וּבְכוּלַּהּ בָּעֵי דְּלוֹדֵי לֵיהּ וְהַאי דְּלָא אוֹדִי לֵיהּ כִּי הֵיכִי דְּלִישְׁתְּמִיט לֵיהּ וְסָבַר עַד דְּהָוֵה לִי זוּזֵי וּפָרַעְנָא לֵיהּ וְרַחֲמָנָא אָמַר רְמִי שְׁבוּעָה עֲלֵיהּ כִּי הֵיכִי דְּלוֹדֵי לֵיהּ בְּכוּלֵּיהּ And, as a result, he would have liked to admit to him that he owes him the entire loan. And the reason that he did not admit to him that he owes him the entire loan is so that he may temporarily avoid paying him. And he rationalizes doing so, saying to himself: I am avoiding him only until the time that I have money, and then I will repay him. Due to the concern that the partial admission is motivated by that rationalization and the claim of the lender is true, the Merciful One says: Impose an oath upon him so that he will admit that he owes him the entire loan.
רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר בֶּן יַעֲקֹב סָבַר לָא שְׁנָא בּוֹ וְלָא שְׁנָא בִּבְנוֹ אֵינוֹ מֵעִיז וְהִלְכָּךְ לָאו מֵשִׁיב אֲבֵידָה הָוֵי וְרַבָּנַן סָבְרִי בּוֹ הוּא דְּאֵינוֹ מֵעִיז אֲבָל בִּבְנוֹ מֵעִיז וּמִדְּלֹא הֵעִיז מֵשִׁיב אֲבֵידָה הָוֵי Rabbi Eliezer ben Ya’akov maintains: It is no different with regard to the creditor himself, and it is no different with regard to his son. The debtor would not be so insolent as to deny the debt. And therefore, he is not considered as one returning a lost article on his own initiative. Rather, he is considered as one who partially admits his debt in response to a claim, and is therefore required to take an oath. However, the Rabbis maintain: In the presence of the creditor one would not be insolent, but in the presence of his son, who did not lend him the money, he would be insolent and deny the claim entirely. Since he had the option of completely denying the loan and opted to admit to part of the claim, he is considered as one returning a lost article and his claim is accepted without an oath.
מַתְנִי׳ הָעֵדִים שֶׁאָמְרוּ כְּתַב יָדֵינוּ הוּא זֶה אֲבָל אֲנוּסִים הָיִינוּ קְטַנִּים הָיִינוּ פְּסוּלֵי עֵדוּת הָיִינוּ הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ נֶאֱמָנִים וְאִם יֵשׁ עֵדִים שֶׁהוּא כְּתַב יָדָם אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה כְּתַב יָדָם יוֹצֵא מִמָּקוֹם אַחֵר אֵינָן נֶאֱמָנִין MISHNA: With regard to the witnesses who said in their testimony to ratify their signatures in a document: We signed the document and this is our handwriting; however, we were compelled to sign, or we were minors when we signed, or we were disqualified witnesses, e.g., we are relatives of one of the parties, they are deemed credible. Since the document is ratified on the basis of their testimony, it is likewise invalidated on the basis of their testimony. However, if there are other witnesses who testify that it is their handwriting, or if their handwriting emerges on a document from another place, enabling confirmation of their signatures by comparing the two documents, then the witnesses who signed the document are not deemed credible. The document is not invalidated based on their testimony, because ratification of the document is not dependent on their testimony, as their signatures can be authenticated independently.
גְּמָ׳ אָמַר רָמֵי בַּר חָמָא לֹא שָׁנוּ אֶלָּא שֶׁאָמְרוּ אֲנוּסִים הָיִינוּ מֵחֲמַת מָמוֹן אֲבָל אֲנוּסִים הָיִינוּ מֵחֲמַת נְפָשׁוֹת הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ נֶאֱמָנִין GEMARA: With regard to the latter clause in the mishna, in which it is stated that if there is independent corroboration of the signatures of the witnesses the document is not invalidated based on their testimony, Rami bar Ḥama says: The Sages taught this halakha only in a case where they said: We were compelled to sign the document due to a monetary threat. Their testimony incriminates them, as they testified falsely for money, and the principle is: The testimony of one who incriminates himself is not accepted. However, if the witnesses said: We were compelled to sign the document due to a threat to our lives, they are deemed credible, as that testimony is not self-incriminating, since in that case it is permitted to testify falsely.
