We will read this week in Parshat Vayikra which mainly deals with Korbanot, the sacrificial offering ritual at the Jerusalem’s Temple:
וְנֶ֣פֶשׁ כִּֽי־תֶחֱטָ֗א וְשָֽׁמְעָה֙ ק֣וֹל אָלָ֔ה וְה֣וּא עֵ֔ד א֥וֹ רָאָ֖ה א֣וֹ יָדָ֑ע אִם־ל֥וֹא יַגִּ֖יד וְנָשָׂ֥א עֲוֺנֽוֹ׃
“If a person sins, whereby he accepts an oath, and he is a witness [to some matter] or by seeing or knowing [it], yet he does not testify, he shall bear his transgression.” (Vayikra 5.1)
It starts with “He is a witness” and carries on with “he has seen” or “he knows” something which he is considering to withhold!
Perhaps, the Torah speaks to a person involved in a personal moral dilemma.
He has seen something which might be of very significant importance to another individual. However – he thinks. “Why should I put myself into this matter? Surely the other involved party is going to be very upset with me, for testifying against them”
So, this verse is to reinforce a moral principle: If you see something, and had been identified as a witness (by one of the parties) but furthermore – even if no one knows but yourself – that you have seen something of importance regarding a matter in litigation: You must be ready to testify, and not hide behind your “pseudo peace seeking soul”…
It seems a difficult one if it involves acquaintances.
Rabbi Chaim Michael Biberfeld