ואין בית דין שקול מוסיפין עליהם עוד אחד הרי כאן עשרים ושלשה And since there is a principle that a court may not be composed of an even number of judges, as such a court may be unable to reach a decision, therefore they add another one to them, and there are twenty-three judges here.
וכמה יהא בעיר ותהא ראויה לסנהדרין מאה ועשרים רבי נחמיה אומר מאתים ושלשים כנגד שרי עשרות: And how many men must be in the city for it to be eligible for a lesser Sanhedrin? One hundred and twenty. Rabbi Neḥemya says: Two hundred and thirty, corresponding to the ministers of tens, as outlined by Moses and Yitro in the wilderness (Exodus, chapter 18). That is to say, each member of the Sanhedrin can be viewed as a judge with responsibility for ten residents. If there are not enough men in the city to enable this calculation, it would not be honorable to appoint a Sanhedrin, as their members will each preside over less than the minimum of ten residents.
גמ׳ אטו גזילות וחבלות לאו דיני ממונות נינהו אמר רבי אבהו מה הן קתני מה הן דיני ממונות גזילות וחבלות אבל הודאות והלואות לא GEMARA: The mishna states that cases of monetary law are adjudicated by three judges, and that cases of robbery and personal injury must also be adjudicated by three judges. The Gemara asks: Is that to say that cases of robbery and personal injury are not cases of monetary law? Obviously they are; why did the mishna delineate them separately? Rabbi Abbahu says: The mishna teaches this clause employing the style: What are these, meaning that the expression: Cases of monetary law, is a description of a category, followed by the specification. Accordingly, the mishna should be read as follows: What are these cases of monetary law that are adjudicated by three judges? Cases of robbery and personal injury. But cases of admissions, where one party admits that he owes another money, and cases of loans that were not repaid are not included in this halakha.
וצריכא דאי תנא דיני ממונות הוה אמינא דאפי' הודאות והלואות תנא גזילות וחבלות ואי תנא גזילות וחבלות ולא קתני דיני ממונות הוה אמינא הוא הדין דאפילו הודאות והלואות והאי דקתני גזילות וחבלות משום דעיקר ג' דכתיבי בגזילות וחבלות כתיבי And this specification is necessary, as had the tanna taught only that cases of monetary law are adjudicated by three judges, I would say that this applies even to cases of admissions and loans. Therefore, to avoid this misunderstanding, he taught: Cases of robbery and personal injury, in order to clarify that only they are included in the halakha. And had he taught only cases of robbery and personal injury and had not taught cases of monetary law, I would say that the same is true even with regard to admissions and loans, that they are adjudicated in the same manner. And I would understand this fact, that the mishna teaches specifically cases of robbery and personal injury, by saying that these are mere examples and that the mishna mentions them because in the primary cases in which the requirement for three judges is written in the Torah, it is written with regard to cases of robbery and personal injury.
גזילות דכתיב (שמות כב, ז) ונקרב בעל הבית אל האלהים חבלות מה לי חבל בגופו מה לי חבל בממונו תנא מה הן דיני ממונות גזילות וחבלות אבל הודאות והלואות לא The Gemara explains this assertion. With regard to cases of robbery, as it is written with regard to a bailee who accepted a deposit from another and then claims that it was stolen: “The owner of the house shall come near the court [ha’elohim], to see whether he has not put his hand upon his neighbor’s property” (Exodus 22:7). And with regard to cases of personal injury, they are adjudicated in the same manner as cases of robbery, because what difference is there to me if another injured one’s body and what difference is there to me if another injured one’s property? Therefore, in order to clarify that the halakha applies only to cases of robbery and injury, the tanna taught: What are these cases of monetary law? Cases of robbery and personal injury. But this halakha does not apply with regard to cases of admissions and loans.
ולמאי אילימא דלא בעינן שלשה והאמר רבי אבהו שנים שדנו דיני ממונות לדברי הכל אין דיניהם דין The Gemara asks: And with regard to which halakha are cases of admissions and loans unlike cases of robbery and injury? If we say that we do not need a court of three judges to adjudicate such cases, but doesn’t Rabbi Abbahu say: With regard to a court of two judges that adjudicated cases of monetary law of any type, which would include cases of admissions and loans, everyone agrees that their judgment is not a valid judgment, as a court with fewer than three judges is invalid?
אלא דלא בעינן מומחין The Gemara answers: This is not the difference between the categories; rather, the difference is that for cases of admissions and loans we do not require expert, ordained judges who have studied extensively and received permission to judge; any three laymen can serve as a court for these types of cases. The mishna singled out cases of robbery and personal injury in order to indicate that for those cases expert judges are necessary.
מאי קסבר אי קסבר עירוב פרשיות כתוב כאן ליבעי נמי מומחין ואי קסבר אין עירוב פרשיות כתוב כאן שלשה למה לי The Gemara clarifies: What does the tanna hold? If he holds that a merging of Torah portions is written here, then he should also require expert judges for cases of admissions and loans. The passage from which the halakha requiring three judges is derived (Exodus 22:6–8) discusses several different halakhot. According to the understanding that these portions should be considered as merged, they are interpreted to indicate equivalence between those halakhot. And if he holds that there is no merging of Torah portions written here, meaning that the halakhot are to be derived only from verses that discuss them directly, then why do I need three judges for admissions and loans? The requirement for three judges is derived from the repetition of the word elohim three times in the context of cases of robbery and personal injury.
לעולם קסבר עירוב פרשיות כתוב כאן ובדין הוא דליבעי נמי מומחין והאי דלא בעינן מומחין משום דרבי חנינא דאמר רבי חנינא דבר תורה אחד דיני ממונות ואחד דיני נפשות בדרישה ובחקירה The Gemara answers: Actually, the tanna holds that a merging of Torah portions is written here, and by right he should have required expert judges to judge cases of admissions and loans as well. And this fact, i.e., that we do not require expert judges for these cases, is due to the reasoning of Rabbi Ḥanina, as Rabbi Ḥanina says: By Torah law, both cases of monetary law and cases of capital law require inquiry and interrogation of witnesses in order to conclusively determine the time, place, and circumstance of the incident, with the purpose of finding any possible contradiction in the witnesses’ testimony.