הָרִאשׁוֹנִים הָיוּ נְשִׂיאִים וּשְׁנִיִּים לָהֶם אֲבוֹת בֵּית דִּין: The first members of each pair served as Nasi, and their counterparts served as deputy Nasi.
גְּמָ׳ תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן שְׁלֹשָׁה מִזּוּגוֹת הָרִאשׁוֹנִים שֶׁאָמְרוּ שֶׁלֹּא לִסְמוֹךְ וּשְׁנַיִם מִזּוּגוֹת הָאַחֲרוֹנִים שֶׁאָמְרוּ לִסְמוֹךְ (הָרִאשׁוֹנִים) הָיוּ נְשִׂיאִים וּשְׁנִיִּים לָהֶם אֲבוֹת בֵּית דִּין דִּבְרֵי רַבִּי מֵאִיר וַחֲכָמִים אוֹמְרִים יְהוּדָה בֶּן טָבַאי אַב בֵּית דִּין וְשִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן שָׁטַח נָשִׂיא GEMARA: The Sages taught: Three of the first pairs who say not to place hands and two of the last pairs who say to place hands served as Nasi, and their counterparts served as deputy Nasi; this is the statement of Rabbi Meir. And the Rabbis say the opposite: Yehuda ben Tabbai was deputy Nasi and Shimon ben Shataḥ was the Nasi.
מַאן תְּנָא לְהָא דְּתָנוּ רַבָּנַן אָמַר רַבִּי יְהוּדָה בֶּן טָבַאי אֶרְאֶה בְּנֶחָמָה אִם לֹא הָרַגְתִּי עֵד זוֹמֵם לְהוֹצִיא מִלִּבָּן שֶׁל צַדּוּקִין שֶׁהָיוּ אוֹמְרִים אֵין עֵדִים זוֹמְמִין נֶהֱרָגִין עַד שֶׁיֵּהָרֵג הַנִּידּוֹן The Gemara asks: Who is the tanna who taught that which the Sages taught in a baraita: Rabbi Yehuda ben Tabbai said: I swear that I will not see the consolation of Israel if I did not kill a conspiring witness. This means that Rabbi Yehuda ben Tabbai sentenced a conspiring witness to death, in order to counter the views of the Sadducees, who would say: Conspiring witnesses are not executed unless the sentenced one has been executed. Their views opposed the traditional view, which maintains that conspiring witnesses are executed only if the one sentenced by their testimony has not yet been executed.
אָמַר לוֹ שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן שָׁטַח אֶרְאֶה בְּנֶחָמָה אִם לֹא שָׁפַכְתָּ דָּם נָקִי שֶׁהֲרֵי אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים אֵין עֵדִים זוֹמְמִין נֶהֱרָגִין עַד שֶׁיִּזּוֹמּוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם וְאֵין לוֹקִין עַד שֶׁיִּזּוֹמּוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם וְאֵין מְשַׁלְּמִין מָמוֹן עַד שֶׁיִּזּוֹמּוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם Shimon ben Shataḥ said to him: I swear that I will not see the consolation of Israel if you did not shed innocent blood, as the Sages said: Conspiring witnesses are not executed unless they are both found to be conspirators; if only one is found to be a conspirator, he is not executed. And they are not flogged if they are liable to such a penalty, unless they are both found to be conspirators. And if they testified falsely that someone owed money, they do not pay money unless they are both found to be conspirators.
מִיָּד קִבֵּל עָלָיו יְהוּדָה בֶּן טָבַאי שֶׁאֵינוֹ מוֹרֶה הֲלָכָה אֶלָּא בִּפְנֵי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן שָׁטַח Hearing this, Yehuda ben Tabbai immediately accepted upon himself not to rule on any matter of law unless he was in the presence of Shimon ben Shataḥ, as he realized he could not rely on his own judgment.
