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swearing an oath in civil court


Rabbi Chaim Tabasky

Av 26, 5768
As a physician who specializes in ocular trauma I am asked on occasion to testify in court about patient’s injuries, and during depositions in front of court reporters. What type of oath is permissible. I feel uncomfortable, "swearing to tell the truth so help me God", as this appears to be an oath that might be prohibited by Torah. What would in your learned opinion be a permissible oath to swear? For example, could I simply "promise to tell the truth", or "swear to tell the truth". Thank you for your opinion. Baruch Hashem
Although Jewish courts have refrained from having litigants swear to the veracity of their claims, there is no clear prohibition to swear in truth. Actually, according to the Rambam, swearing in truth is a type of praise of HaShem's name (as we declare Him our standard of truth). There is a custom not to swear using HaShem's name, so if you can "attest" or use some other form that the court will accept, I would advise to do so, but I know of no prohibition to swear if it is in truth.
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