have failed to receive, we would remember the lesson of the mountain.
The fact is that we are living in sad times when we must- just for the moment- still, the voice of Jacob and, for the sake of Jewish honor, of Jewish protection, don the hand of Esav.
Vandals attack a yeshiva- let that yeshiva attack the vandals. Should a gang bloody a Jew, let a Jewish group go looking for the gang. This is the way of pride- not evil pride, but the pride of the nation, of kinship- the pride of the mountain.
There are those who will protest: This is not the Jewish way. And yet, since when has it been a mitzvah to be punished and beaten? Since when is it a Kiddush Hashem to be spat upon? It is not a Kiddush Hashem, it is quite THE OPPOSITE. It is a disgrace to the pride of our people, our G-d. More important, there is a rule in the hoodlum jungle: The more the victim backs away, the more the hoodlum moves forward.
So up from the valley and up to the Mount. Jewish rights are not cheap and Jewish defense is not wrong. This is the lesson of the Mount
The Jewish Press, 1968
Rabbi Meir Kahane, may G-d avenge his blood, wrote this Dvar Torah shortly after forming the Jewish Defense League. This Dvar Torah is still appropriate for Israel today the U.S. and Jews everywhere.
HASHEM" (20:2) This is the greatest word in any language
AS HEARD FROM RABBI AVIGDOR MILLER Z'TL "HASHEM" (20:2) This is the greatest word in any language. It contains many meanings, all of which are based on the word Hayah ("to be"). Some meanings are easily evident. He exists, and His existence is the only true existence (Rambam Yesode Hatorah 1:4). Everything else exists solely because Hashem wills their existence, but intrinsically nothing truly has existence except Hashem the Exister. He caused existence. He willed the Universe to come into existence from Nothing. He is therefore the Owner of all (9:29). He causes existence. Even after everything came into existence, they continue to exist only because Hashem continues to will their existence. He shall always be the same. He chose the Abot and their seed forever. He chose the family of Levi forever. The seed of Aharon are Cohanim forever. The house of David is chosen for royalty forever. The land of Israel is sacred forever. His Torah is unchangeable forever. The reward of Olam Haba is forever. "I shall be what I shall be" (3:14). Hashem means: the source of all Kindliness, and all Wisdom, and of all Power. Every object and every process testify to the endless Kindliness, Wisdom & Power of the Creator who causes them to "be". Since "Hashem" means "Being, which is the only intrinsic Existence," and the future tense of this word therefore implies Eternal Existence; then the Afterlife of the righteous is included in this name. This is understood as follows: There are two matters that even the greatest Prophet could not see while alive: 1) "No man can see Me when he is alive" (33:20) and 2) "No eye except Yours has see that which (Hashem) shall do to those who hope to him" (Isaiah 64:3). These two matters are not seen by the living because they are one and the Same. The ecstasy of Life after death consists of the union of the soul together with its Creator. The existence in Olam Haba is the Presence of Hashem in its truest essence. "The righteous sit with their crowns upon their heads and they delight in the splendor of the Shechinah (Berachot 17A). And just as "Hashem" indicates Eternity ("He shall be"), so is the happiness of Olam Haba eternal. (And the retribution upon the very wicked is also eternal). Thus this First Commandment includes the requirement that we gain as much awareness as possible of Olam Haba. Quoted from "A Nation is Born" by Rabbi Miller ZT'L
"That's how my grandfather captured Rudolf Hess"
After decades of silence, Rebecca Donin heard from her father about the intelligence operation and the investigations led by her late grandfather on the way to capture the commander of the Auschwitz camp.
These days, Rebecca Donin comes out and tells the story of her grandfather, Karl Abrahams, who was a key part of the activity of capturing the commander of the Auschwitz camp, Rudolf Hess and responsible for the murder of about 2.5 million Jews. We talked to her about her special family story.
Donin's remarks indicate that her grandfather was an intelligence man in the British army sent by his commanders with another group of intelligence personnel to Germany, where he was tasked with tracking down Nazi criminals.