אֲמַר לֵיהּ רָבָא כֹּל כְּמִינֵּיהּ כֵּיוָן שֶׁהִגִּיד שׁוּב אֵינוֹ חוֹזֵר וּמַגִּיד וְכִי תֵּימָא הָנֵי מִילֵּי עַל פֶּה אֲבָל בִּשְׁטָר לָא וְהָא אָמַר רֵישׁ לָקִישׁ עֵדִים הַחֲתוּמִים עַל הַשְּׁטָר נַעֲשָׂה כְּמִי שֶׁנֶּחְקְרָה עֵדוּתָן בְּבֵית דִּין Rava said to Rami bar Ḥama: Is it within their power to retract their testimony? There is a principle: Once a witness stated his testimony in court, he cannot again state testimony that contradicts his previous testimony. And if you say that this principle applies specifically to oral testimony, but with regard to testimony in a document, no, the principle does not apply and one may retract that testimony, didn’t Reish Lakish say: The legal status of witnesses who are signatories on the document becomes like those whose testimony was cross-examined in court. Therefore, just as one may not retract oral testimony, neither may he retract written testimony.
אֶלָּא כִּי אִתְּמַר אַרֵישָׁא אִתְּמַר הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ נֶאֱמָנִין אָמַר רָמֵי בַּר חָמָא לֹא שָׁנוּ אֶלָּא שֶׁאָמְרוּ אֲנוּסִין הָיִינוּ מֵחֲמַת נְפָשׁוֹת אֲבָל אָמְרוּ אֲנוּסִין הָיִינוּ מֵחֲמַת מָמוֹן אֵין נֶאֱמָנִין מַאי טַעְמָא אֵין אָדָם מֵשִׂים עַצְמוֹ רָשָׁע Rather, when the statement of Rami bar Ḥama is stated, it is stated with regard to the first clause of the mishna, that if there is no independent corroboration of their signatures they are deemed credible. Rami bar Ḥama said: The Sages taught this halakha only in a case where the witnesses said: We were compelled to sign the document due to a threat to our lives, as in that case they do not incriminate themselves. However, if the witnesses said: We were compelled to sign the document due to a monetary threat, they are not deemed credible. What is the reason that they are not deemed credible? It is based on the principle: One does not render himself wicked, and self-incriminating testimony is not accepted.
תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן אֵין נֶאֱמָנִים לְפוֹסְלוֹ דִּבְרֵי רַבִּי מֵאִיר וַחֲכָמִים אוֹמְרִים נֶאֱמָנִים בִּשְׁלָמָא לְרַבָּנַן כִּי טַעְמַיְיהוּ שֶׁהַפֶּה שֶׁאָסַר הוּא הַפֶּה שֶׁהִתִּיר אֶלָּא לְרַבִּי מֵאִיר מַאי טַעְמָא בִּשְׁלָמָא פְּסוּלֵי עֵדוּת מַלְוֶה גּוּפֵיהּ מֵעִיקָּרָא מִידָּק דָּיֵיק וּמַחְתֵּם קְטַנִּים נָמֵי כִּדְרַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן לָקִישׁ דְּאָמַר רֵישׁ לָקִישׁ § The Sages taught: Witnesses who testify to invalidate their signatures on a document are not deemed credible to invalidate the document; this is the statement of Rabbi Meir. And the Rabbis say: They are deemed credible. The Gemara asks: Granted, according to the Rabbis, their opinion corresponds to their reasoning stated previously: The mouth that prohibited it, i.e., ratified the document, is the mouth that permitted it, i.e., invalidated the promissory note. However, according to Rabbi Meir, what is the reason that their testimony to invalidate the document is not accepted? Granted, their testimony that they were disqualified witnesses is not accepted, as the lender himself initially ascertains that the witnesses are fit to testify and only then signs them on the document. Similarly, according to Rabbi Meir, their testimony that they were minors is also not accepted, in accordance with the statement of Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish, as Reish Lakish said: