In Yevamos (around daf 92) Beis Din is empowered to allow a single witness to testify as to the death of a missing (overseas) husband enabling the wife to be free to marry. Normally we require 2 witnesses for valid testimony and apparently this is a leniency for an Aguna. It does however come with a severe Knas that should a living husband re-appear (or 2 witnesses testify that he is alive) she must divorce both husbands and her offspring will be Mamzeirim.
Heres my question:
A devious wife, who wanted out of a marriage (and get a yerusha to boot!), could theoretically arrange to kill her husband in front of a single witness. When they go to a Beis Din, the witness testifies that she killed him. The Beis Din cannot convict her of murder as there is only one witness. But if she wants to be free to marry the one witness is sufficient.
Something just isnt right about this.
Howard Loboda, Jerusalem, Israel
The simple answer is that Klal Yisrael are not suspected of doing such wicked things. This is possibly similar to the Gemara Kidushin 82a that Yisrael are not suspected of homosexuality or bestiality. See also Gitin 54a that Yisrael are not suspected of breaking Shabbos. In addition see Rambam Hilchos Rotze'ach 4:9 who writes that even though there are transgressions which are more severe than murder (i.e. in terms of the severity of the punushment one receives for them), nevertheless murder is the most destructive for society - even more destructive than idol-worship and certainly more destructive than forbidden sexual relations and breaking Shabbos. A murderer is a total Rasha and all the Mitzvos he did during his entire life will not save him from the severity of the crime of murder. Therefore we do not suspect the wife of doing such a terrible sin, merely in order to enable her to re-marry. The Gemara also states (below 116a) that if a woman says to her husband "You divorced me" she is believed because there is a Chazakah that a woman would not be so arrogant to say such a lie in front of her husband. It would certainly seem therefore that she is not so arrogant actually to kill him.
In addition, if your question would be a valid one, it could be asked in a better way. Since the Mishnah (below 114b) states that if the wife herself says that her husband died, she is believed - then a question can be asked on the Mishnah. Why do we believe her to say that her husband died - why are we not worried that she herself killed him? If so, she would not need to kill the husband in front of the witness?! The fact that we believe the wife to say that she saw her husband dead, proves that we are not afraid she would actually kill him herself.
Furthermore even if we would say that it is possible that the wife might kill her husband, it is not logical that because of such a bad woman we should abolish the leniency which allows her to re-marry on the basis of one witness. Why should all the women in the world suffer because of this far-off possiblity?
In short, the possibilty that a wife killed her husband is a remote one and the Halachah does not take account of it.