In November '45, Rudolf Hess's wife was captured and brought to interrogation led by Donin's grandfather. For months of questioning, Hess's wife lied, claiming she didn't know where he was and hadn't met him in months. Letters sent by Donin's grandmother to her grandmother indicate that from the beginning of the investigation it was clear to him that the interrogator was lying. This while his investigative partner tended to believe her.
In March '46, after no less than 1,600 hours of investigation, Rudolf Hess's wife broke down and said her husband was hiding on a farm in Germany. Donin's grandfather and the investigator who came to the same farm to capture the senior Nazi criminal. According to testimony by Rudolph Hess himself, Donin's grandfather and the investigator with whom they were the only two who came to capture him on the farm in question, however, said the two were unable to do so alone and apparently had partners in capturing British soldiers who accompanied them.
Dunin says that Rudolph Hess was caught while in pajamas and at first denied and claimed that he was not the man they wanted to capture, but another person named Lang Franz, but he was also identified as Hass because of a ring that bore his finger with the name 'Hess'. Survivors from the Auschwitz camp were also brought, who confirmed their identification completely.
Her grandfather's story became known only seven years ago when her father told her about his father's experiences. He took her to Yad Vashem, where she showed her the collection of letters and documents that Grandma handed to Yad Vashem at her grandfather's request. Dunin points out that Yad Vashem also includes Rudolf Hess's confession, the confession of which he tells of his capture.
"After my grandfather passed away, my grandmother found a letter in which he wrote that he wanted the documents passed to Yad Vashem," she says, and so far it is not clear to her why her father kept her grandfather's story secret for many years.
Beware of a Palestinian state – the Kuwait lesson
Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, "Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative" February 13, 2020, https://bit.ly/2SqtEkB The Palestinian track record
In the Arab Middle East, unlike Western democracies, historical memory is very long. Nothing is forgotten, nothing is forgiven.
Therefore, Arabs are aware of the direct correlation between the scope of Palestinian freedom of action in Arab countries, on the one hand, and the level of anti-Arab Palestinian terrorism, on the other hand.
This harsh correlation was demonstrated in Egypt and Syria during the mid-1950s and mid-1960s, as well as in Jordan. The latter experienced the 1970 civil war as a result of the unprecedented self-rule provided to Mahmoud Abbas' PLO in Jordan. It was manifested in Lebanon, which was plagued by a series of civil wars during the 1970s and early 1980s, ignited by the extraordinary autonomy accorded to Mahmoud Abbas' PLO in Lebanon.
Also, in 1993/94, the establishment of a ground-breaking Palestinian Authority in Judea & Samaria triggered a massive Christian flight from Bethlehem, Beit Jallah and Beit Sahour. Consequently, this Christian dominated area was transformed into a tiny enclave of a 12% Christian minority.
Simultaneously, notwithstanding Palestinian verbal commitments to desist from incitement and violence, Mahmoud Abbas' Palestinian Authority embarked on an unprecedented wave of anti-Jewish hate education and terrorism.
The intra-Arab Palestinian terroristic track record was highlighted by Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, when the Mahmoud Abbas-aligned Palestinian community in Kuwait assisted in the plunder of their host country.
Until the invasion, Kuwait had absorbed over 400,000 Palestinians – a 20% minority – the second largest Palestinian migrant community in the Arab world. Kuwait was the most generous Arab host of Palestinian migrants, provided them with a high level of social, economic and political freedom, facilitating their rise to senior managerial, civil service, media and professional positions, including the top administration of the Central Bank of Kuwait.
Kuwait's Palestinian migrants were Arafat's and Mahmoud Abbas' relatives and loyalists, evolving into the wealthiest Palestinian migrant community. In fact, Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah – the largest PLO organization – was established in Kuwait in 1959. The oil producing sheikdom levied a 5% excise tax on all Palestinian earnings, and transferred it to the stashed accounts of the two PLO leaders. It also extended $65MN of annual aid to the PLO, in addition to an equal amount transferred by Palestinian workers, in Kuwait, to their relatives in Judea and Samaria.