כׇּל יָמָיו שֶׁל יְהוּדָה בֶּן טָבַאי הָיָה מִשְׁתַּטֵּחַ עַל קִבְרוֹ שֶׁל אוֹתוֹ הָרוּג וְהָיָה קוֹלוֹ נִשְׁמָע כִּסְבוּרִין הָעָם לוֹמַר שֶׁקּוֹלוֹ שֶׁל הָרוּג הוּא אָמַר לָהֶם קוֹלִי הוּא תֵּדְעוּ שֶׁלְּמָחָר הוּא מֵת וְאֵין קוֹלוֹ נִשְׁמָע The baraita further relates: All of Yehuda ben Tabbai’s days, he would prostrate himself on the grave of that executed individual, to request forgiveness, and his voice was heard weeping. The people thought that it was the voice of that executed person, rising from his grave. Yehuda ben Tabbai said to them: It is my voice, and you shall know that it is so, for tomorrow, i.e., sometime in the future, he will die, and his voice will no longer be heard. Yehuda ben Tabbai was referring to himself, but he did not want to mention something negative about himself in direct terms.
אֲמַר לֵיהּ רַב אַחָא בְּרֵיהּ דְּרָבָא לְרַב אָשֵׁי וְדִלְמָא פַּיּוֹסֵי פַּיְּיסֵיהּ אוֹ בְּדִינָא תַּבְעֵיהּ Rav Aḥa, son of Rava, said to Rav Ashi: This provides no conclusive proof that the voice was not that of the executed man, as perhaps ben Tabbai appeased the executed individual in the World-to-Come. Or, alternatively, the latter may have prosecuted him by the law of Heaven, and that is why his voice can no longer be heard.
מַנִּי הָא אִי אָמְרַתְּ בִּשְׁלָמָא רַבִּי מֵאִיר דְּאָמַר שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן שָׁטַח אַב בֵּית דִּין רַבִּי יְהוּדָה בֶּן טָבַאי נָשִׂיא הַיְינוּ דְּקָא מוֹרֵי הֲלָכָה בִּפְנֵי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן שָׁטַח אֶלָּא אִי אָמְרַתְּ רַבָּנַן דְּאָמְרִי יְהוּדָה בֶּן טָבַאי אַב בֵּית דִּין שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן שָׁטַח נָשִׂיא אַב בֵּית דִּין בִּפְנֵי נָשִׂיא מִי מוֹרֶה הֲלָכָה The Gemara returns to its original question: Whose opinion does this baraita follow? Granted, if you say it is in accordance with that of Rabbi Meir, who said that Shimon ben Shataḥ was deputy Nasi while Rabbi Yehuda ben Tabbai was Nasi, that explains why he had previously issued a halakhic ruling in the presence of Shimon ben Shataḥ to execute the conspiring witness, and only after that unfortunate incident did he undertake to issue rulings only in the presence of his colleague. But if you say that the baraita is in accordance with the Sages, who said: Yehuda ben Tabbai was deputy Nasi and Shimon ben Shataḥ the Nasi, why did he need to make such a commitment? May the deputy Nasi issue a halakhic ruling in the presence of the Nasi?
לָא מַאי קִבֵּל עָלָיו דְּקָאָמַר לְאִצְטְרוֹפֵי דַּאֲפִילּוּ אִצְטְרוֹפֵי נָמֵי לָא מִצְטְרֵיפְנָא: The Gemara refutes this: No; what did he mean by accepting upon himself not to rule on his own? He spoke with regard to joining the ruling of others: Even with regard to joining the ruling of others, I will also not join until I have first heard the view of Shimon ben Shataḥ.
