אֶחָד דִּינֵי מָמוֹנוֹת וְאֶחָד דִּינֵי נְפָשׁוֹת, בִּדְרִישָׁה וּבַחֲקִירָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כד) מִשְׁפַּט אֶחָד יִהְיֶה לָכֶם. מַה בֵּין דִּינֵי מָמוֹנוֹת לְדִינֵי נְפָשׁוֹת. דִּינֵי מָמוֹנוֹת בִּשְׁלֹשָׁה, וְדִינֵי נְפָשׁוֹת בְּעֶשְׂרִים וּשְׁלֹשָׁה. דִּינֵי מָמוֹנוֹת פּוֹתְחִין בֵּין לִזְכוּת בֵּין לְחוֹבָה, וְדִינֵי נְפָשׁוֹת פּוֹתְחִין לִזְכוּת וְאֵין פּוֹתְחִין לְחוֹבָה. דִּינֵי מָמוֹנוֹת מַטִּין עַל פִּי אֶחָד בֵּין לִזְכוּת בֵּין לְחוֹבָה, וְדִינֵי נְפָשׁוֹת מַטִּין עַל פִּי אֶחָד לִזְכוּת וְעַל פִּי שְׁנַיִם לְחוֹבָה. דִּינֵי מָמוֹנוֹת מַחֲזִירִין בֵּין לִזְכוּת בֵּין לְחוֹבָה, דִּינֵי נְפָשׁוֹת מַחֲזִירִין לִזְכוּת וְאֵין מַחֲזִירִין לְחוֹבָה. דִּינֵי מָמוֹנוֹת הַכֹּל מְלַמְּדִין זְכוּת וְחוֹבָה, דִּינֵי נְפָשׁוֹת הַכֹּל מְלַמְּדִין זְכוּת וְאֵין הַכֹּל מְלַמְּדִין חוֹבָה. דִּינֵי מָמוֹנוֹת הַמְלַמֵּד חוֹבָה מְלַמֵּד זְכוּת וְהַמְלַמֵּד זְכוּת מְלַמֵּד חוֹבָה, דִּינֵי נְפָשׁוֹת הַמְלַמֵּד חוֹבָה מְלַמֵּד זְכוּת, אֲבָל הַמְלַמֵּד זְכוּת אֵין יָכוֹל לַחֲזֹר וּלְלַמֵּד חוֹבָה. דִּינֵי מָמוֹנוֹת דָּנִין בַּיּוֹם וְגוֹמְרִין בַּלַּיְלָה, דִּינֵי נְפָשׁוֹת דָּנִין בַּיּוֹם וְגוֹמְרִין בַּיּוֹם. דִּינֵי מָמוֹנוֹת גּוֹמְרִין בּוֹ בַיּוֹם בֵּין לִזְכוּת בֵּין לְחוֹבָה, דִּינֵי נְפָשׁוֹת גּוֹמְרִין בּוֹ בַיּוֹם לִזְכוּת וּבְיוֹם שֶׁלְּאַחֲרָיו לְחוֹבָה, לְפִיכָךְ אֵין דָּנִין לֹא בְעֶרֶב שַׁבָּת וְלֹא בְעֶרֶב יוֹם טוֹב:
Both cases of monetary law and cases of capital law are equal with regard to the requirement for inquiry and interrogation of the witnesses, as it is stated: “You shall have one manner of law” (Leviticus 24:22), meaning that all legal procedures must be uniform. Having stated the essential similarity between the two, the mishna enumerates the differences between them. What are the differences between cases of monetary law and cases of capital law? Cases of monetary law are judged by a court of three judges, and cases of capital law are judged by a court of twenty-three judges. In cases of monetary law, the court opens the deliberations either with a claim to exempt the accused, or with a claim to find him liable. And in cases of capital law, the court opens the deliberations with a claim to acquit the accused, but it does not open the deliberations with a claim to find him liable. In cases of monetary law, the court directs, i.e., issues, the ruling based on a majority of one judge, either to exempt, or to find liable. But in cases of capital law, the court directs the judgment based on a majority of one judge to acquit and based on a majority of two judges to find liable. In cases of monetary law, the court brings the accused back to be judged again if new evidence arises, either with a claim to exempt the accused, or with a claim to find him liable. In cases of capital law, the court brings the accused back to be judged again with a claim to acquit him, but the court does not bring him back to be judged with a claim to find him liable. In cases of monetary law, all those present at the trial may teach a reason to exempt a litigant or to find him liable. In cases of capital law, all those present at the trial may teach a reason to acquit the accused, but not all present may teach a reason to find him liable. Only the judges can teach a reason to find him liable. In cases of monetary