Palestinians' violent ingratitude
Kuwait's generosity intended to reduce the threat of Palestinian terrorism, and constrain the explosive potential of Palestinian migrants, who had been identified as a likely fifth column on behalf of Saddam Hussein. Like the rest of the Arab Gulf States, Kuwait was aware of the incitement, by PLO leaders, against all traditional pro-US Arab regimes.
In return for Kuwait's hospitality and generosity, PLO leaders displayed deep sympathy towards Saddam Hussein. They spent much time in Baghdad during the months leading up to the August 1990 invasion, which was facilitated by three PLO battalions stationed in Iraq, and vital intelligence that was provided by Palestinians in Kuwait. The PLO heralded the plunder of Kuwait, lobbying – along Iraq and Libya – against an Arab League resolution which called for military action for the liberation of Kuwait. The PLO warned that a US military intervention would result in many American fatalities.
Palestinians, Arabs and US interests
Before, and since, the invasion of Kuwait, Palestinian violence has always been in collaboration with adversaries and enemies of the US, such as: Nazi Germany, the USSR, international terrorism, Saddam Hussein, Turkey's Erdogan, North Korea and Iran's Ayatollahs, haunting all pro-US Arab regimes.
Therefore, contrary to Western conventional wisdom, there has been an unbridgeable gap between the gloating pro-Palestinian Arab talk and the reserved and adverse Arab walk. Arab leaders have mustered the fundamental Middle East notions of dissolution and "on words one does not pay custom."
Thus, irrespective of the ultra-generous pro-Palestinian Arab talk, no Arab country has ever fought Israel on behalf of the Palestinians. On the other hand, Arabs are determined to exert their military capabilities to abort Palestinian violence in Arab countries.
Furthermore, financial support of the Palestinian cause was never a top priority for the Arab oil-producing countries, which have been less generous than the US, Japan and other developed countries.
Hence, in April 1950, following the 1948 Arab war against Israel, Jordan and Egypt occupied Judea and Samaria (naming it the West Bank) and Gaza, but did not transfer these regions to the Palestinians. Realizing the Palestinian subversive and terroristic potential, they prohibited Palestinian political assertion in these two regions.
In 2020, the pro-US Arab regimes are concerned about the possible Palestinian collaboration with domestic and external threats such as Iran's Ayatollahs and the Muslim Brotherhood. These concerns are intensified against the backdrop of the still raging Arab Tsunami (superficially defined as "Arab Spring") and the imminent threat posed by Iran's Ayatollahs.
In 2020, the pro-US Arab regimes – especially Jordan and the Gulf States - consider the Palestinian betrayal of Jordan, Lebanon and Kuwait as an accurate indicator of the disruptive potential of the proposed Palestinian state, which they view as a deadly threat, especially to Jordan's Hashemite regime, and subsequently to every pro-US regime in the Arabian Peninsula.
The Arab world is endowed with long memory. Their walk – contrary to their talk – demonstrates that they don't forget Palestinian ingratitude, unreliability and terrorism; and they don't forgive.
They are preoccupied with their top threats, such as Iran's Ayatollahs, the Arab Tsunami, the Moslem Brotherhood and ISIS, which are unrelated to the Palestinian issue.
Are Western democracies aware of the costly Palestinian terroristic track record? Do they intend to learn from past mistakes by avoiding - rather than repeating - them? Are they aware that forgetfulness maximizes - while memory minimizes – costly errors?
Why was the Torah given in a desert - a desolate and inhospitable locale?
Why was the Torah given in a desert - a desolate and inhospitable locale?
And indeed the Hebrew word Sinai is related (sound-wise) to the Hebrew word for "hatred" (sin'ah).
It alludes to heightened disdain of the people of Israel for the subterfuges of materialism.
The Sinai desert was not only ownerless but also barren; there was no water and no vegetation to provide food or clothing.
According to the Midrash, God gave the Torah in the desert because He wanted to teach us a fundamental truth about it.
If G-d had given the Torah in a settled area, that would have implied that it was tied somehow specifically to the people of that place.
He therefore gave the Torah in the ownerless desert, making it clear that it does not belong to anybody in particular; anybody that so chooses can make the Torah their own.