יָצָא מְנַחֵם וְנִכְנַס שַׁמַּאי כּוּ׳ לְהֵיכָן יָצָא אַבָּיֵי אָמַר יָצָא לְתַרְבּוּת רָעָה רָבָא אָמַר יָצָא לַעֲבוֹדַת הַמֶּלֶךְ תַּנְיָא נָמֵי הָכִי יָצָא מְנַחֵם לַעֲבוֹדַת הַמֶּלֶךְ וְיָצְאוּ עִמּוֹ שְׁמוֹנִים זוּגוֹת תַּלְמִידִים לְבוּשִׁין סִירִיקוֹן § It is taught in the mishna: Menaḥem departed and Shammai entered. The Gemara asks: To where did Menaḥem depart? Abaye said: He departed and went astray. Therefore, the mishna did not wish to delve into the details of his case. Rava said: He departed for the king’s service. He received a post from the king and had to leave the court. This is also taught in a baraita: Menaḥem departed for the king’s service, and eighty pairs of students dressed in silk robes left with him to work for the king, and that they no longer studied Torah.
אָמַר רַב שֶׁמֶן בַּר אַבָּא אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן לְעוֹלָם אַל תְּהֵא שְׁבוּת קַלָּה בְּעֵינֶיךָ שֶׁהֲרֵי סְמִיכָה אֵינָהּ אֶלָּא מִשּׁוּם שְׁבוּת וְנֶחְלְקוּ בָּהּ גְּדוֹלֵי הַדּוֹר § Rav Shemen bar Abba said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: A rabbinic decree [shevut] should never be taken lightly in your eyes, since placing hands on the head of an offering on a Festival is prohibited only as a rabbinic decree because it is considered making use of an animal, which is not considered a prohibited labor but merely resembles one, and yet the greatest scholars of each generation disputed it.
פְּשִׁיטָא שְׁבוּת מִצְוָה אִצְטְרִיכָא לֵיהּ The Gemara is puzzled by this statement: This is obvious. Since it is an accepted rabbinic decree, why should people take it lightly? The Gemara answers: It was necessary for him to state it because it is a rabbinic decree related to a mitzva. In other words, although this rabbinic decree of placing the hands on an animal is not performed for one’s own sake but for the purpose of a mitzva, it was nevertheless a serious matter in the eyes of the Sages.
הָא נָמֵי פְּשִׁיטָא לְאַפּוֹקֵי מִמַּאן דְּאָמַר בִּסְמִיכָה גּוּפַהּ פְּלִיגִי קָא מַשְׁמַע לַן בִּשְׁבוּת הוּא דִּפְלִיגִי The Gemara remains puzzled: This too is obvious. In that case as well, the act is prohibited by the Sages. The Gemara responds: Rabbi Yoḥanan’s statement comes to exclude the opinion of the one who said that they disagree with regard to the actual obligation of placing hands, i.e., whether or not obligatory peace-offerings require placing the hands. He therefore teaches us that it is a rabbinic decree that is the subject of their dispute, not the requirement itself.
אָמַר רָמֵי בַּר חָמָא שְׁמַע מִינַּהּ סְמִיכָה בְּכׇל כֹּחוֹ בָּעֵינַן דְּאִי סָלְקָא דַּעְתָּךְ לָא בָּעֵינַן בְּכׇל כֹּחוֹ מַאי קָא עָבֵיד לִיסְמוֹךְ Rami bar Ḥama said: You can learn from here, from this dispute, that the mitzva of placing hands requires not only placing one’s hands on the animal’s head, but we also require that one places his hands with all his strength. For if it enters your mind that we do not require all his strength, what prohibition does one violate by placing his hands? Let him place them on a Festival as well, as this does not resemble a prohibited action at all.
מֵיתִיבִי דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְסָמַךְ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל סוֹמְכִין וְאֵין בְּנוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל סוֹמְכוֹת רַבִּי יוֹסֵי וְרַבִּי יִשְׁמָעֵאל אוֹמְרִים בְּנוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל סוֹמְכוֹת רְשׁוּת The Gemara raises an objection to this from a baraita: “Speak to the children of [benei] Israel” (Leviticus 1:2). The word benei literally means: Sons of. And it states nearby: “And he shall place his hand on the head of the burnt-offering” (Leviticus 1:4), from which we learn that the sons of Israel place their hands, but the daughters of Israel do not place them. Rabbi Yosei and Rabbi Yishmael say: It is optional for the daughters of Israel to place their hands. They may place their hands if they so choose, although they are not obligated to do so.
אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹסֵי סָח לִי אַבָּא אֶלְעָזָר פַּעַם אַחַת הָיָה לָנוּ עֵגֶל שֶׁל זִבְחֵי שְׁלָמִים וַהֲבֵיאנוּהוּ לְעֶזְרַת נָשִׁים וְסָמְכוּ עָלָיו נָשִׁים לֹא מִפְּנֵי שֶׁסְּמִיכָה בְּנָשִׁים אֶלָּא כְּדֵי לַעֲשׂוֹת נַחַת רוּחַ לַנָּשִׁים וְאִי סָלְקָא דַעְתָּךְ סְמִיכָה בְּכׇל כֹּחוֹ בָּעֵינַן מִשּׁוּם נַחַת רוּחַ דְּנָשִׁים עָבְדִינַן עֲבוֹדָה בְּקָדָשִׁים אֶלָּא לָאו שְׁמַע מִינַּהּ לָא בָּעֵינַן בְּכׇל כֹּחוֹ Rabbi Yosei said: The Sage Abba Elazar related to me the following incident: On one occasion, we had a calf for a peace-offering, and we brought it to the Women’s Courtyard, and women placed their hands on it. We did this not because there is an obligation of placing hands in the case of women, but in order to please the women, by allowing them to sacrifice an offering, in all of its particulars, as men do. Now, if it enters your mind that we require placing hands with all one’s strength, would we perform work with consecrated offerings in order to please the women? Placing one’s hands forcefully on an animal is considered performing work with it, and if one does it without being obligated to do so, he has thereby performed work with an offering. Rather, isn’t it correct to conclude from this that we do not require placing hands with all one’s strength?
לְעוֹלָם אֵימָא לָךְ בָּעֵינַן בְּכׇל כֹּחוֹ דַּאֲמַר לְהוּ אַקְפּוֹ יְדַיְיכוּ אִי הָכִי לֹא מִפְּנֵי שֶׁסְּמִיכָה בְּנָשִׁים תִּיפּוֹק לֵיהּ דְּאֵינָהּ לִסְמִיכָה כְּלָל The Gemara rejects this: Actually, I could say to you that we do require placing hands with all one’s strength, but here they allowed women to place their hands by saying to them: Ease your hands and do not press forcefully, so that their hand placing should not constitute work. The Gemara retorts: If so, then the reason formulated as: Not because there is an obligation to place hands in the case of women, is irrelevant to this law. Let him derive the permission for women to do so from the reason that it is not considered placing hands at all. If placing hands must be performed with all one’s strength, this action the women are performing does not constitute placing hands.
אָמַר רַבִּי אַמֵּי חֲדָא וְעוֹד קָאָמַר חֲדָא דְּלֵיתָא לִסְמִיכָה כְּלָל וְעוֹד כְּדֵי לַעֲשׂוֹת נַחַת רוּחַ לַנָּשִׁים Rabbi Ami said: He stated one reason and another. One reason is that it is not considered placing hands at all, as it is not performed with all of one’s strength; and another reason is that they allowed it in order to please the women.
אָמַר רַב פָּפָּא שְׁמַע מִינַּהּ צְדָדִין אֲסוּרִין דְּאִי סָלְקָא דַעְתָּךְ צְדָדִין מוּתָּרִין לִסְמוֹךְ לִצְדָדִין אֶלָּא לָאו שְׁמַע מִינַּהּ צְדָדִין אֲסוּרִין Rav Pappa said: Learn from this that anything upon which one may not place objects or upon which one may not sit on Shabbat, its sides are likewise prohibited, for if it enters your mind to say that the sides are permitted, they could have told the women to place their hands on the sides, i.e., on the head of the animal rather than on its back, as the head of the animal is considered as if it were one of its sides. Rather, must one not conclude from this that the sides are prohibited?