law, one who initially teaches a reason to find the accused liable may then teach a reason to exempt him, and one who initially teaches a reason to exempt him may then teach a reason to find him liable. In cases of capital law, one who initially teaches a reason to find him liable may then teach a reason to acquit, but one who initially teaches a reason to acquit may not return and teach a reason to find him liable. In cases of monetary law, the court judges during the daytime, and may conclude the deliberations and issue the ruling even at night. In cases of capital law, the court judges during the daytime, and concludes the deliberations and issues the ruling only in the daytime. In cases of monetary law, the court may conclude the deliberations and issue the ruling even on that same day, whether to exempt the accused or to find him liable. In cases of capital law, the court may conclude the deliberations and issue the ruling even on that same day to acquit the accused, but must wait until the following day to find him liable. Therefore, since capital cases might continue for two days, the court does not judge cases of capital law on certain days, neither on the eve of Shabbat nor the eve of a Festival.
דִּינֵי הַטֻּמְאוֹת וְהַטָּהֳרוֹת מַתְחִילִין מִן הַגָּדוֹל, דִּינֵי נְפָשׁוֹת מַתְחִילִין מִן הַצָּד. הַכֹּל כְּשֵׁרִין לָדוּן דִּינֵי מָמוֹנוֹת וְאֵין הַכֹּל כְּשֵׁרִין לָדוּן דִּינֵי נְפָשׁוֹת, אֶלָּא כֹהֲנִים, לְוִיִּם, וְיִשְׂרְאֵלִים הַמַּשִּׂיאִין לַכְּהֻנָּה:
In cases of monetary law, and likewise in the cases of ritual impurity and purity, the judges commence expressing their opinions from the greatest of the judges. In cases of capital law, the judges commence issuing their opinions from the side, where the least significant judges sit. All are fit to judge cases of monetary law. But not all are fit to judge cases of capital law; only priests, Levites, and Israelites who are of sufficiently fit lineage to marry their daughters to members of the priesthood are fit to judge cases of capital law.
סַנְהֶדְרִין הָיְתָה כַּחֲצִי גֹרֶן עֲגֻלָּה, כְּדֵי שֶׁיְּהוּ רוֹאִין זֶה אֶת זֶה. וּשְׁנֵי סוֹפְרֵי הַדַּיָּנִין עוֹמְדִין לִפְנֵיהֶם, אֶחָד מִיָּמִין וְאֶחָד מִשְּׂמֹאל, וְכוֹתְבִין דִּבְרֵי הַמְזַכִּין וְדִבְרֵי הַמְחַיְּבִין. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר, שְׁלֹשָׁה, אֶחָד כּוֹתֵב דִּבְרֵי הַמְזַכִּין, וְאֶחָד כּוֹתֵב דִּבְרֵי הַמְחַיְּבִין, וְהַשְּׁלִישִׁי כוֹתֵב דִּבְרֵי הַמְזַכִּין וְדִבְרֵי הַמְחַיְּבִין:
A Sanhedrin of twenty-three was arranged in the same layout as half of a circular threshing floor, in order that all the judges will see one another and the witnesses. And two judges’ scribes stand before the court, one on the right and one on the left, and they write the statements of those who find the accused liable and the statements of those who acquit the accused. Rabbi Yehuda says: There were three scribes. One writes only the statements of those who acquit the accused, one writes only the statements of those who find him liable, and the third writes both the statements of those who acquit the accused and the statements of those who find him liable, so that if there is uncertainty concerning the precise wording that one of the scribes writes, it can be compared to the words of the third scribe.
וְשָׁלֹשׁ שׁוּרוֹת שֶׁל תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים יוֹשְׁבִין לִפְנֵיהֶם, כָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד מַכִּיר אֶת מְקוֹמוֹ. הָיוּ צְרִיכִין לִסְמֹךְ, סוֹמְכִין מִן הָרִאשׁוֹנָה. אֶחָד מִן הַשְּׁנִיָּה בָּא לוֹ לָרִאשׁוֹנָה וְאֶחָד מִן הַשְּׁלִישִׁית בָּא לוֹ לַשְּׁנִיָּה, וּבוֹרְרִין לָהֶן עוֹד אֶחָד מִן הַקָּהָל וּמוֹשִׁיבִין אוֹתוֹ בַשְּׁלִישִׁית. וְלֹא הָיָה יוֹשֵׁב בִּמְקוֹמוֹ שֶׁל רִאשׁוֹן, אֶלָּא יוֹשֵׁב בְּמָקוֹם הָרָאוּי לוֹ:
And three rows of Torah scholars sit before the judges, and each and every one among those sitting recognizes his place, i.e., they are seated in accordance with their stature. When the court must ordain an additional judge, e.g., if a judge dies during the proceedings or in the case of a court without a decisive majority (see 40a), the court ordains the greatest Torah scholar from the first row. As a seat in the first row is now vacant, one Torah scholar from the second row comes to the first row, and one Torah scholar from the third row comes to the second row, and the court selects another Torah scholar from among the assembled and they seat him in the third row. And this Torah scholar who moves from the second row to the first row would not sit in the place of the first Torah scholar, who joined the court, rather, he would sit in the place appropriate for him, i.e., at the end of that row, in accordance with his stature.
כֵּיצַד מְאַיְּמִין אֶת הָעֵדִים עַל עֵדֵי נְפָשׁוֹת, הָיוּ מַכְנִיסִין אוֹתָן וּמְאַיְּמִין עֲלֵיהֶן. שֶׁמָּא תֹאמְרוּ מֵאֹמֶד, וּמִשְּׁמוּעָה, עֵד מִפִּי עֵד וּמִפִּי אָדָם נֶאֱמָן שָׁמַעְנוּ, אוֹ שֶׁמָּא אִי אַתֶּם יוֹדְעִין שֶׁסּוֹפֵנוּ לִבְדֹּק אֶתְכֶם בִּדְרִישָׁה וּבַחֲקִירָה. הֱווּ יוֹדְעִין שֶׁלֹּא כְדִינֵי מָמוֹנוֹת דִּינֵי נְפָשׁוֹת. דִּינֵי מָמוֹנוֹת, אָדָם נוֹתֵן מָמוֹן וּמִתְכַּפֵּר לוֹ. דִּינֵי נְפָשׁוֹת, דָּמוֹ וְדַם זַרְעִיּוֹתָיו תְּלוּיִין בּוֹ עַד סוֹף הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁכֵּן מָצִינוּ בְקַיִן שֶׁהָרַג אֶת אָחִיו, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (בראשית ד) דְּמֵי אָחִיךָ צֹעֲקִים, אֵינוֹ אוֹמֵר דַּם אָחִיךָ אֶלָּא דְּמֵי אָחִיךָ, דָּמוֹ וְדַם זַרְעִיּוֹתָיו. דָּבָר אַחֵר, דְּמֵי אָחִיךָ, שֶׁהָיָה דָמוֹ מֻשְׁלָךְ עַל הָעֵצִים וְעַל הָאֲבָנִים. לְפִיכָךְ נִבְרָא אָדָם יְחִידִי, לְלַמֶּדְךָ, שֶׁכָּל הַמְאַבֵּד נֶפֶשׁ אַחַת מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל, מַעֲלֶה עָלָיו הַכָּתוּב כְּאִלּוּ אִבֵּד עוֹלָם מָלֵא. וְכָל הַמְקַיֵּם נֶפֶשׁ אַחַת מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל, מַעֲלֶה עָלָיו הַכָּתוּב כְּאִלּוּ קִיֵּם עוֹלָם מָלֵא. וּמִפְּנֵי שְׁלוֹם הַבְּרִיּוֹת, שֶׁלֹּא יֹאמַר אָדָם לַחֲבֵרוֹ אַבָּא גָדוֹל מֵאָבִיךָ. וְשֶׁלֹּא יְהוּ מִינִין אוֹמְרִים, הַרְבֵּה רָשֻׁיּוֹת בַּשָּׁמָיִם. וּלְהַגִּיד גְּדֻלָּתוֹ שֶׁל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, שֶׁאָדָם טוֹבֵעַ כַּמָּה מַטְבְּעוֹת בְּחוֹתָם אֶחָד וְכֻלָּן דּוֹמִין זֶה לָזֶה, וּמֶלֶךְ מַלְכֵי הַמְּלָכִים הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא טָבַע כָּל אָדָם בְּחוֹתָמוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם הָרִאשׁוֹן וְאֵין אֶחָד מֵהֶן דּוֹמֶה לַחֲבֵרוֹ. לְפִיכָךְ כָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד חַיָּב לוֹמַר, בִּשְׁבִילִי נִבְרָא הָעוֹלָם. וְשֶׁמָּא תֹאמְרוּ מַה לָּנוּ וְלַצָּרָה הַזֹּאת, וַהֲלֹא כְבָר נֶאֱמַר (ויקרא ה) וְהוּא עֵד אוֹ רָאָה אוֹ יָדָע אִם לוֹא יַגִּיד וְגוֹ'. וְשֶׁמָּא תֹאמְרוּ מַה לָּנוּ לָחוּב בְּדָמוֹ שֶׁל זֶה, וַהֲלֹא כְבָר נֶאֱמַר (משלי יא) וּבַאֲבֹד רְשָׁעִים רִנָּה:
How does the court intimidate the witnesses in giving testimony for cases of capital law? They would bring the witnesses in and intimidate them by saying to them: Perhaps what you say in your testimony is based on conjecture, or perhaps it is based on a rumor, perhaps it is testimony based on hearsay, e.g., you heard a witness testify to this in a different court, or perhaps it is based on the statement of a trusted person. Perhaps you do not know that ultimately we examine you with inquiry and interrogation, and if you are lying, your lie will be discovered. The court tells them: You should know that cases of capital law are not like cases of monetary law. In cases of monetary law, a person who testifies falsely, causing money to be given to the wrong party, can give the money to the proper owner and his sin is atoned for. In cases of capital law, if one testifies falsely, the blood of the accused and the blood of his offspring that he did not merit to produce are ascribed to the witness’s testimony until eternity. The proof for this is as we found with Cain, who killed his brother, as it is stated concerning him: “The voice of your brother’s blood [demei] cries out to Me from the ground” (Genesis 4:10). The verse does not state: Your brother’s blood [dam], in the singular, but rather: “Your brother’s blood [demei],” in the plural. This serves to teach that the loss of both his brother’s blood and the blood of his brother’s offspring are ascribed to Cain. The mishna notes: Alternatively, the phrase “your brother’s blood [demei],” written in the plural, teaches that that his blood was not gathered in one place but was splattered on the trees and on the stones. The court tells the witnesses: Therefore, Adam the first man was created alone, to teach you that with regard to anyone who destroys one soul from the Jewish people, i.e., kills one Jew, the verse ascribes him blame as if he destroyed an entire world, as Adam was one person, from whom the population of an entire world came forth. And conversely, anyone who sustains one soul from the Jewish people, the verse ascribes him credit as if he sustained an entire world. The mishna cites another reason Adam the first man was created alone: And this was done due to the importance of maintaining peace among people, so that one person will not say to another: My father, i.e., progenitor, is greater than your father. And it was also so that the heretics who believe in multiple gods will not say: There are many authorities in Heaven, and each created a different person. And this serves to tell of the greatness of the Holy One, Blessed be He, as when a person stamps several coins with one seal, they are all similar to each other. But the supreme King of kings, the Holy One, Blessed be He, stamped all people with the seal of Adam the first man, as all of them are his offspring, and not one of them is similar to another. Therefore, since all humanity descends from one person, each and every person is obligated to say: The world was created for me, as one person can be the source of all humanity, and recognize the significance of his actions. The court says to the witnesses: And perhaps you will say: Why would we want this trouble? Perhaps it would be better not to testify at all. But be aware, as is it not already stated: “And he being a witness, whether he has seen or known, if he does not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity” (Leviticus 5:1)? It is a transgression not to testify when one can do so. And perhaps you will say: Why would we want to be responsible for the blood of this person? But be aware, as is it not already stated: “When the wicked perish, there is song” (Proverbs 11:10)?