Sanhedrin 37a:13סנהדרין ל״ז א:יג
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37aל״ז א

ושלש שורות של תלמידי חכמים יושבין לפניהן כל אחד ואחד מכיר את מקומו הוצרכו לסמוך סומכין מן הראשונה אחד מן השניה בא לו לראשונה אחד מן השלישית בא לו לשניה בוררים להן עוד אחד מן הקהל ומושיבין אותו בשלישית ולא היה יושב במקומו של ראשון אלא יושב במקום הראוי לו:

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.

גמ׳ מנא הני מילי א"ר אחא בר חנינא דאמר קרא (שיר השירים ז, ג) שררך אגן הסהר אל יחסר המזג וגו'

GEMARA: The mishna teaches that the Sanhedrin would sit in a semicircle. The Gemara asks: From where are these matters derived? Rabbi Aḥa bar Ḥanina says: As the verse states: “Your navel is like a round goblet, let no mingled wine be wanting; your belly is like a heap of wheat set about with lilies” (Song of Songs 7:3).

שררך זו סנהדרין למה נקרא שמה שררך שהיא יושבת בטיבורו של עולם אגן שהיא מגינה על כל העולם כולו הסהר שהיא דומה לסהר

This verse is interpreted as referring to the members of the Sanhedrin, who sit in a semicircle. “Your navel”; this is an allusion to the Sanhedrin. And why is it called by way of allusion “your navel”? It is because it sits in the navel of the world, in the Temple. “Goblet [aggan]”; this teaches that the Sanhedrin protects [meginna] the entire world with its merit. “Round [hassahar]”; this teaches that the Sanhedrin is similar to the moon [sahar]. The court sits in a semicircle, like the shape of the moon.

אל יחסר המזג שאם הוצרך אחד מהם לצאת רואין אם יש עשרים ושלשה כנגד סנהדרי קטנה יוצא ואם לאו אינו יוצא:

“Let no mingled wine be wanting”; this compares the Sanhedrin to wine mixed with water, which typically involved mixing two parts water with one part wine. This teaches that if one member of the Great Sanhedrin needed to leave, they see: If there are still present in the Chamber of Hewn Stone twenty-three members, i.e., a third of the judges, corresponding to the number of a lesser Sanhedrin, he may leave, but if not, he may not leave.

(שיר השירים ז, ג) בטנך ערימת חטים מה ערימת חטים הכל נהנין ממנה אף סנהדרין הכל נהנין מטעמיהן: (שיר השירים ז, ג) סוגה בשושנים שאפילו כסוגה של שושנים לא יפרצו בהן פרצות

The phrase “your belly is like a heap of wheat” teaches that just as with regard to a heap of wheat, all derive benefit from it, so too, with regard to the Sanhedrin, all derive benefit from their explanations of the Torah. The phrase “set about with lilies” is said in praise of the Jewish people, as they do not breach even a fence made of lilies, since the Jewish people observe both Torah law as well as rabbinic ordinances and decrees.

והיינו דאמר ליה ההוא מינא לרב כהנא אמריתו נדה שרי לייחודי בהדי גברא אפשר אש בנעורת ואינה מהבהבת אמר ליה התורה העידה עלינו סוגה בשושנים שאפילו כסוגה בשושנים לא יפרצו בהן פרצות

And this is like an incident involving Rav Kahana, as a certain heretic said to Rav Kahana: You say that it is permitted for a menstruating woman to seclude herself with a man, i.e., her husband. Is it possible to set fire to chips of kindling and not have them blaze and burn? How can the couple be relied upon not to engage in sexual intercourse? Rav Kahana said to him: The Torah testifies concerning us that we are “set about with lilies,” as the Jewish people do not breach even a fence made of lilies.

