Pop Quiz for Lomdim About Yesh Raglayim Lidavar

In Rav Elyashiv’s psak authorizing reporting suspected molesters to the authorities he says it should be done, if “yesh raglayim lidavar” (literally, if the thing has legs). Agudah claims that means, ask a rabbi which is their method of Intercept and Deflect. However, I have it on good authority that all you need is suspicious behavior apparent to a lay person to meet this standard.

My pop quiz question is where is this term first used in rabbinic literature and what does this suggest about the correct interpretation of Rav Elyashiv’s ruling. We can of course assume, that  Rav Elyashiv’s choice of a rarely used term was quite deliberate.

So, smart folk out there, go at it.

Prize for best answer: bragging rights and incorporation into this post or a future post with full credit.

Penalty for worst answer: Display on this blog with an informed critique.

Judge: A serious talmid chacham known to me.


9 thoughts on “Pop Quiz for Lomdim About Yesh Raglayim Lidavar

  1. so far all I am getting is “Urinary Incontinence, Colostomies, Ileostomies, and Catheters”, wrong raglayim I guess

  2. The earliest reference I found is in Niddah 3a. Here’s the quote + my translation.

    ורבי שמעון סבר כי סוטה מה סוטה ברה”ר טהור הכא נמי ברה”ר טהור אי מסוטה אימא כי סוטה מה סוטה ברה”י טמאה ודאי הכא נמי ברה”י טמאה ודאי הכי השתא התם יש רגלים לדבר שהרי קינא לה ונסתרה הכא מאי רגלים לדבר

    Rabbi Shimon understands [as follows]: [The law regarding Mikveh] is like Sotah. Just as a Sotah [suspected of adultery] in a public domain is considered “Tahor”, here too [regarding a Mikveh] in a public domain, [the person] is considered “Tahor”. (Q) If [you learn] from Sotah, I would say [as follows]: It is like Sotah. Just as a Sotah [suspected of adultery] in a private domain is considered “certainly Tamei”, here too [regarding a Mikveh] in a private domain, [the person] is considered “certainly Tamei”. (A) How can you compare the cases! There [re: Sotah] “YESH RAGLAIM L’DAVAR” [there is an evidential basis for the accusation that she is Tamei], since [her husband] warned her, and she secluded herself [with a man]. Here [re: Mikveh] what evidential basis is there [that the person is Tamei]?

    Now, in terms of reporting molestation, the big question is what exactly is considered sufficient “raglaim” (evidential basis)? And on that count, I’d venture to guess you’d have pretty widely differing opinions depending on who you ask!

    Best, AJ

  3. There were 3 separate cases that Rav Eliyashiv said that to, I have personally spoken to 2 of the people that asked the question, one of the 2 were also told, and I quote, isn’t that what the Mishtara (Israeli Police) are here for

  4. I asked a local chasidic posek, “Is it was true what I heard that you said you were allowed to go directly to the police without first asking a rav to report a suspected molester.”

    He said, “No, you heard wrong. I did not say you are ALLOWED to go. I said, you HAVE TO GO directly to the polic! It is a chivyuv of lo saamod”

  5. A soteh needs not to be seen in the act, just by
    having been put on notice , followed by nisterah or Yichud. The raglayim ledavar is lekuleh, that is to say, that INDICATION only, ofwhich in this case happens to be STIRA, will suffice, without proof of being observed kemakchol bishfoferet. The same applies here, INDICATION is enough, that is, someone known to be a mishkav zachar
    and was seen going into the CAMP bungalow e.g. in the wee hours of the moring of sleepimg bocherim, and then claims, haloy tickling raglayim onoychi, that is what you call raglayim, with a davar vachetzi davar.You report immediataly to the Police without being bodek the tzitzit, without waiting 32 hours, erasing tapes, threatening the wits of the kids etc., so as to prevent even for now FROM happening, and save from the RODEF. You do not need to wait till RODEF actually KILLS the NIRDAF bringing along the RAGLAYIM R’L’, like by LEIBY H’Y’D’, ken hadavar hahi.

  6. Actually it appears a number of times in the mishna (Zavim 2:2, Ahalos 16:4, Nazir 9:2-4, Sanhedrin 9:1). Though in most of the cases the raglayim l’davar is defined, it seems to me that in some cases you may need to ask an expert – but expert means expert in some area of estimation not a rabbi.

  7. There are two separate and distinct stages. First, the actual ocurrence that indicates something happened, or was about to happen, that is the Raglayim ledavar part 1, of which will suffice to be a mandatory reporter. Where the expert comes in such as the ‘Mishtara’,part 2 – is only to establish the truthfulness of the report to build a complete face and body onto the Raglayim, in order to take further action necessary.

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