5ה׳
1 א

הָיוּ בוֹדְקִין אוֹתָן בְּשֶׁבַע חֲקִירוֹת, בְּאֵיזֶה שָׁבוּעַ, בְּאֵיזוֹ שָׁנָה, בְּאֵיזֶה חֹדֶשׁ, בְּכַמָּה בַחֹדֶשׁ, בְּאֵיזֶה יוֹם, בְּאֵיזוֹ שָׁעָה, בְּאֵיזֶה מָקוֹם. רַבִּי יוֹסֵי אוֹמֵר בְּאֵיזֶה יוֹם, בְּאֵיזוֹ שָׁעָה, בְּאֵיזֶה מָקוֹם. מַכִּירִין אַתֶּם אוֹתוֹ. הִתְרֵיתֶם בּוֹ. הָעוֹבֵד עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה, אֶת מִי עָבַד, וּבַמֶּה עָבָד:

They used to examine witnesses with seven inquiries: In what week of years? In what year? In what month? On what date in the month? On what day? In what hour? In what place? Rabbi Yose says: [They only asked:] On what day? In what hour? In what place? [Moreover they asked:] Do you recognize him? Did you warn him? If one had committed idolatry [they asked the witnesses:] What did he worship and how did he worship it?

2 ב

כָּל הַמַּרְבֶּה בִבְדִיקוֹת, הֲרֵי זֶה מְשֻׁבָּח. מַעֲשֶׂה וּבָדַק בֶּן זַכַּאי בְּעֻקְצֵי תְאֵנִים. וּמַה בֵּין חֲקִירוֹת לִבְדִיקוֹת. חֲקִירוֹת, אֶחָד אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ, עֵדוּתָן בְּטֵלָה. בְּדִיקוֹת, אֶחָד אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ, וַאֲפִלּוּ שְׁנַיִם אוֹמְרִים אֵין אָנוּ יוֹדְעִין, עֵדוּתָן קַיָּמֶת. אֶחָד חֲקִירוֹת וְאֶחָד בְּדִיקוֹת, בִּזְמַן שֶׁמַּכְחִישִׁין זֶה אֶת זֶה, עֵדוּתָן בְּטֵלָה:

The more a judge examines the evidence the more he is deserving of praise. Ben Zakkai once checked with regards to the stalks of figs. What is the difference between inquiries and examinations? With regards to inquiries, if one [of the two witnesses] says “I do not know”, their evidence becomes invalid. But if to one of the examinations one answered, “I do not know”, or even if they both answered, “We do not know”, their evidence remains valid. Yet if they contradict each other, whether during the inquiries or examinations, their evidence becomes invalid.

3 ג

אֶחָד אוֹמֵר בִּשְׁנַיִם בַּחֹדֶשׁ וְאֶחָד אוֹמֵר בִּשְׁלֹשָׁה בַחֹדֶשׁ, עֵדוּתָן קַיֶּמֶת, שֶׁזֶּה יוֹדֵעַ בְּעִבּוּרוֹ שֶׁל חֹדֶשׁ וְזֶה אֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ בְּעִבּוּרוֹ שֶׁל חֹדֶשׁ. אֶחָד אוֹמֵר בִּשְׁלֹשָׁה וְאֶחָד אוֹמֵר בַּחֲמִשָּׁה, עֵדוּתָן בְּטֵלָה. אֶחָד אוֹמֵר בִּשְׁתֵּי שָׁעוֹת וְאֶחָד אוֹמֵר בְּשָׁלֹשׁ שָׁעוֹת, עֵדוּתָן קַיֶּמֶת. אֶחָד אוֹמֵר בְּשָׁלֹשׁ וְאֶחָד אוֹמֵר בְּחָמֵשׁ, עֵדוּתָן בְּטֵלָה. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר, קַיָּמֶת. אֶחָד אוֹמֵר בְּחָמֵשׁ וְאֶחָד אוֹמֵר בְּשֶׁבַע, עֵדוּתָן בְּטֵלָה, שֶׁבְּחָמֵשׁ חַמָּה בַמִּזְרָח וּבְשֶׁבַע חַמָּה בַמַּעֲרָב:

If one said, “On the second of the month”, and the other said, “On the third”, their evidence remains valid, since one may have known that the month was intercalated and the other may not have known that the month was intercalated. If one said, “On the third” and the other said, “On the fifth”, their evidence is invalid. If one said, “At the second hour”, and the other said, “At the third”, their evidence remains valid. If one said, “At the third hour”, and the other said, “At the fifth”, their evidence becomes invalid. Rabbi Judah says: “It remains valid. [But] if one said, ‘At the fifth hour’ and one said ‘At the seventh’, their evidence becomes invalid, since at the fifth hour the sun is in the east and at the seventh it is in the west.

4 ד

וְאַחַר כָּךְ מַכְנִיסִין אֶת הַשֵּׁנִי וּבוֹדְקִין אוֹתוֹ. אִם נִמְצְאוּ דִבְרֵיהֶם מְכֻוָּנִין, פּוֹתְחִין בִּזְכוּת. אָמַר אֶחָד מִן הָעֵדִים יֶשׁ לִי לְלַמֵּד עָלָיו זְכוּת, אוֹ אֶחָד מִן הַתַּלְמִידִים יֶשׁ לִי לְלַמֵּד עָלָיו חוֹבָה, מְשַׁתְּקִין אוֹתוֹ. אָמַר אֶחָד מִן הַתַּלְמִידִים יֶשׁ לִי לְלַמֵּד עָלָיו זְכוּת, מַעֲלִין אוֹתוֹ וּמוֹשִׁיבִין אוֹתוֹ בֵינֵיהֶן, וְלֹא הָיָה יוֹרֵד מִשָּׁם כָּל הַיּוֹם כֻּלּוֹ. אִם יֵשׁ מַמָּשׁ בִּדְבָרָיו, שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ. וַאֲפִלּוּ הוּא אוֹמֵר יֶשׁ לִי לְלַמֵּד עַל עַצְמִי זְכוּת, שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ, וּבִלְבַד שֶׁיֵּשׁ מַמָּשׁ בִּדְבָרָיו:

They afterward bring in the second witness and examine him. If their words were found to agree together they begin [to examine the evidence] in favor of acquittal. If one of the witnesses said, “I have something to argue in favor of his acquittal”, or if one of the disciples said, “I have something to argue in favor of his conviction”, they silence him. If one of the disciples said, “I have something to argue in favor of his acquittal”, they bring him up and set him among them and he does not come down from there all day. If there is anything of substance in his words they listen to him. Even if the accused said, “I have something to argue in favor of my acquittal”, they listen to him, provided that there is substance to his words.

5 ה

אִם מָצְאוּ לוֹ זְכוּת, פְּטָרוּהוּ. וְאִם לָאו, מַעֲבִירִין דִּינוֹ לְמָחָר. הָיוּ מִזְדַּוְּגִין זוּגוֹת זוּגוֹת, וּמְמַעֲטִין בְּמַאֲכָל, וְלֹא הָיוּ שׁוֹתִין יַיִן כָּל הַיּוֹם, וְנוֹשְׂאִין וְנוֹתְנִין כָּל הַלַּיְלָה, וְלַמָּחֳרָת מַשְׁכִּימִין וּבָאִין לְבֵית דִּין. הַמְזַכֶּה אוֹמֵר אֲנִי מְזַכֶּה וּמְזַכֶּה אֲנִי בִמְקוֹמִי, וְהַמְחַיֵּב אוֹמֵר אֲנִי מְחַיֵּב וּמְחַיֵּב אֲנִי בִמְקוֹמִי. הַמְלַמֵּד חוֹבָה מְלַמֵּד זְכוּת, אֲבָל הַמְלַמֵּד זְכוּת אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לַחֲזֹר וּלְלַמֵּד חוֹבָה. טָעוּ בְדָּבָר, שְׁנֵי סוֹפְרֵי הַדַּיָּנִין מַזְכִּירִין אוֹתָן. אִם מָצְאוּ לוֹ זְכוּת, פְּטָרוּהוּ. וְאִם לָאו, עוֹמְדִים לְמִנְיָן. שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר מְזַכִּין וְאַחַד עָשָׂר מְחַיְּבִין, זַכַּאי. שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר מְחַיְּבִין וְאַחַד עָשָׂר מְזַכִּין, וַאֲפִלּוּ אַחַד עָשָׂר מְזַכִּין וְאַחַד עָשָׂר מְחַיְּבִין וְאֶחָד אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ, וַאֲפִלּוּ עֶשְׂרִים וּשְׁנַיִם מְזַכִּין אוֹ מְחַיְּבִין וְאֶחָד אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ, יוֹסִיפוּ הַדַּיָּנִין. עַד כַּמָּה מוֹסִיפִין, שְׁנַיִם שְׁנַיִם עַד שִׁבְעִים וְאֶחָד. שְׁלֹשִׁים וְשִׁשָּׁה מְזַכִּין וּשְׁלֹשִׁים וַחֲמִשָּׁה מְחַיְּבִין, זַכַּאי. שְׁלֹשִׁים וְשִׁשָּׁה מְחַיְּבִין וּשְׁלֹשִׁים וַחֲמִשָּׁה מְזַכִּין, דָּנִין אֵלּוּ כְּנֶגֶד אֵלּוּ עַד שֶׁיִּרְאֶה אֶחָד מִן הַמְחַיְּבִין דִּבְרֵי הַמְזַכִּין:

If they find him not guilty, he is discharged, if not, it [the trial] is adjourned till the following day. During this time they [the judges] go about in pairs, practice moderation in food, drink no wine the whole day, and discuss the case throughout the night. Early next morning they reassemble in court. He who is in favor of acquittal states, ‘I declare him innocent and I stand by my opinion.’ While he who is in favor of condemnation says: ‘I declare him guilty and stand by my opinion.’ One who [previously] argued for conviction may now argue for acquittal, but one who [previously] argued for acquittal may not now argue for conviction. If they have made any mistake, the two judges’ scribes are to remind them. If they find him not guilty, they discharge him. If not, they take a vote. If twelve acquit and eleven condemn, he is acquitted. If twelve condemn and eleven acquit, or if eleven condemn and eleven acquit and one says, ‘I do not know,’ or even if twenty-two acquit or condemn and a single one says, ‘I do not know,’ they add to the judges. Up to what number is the court increased? By twos up to the limit of seventy-one. If thirty-six acquit and thirty-five condemn, he is acquitted. But if thirty-six condemn and thirty-five acquit, the two sides debate the case together until one of those who condemn agrees with the view of those who are for acquittal.