ריש לקיש אמר מהכא (שיר השירים ו, ז) כפלח הרמון רקתך אפילו ריקנין שבך מלאין מצות כרמון ר' זירא אמר מהכא (בראשית כז, כז) וירח את ריח בגדיו אל תיקרי בגדיו אלא בוגדיו

Reish Lakish says that the source to rely on them not to transgress is from here: “Your temples [rakkatekh] are like a pomegranate split open” (Song of Songs 6:7), which teaches that even the empty people [reikanin] among you are as full of mitzvot as the pomegranate is full of seeds. Rabbi Zeira says that the source is from here: The verse states concerning the occasion when Isaac blessed Jacob: “And he smelled the smell of his garments, and blessed him, and said: See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field that the Lord has blessed” (Genesis 27:27). Do not read “his garments [begadav]”; rather, read: His traitors [bogedav], meaning that even traitors and sinners among the Jewish people have qualities “as the smell of a field that the Lord has blessed.”

הנהו בריוני דהוה בשיבבותיה דר' זירא דהוה מקרב להו כי היכי דניהדרו להו בתיובתא והוו קפדי רבנן כי נח נפשיה דר' זירא אמרי עד האידנא הוה חריכא קטין שקיה דהוה בעי עלן רחמי השתא מאן בעי עלן רחמי הרהרו בלבייהו ועבדו תשובה:

The Gemara relates: There were certain hooligans [biryonei] who were living in the neighborhood of Rabbi Zeira. He brought them close, i.e., treated them with friendship, in order to cause them to repent of their sins, but the other Sages disapproved of his actions. When Rabbi Zeira died, those hooligans said: Until now, there was the short one with singed legs, i.e., Rabbi Zeira, who would pray for compassion for us. Who will pray for compassion for us now? They thought about this in their hearts and repented. Ultimately, Rabbi Zeira’s actions were proven correct, as they repented.

שלש שורות כו': אמר אביי ש"מ כי ניידי כולהו ניידי ולימא להו עד האידנא הוה יתיבנא ברישא השתא מותביתו לי בדנבי אמר אביי דאמרי ליה הכי הוי זנב לאריות ואל תהי ראש לשועלים:

§ The mishna teaches that there are three rows of Torah scholars who sit before the court, and if one of the Torah scholars from the first row is elevated to a place on the court, the Torah scholar in the first position of the second row moves to the final position of the first row. Abaye says: Learn from the mishna that when they move, i.e., when the Torah scholars need to move as a result of one of them being elevated to the court, they all move. The Gemara inquires: But let the one being moved from the first position of the second row to the last position of the first row say to the court: Until now I was sitting at the head of the row, but now you are seating me at the tail, i.e., the end, of a row. Abaye says in explanation: That is not a valid claim, as the court can say this to him: Be a tail to the lions and do not be a head to the foxes (Avot 4:15), meaning that it is preferable to be the least among great people than the greatest among lesser people.

מתני׳ כיצד מאיימין את העדים על עידי נפשות היו מכניסין אותן ומאיימין עליהן שמא תאמרו מאומד ומשמועה עד מפי עד ומפי אדם נאמן שמא אי אתם יודעין שסופנו לבדוק אתכם בדרישה ובחקירה

MISHNA: 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.

הוו יודעין שלא כדיני ממונות דיני נפשות דיני ממונות אדם נותן ממון ומתכפר לו דיני נפשות דמו ודם זרעותיו תלויין בו עד סוף העולם

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.

שכן מצינו בקין שהרג את אחיו שנאמר (בראשית ד, י) דמי אחיך צועקים אינו אומר דם אחיך אלא דמי אחיך דמו ודם זרעותיו דבר אחר דמי אחיך שהיה דמו מושלך על העצים ועל האבנים

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.

לפיכך נברא אדם יחידי ללמדך שכל המאבד נפש אחת מישראל מעלה עליו הכתוב כאילו איבד עולם מלא וכל המקיים נפש אחת מישראל מעלה עליו הכתוב כאילו קיים עולם מלא

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.

ומפני שלום הבריות שלא יאמר אדם לחבירו אבא גדול מאביך ושלא יהו המינים אומרים הרבה רשויות בשמים

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.

ולהגיד גדולתו של הקב"ה שאדם טובע כמה מטבעות בחותם אחד כולן דומין זה לזה ומלך מלכי המלכים הקב"ה טבע כל אדם בחותמו של אדם הראשון ואין אחד מהן דומה לחבירו לפיכך כל אחד ואחד חייב לומר בשבילי נברא העולם

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.

ושמא תאמרו

The court says to the witnesses: And perhaps you will say: