Re: Swearing in Court

Jonathan Katz (frisch1@MIT.EDU)
Sat, 28 Dec 1996 21:23:21 EST

Baruch C.Cohen wrote:
>I represent many Jews in bankruptcy proceedings in California. At their
>Creditor Meetings my clients are asked: "Do you swear to tell the truth,
>the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you G-d."
>What are the Halachic violations in answering "I do"?
>What is the proper way to "affirm" to tell the truth without violating

Anyone (Jewish included) who does not wish to swear on a Bible to "tell the
truth, the whole truth, etc." may simply affirm to tell the truth, etc.
I guess you need only tell the judge/baliff beforehand "my client wishes
to affirm rather than swear".

I'm not sure of the halachic ramifications of swearing, but I can't imagine
that it's looked upon favorably to swear on a Christian bible. Besides,
Jewish law discourages swearing in God's name, lest one lies (even by
mistake) while under oath.

Jonathan Katz
410 Memorial Drive, Room 233F
Cambridge, MA 02139