According to the Talmud God gave the Torah in the desert because He wanted to teach us a fundamental truth about the nature of the study of the Torah.
"If a person humbles himself like the wilderness, which everybody treads upon, then the Torah is given to him as a gift."
It is interesting to note the in Hebrew the root דבר
"DAVAR" is the same one for the following words:
Desert - miDBAR - מדבר
Speak - meDABER - מדבר
Word / Thing - DAVAR - דבר
Commandment - DIBER - דבר
Ten commandments - ASERET HADIBROT -
It implies that when a person is in a desert (miDBAR) - remote from obstruction of "noises" of the daily life, he can then be exposed to the real WORD (DAVAR), absorb and internalize it.
Two More Judges
Parashas Yisro describes the establishment of the Jewish judicial system, with the appointment of officers of various levels along with Moshe to judge the people.
* * *
Mr. Weiss and Mr. Schwartz were involved in litigation in Rabbi Dayan's beis din. The case was extremely complicated, both factually and halachically. Beis din spent five sessions meeting with the parties. The Dayanim labored hard over the case and reviewed the mounds of documents that were submitted in conjunction with it.
After examining all the facts, the Dayanim debated among themselves the various sides of the issue. One Dayan was certain in his opinion. Another leaned in that direction but was hesitant. The third was unsure and could not reach a decision.
Rabbi Dayan decided to summon the litigants for one additional session, in the hope that that it would help clarify one remaining point. At the conclusion of the session, he asked the litigants to step out, so that the Dayanim could deliberate among themselves.
The first Dayan reiterated his initial position. The second Dayan said: "After much consideration, I'm willing to agree with you."
"Unfortunately, I am still not able to come to a decision," said the third Dayan. "I see the validity of both sides."
Rabbi Dayan called the litigants back in. "Two of us are of the same opinion," he said. "However, the third Dayan is undecided, and cannot render a decisive opinion."
"I don't see the problem," said Mr. Weiss. "If two of you are of the same opinion, the case is effectively decided! Even if the third Dayan would disagree with the other two, the ruling is according to the majority."
"Not so simple," said Rabbi Dayan. "We need to expand the panel of Dayanim!"
"That's interesting!" exclaimed Mr. Schwartz. He asked:
Why do we need to expand the panel of Dayanim?
"The Mishnah (Sanhedrin 29a) states that if one Dayan absolves and one obligates, or even if two absolve or obligate, and the third is undecided – we add two Dayanim," answered Rabbi Dayan. "Were the third Dayan to dissent, his opinion would be nullified by the majority. However, when the third Dayan is undecided, he does not count; it is like only two Dayanim ruled. Furthermore, if he expressed a dissenting opinion, perhaps the others would come around to him" (C.M. 18:1; Sma 18:4).
"Why add two?" asked Mr. Weiss. "Wouldn't one Dayan suffice to replace the undecided one?!"
"We want to avoid an even-numbered beis din," replied Rabbi Dayan. "According to the Rambam, cited by Shulchan Aruch, the Dayan who is undecided remains part of the panel, and continues to participate in the deliberations. Through the continued discussion, we anticipate that he will take a position" (C.M. 18:1).
"Some provide an additional reason for adding two Dayanim. If the initial two were split, we do not want the additional Dayan's opinion to be evident to the litigants. Accordingly, even if the original panel was agreed to be four and was split evenly, we still need to add two" (Shevus Yaakov 1:133; Pischei Teshuvah 18:5).
"What happens if the undecided Dayan remains undecided?" asked Mr. Schwartz.
"If three or four of the five Dayanim agree, we follow that majority, even if one or two are undecided," replied Rabbi Dayan, "since now at least three issued the majority ruling. If two absolve and two obligate and one is undecided, we add another two, until reaching a maximum of 71.
"If two absolve, one obligates, and two are undecided," concluded Rabbi Dayan, "Bach maintains that this is considered a majority of three, but many Acharonim rule that we need to add, since there isn't a majority when considering also those who are undecided" (Bach 18:1; Sma 18:6; Shach 18:2).
Verdict: When one of the three Dayanim is undecided, we add two Dayanim, and the deliberations continue with a panel of five.