Sanhedrin 3aסנהדרין ג׳ א
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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3aג׳ א

שנאמר (ויקרא כד, כב) משפט אחד יהיה לכם ומה טעם אמרו דיני ממונות לא בעינן דרישה וחקירה כדי שלא תנעול דלת בפני לווין

The source for this is as it is stated: “You shall have one manner of law” (Leviticus 24:22), from which it is derived that all judges must judge in the same manner. And since with regard to cases of capital law it is stated: “And you shall inquire and investigate, and ask diligently” (Deuteronomy 13:15), the same should apply to cases of monetary law. And what is the reason that the Sages said that in cases of monetary law we do not require inquiry and interrogation of witnesses? The Gemara answers: The Sages established this exemption so as not to lock the door in the face of potential borrowers. If inquiry and interrogation of the witnesses would be required in order to have the court rule that the lender can collect payment of a loan, lenders would be deterred by the difficulty of proving the matter and might cease to lend money to the poor. For the same reason, the Sages also waived the need for expert judges in these cases.

אלא מעתה טעו לא ישלמו כל שכן אתה נועל דלת בפני לווין

The Gemara asks: If that is so, then if these laymen err they should not be liable to pay compensation to the party unfairly wronged by their judgment, just as expert judges are not liable. The Gemara responds: If this is the halakha, you are all the more so locking the door in the face of potential borrowers; wealthy people will not want to lend money, as they will fear that a court of laymen will judge the case incorrectly.

אי הכי תרתי קתני דיני ממונות בשלשה הדיוטות גזילות וחבלות בשלשה מומחין

With regard to Rabbi Abbahu’s method of explaining the mishna, the Gemara asks: If that is so, then instead of explaining the mishna employing the style: What are these, Rabbi Abbahu could more easily say that two matters are taught in the mishna, and explain it as follows: Cases of monetary law, meaning cases of admissions and loans, are adjudicated by three judges who could be non-ordained laymen [hedyotot], and cases of robbery and personal injury are adjudicated by three ordained, expert judges.

ועוד שלשה שלשה למה לי

And furthermore, according to Rabbi Abbahu’s explanation that the term: Cases of robbery and personal injury, simply clarifies the meaning of the term: Cases of monetary law, why do I need the repetitive statement that cases of monetary law are adjudicated by three judges and cases of robbery and injury are adjudicated by three judges? The repetition seems to indicate that these are two separate matters.

אלא אמר רבא תרתי קתני משום דרבי חנינא רב אחא בריה דרב איקא אמר מדאורייתא חד נמי כשר שנאמר (ויקרא יט, טו) בצדק תשפוט עמיתך אלא משום יושבי קרנות

Rather, Rava said: Two matters are in fact taught in the mishna, because of the statement of Rabbi Ḥanina that the Sages instituted leniencies with regard to cases of monetary law so as not to lock the door in the face of potential borrowers. Rav Aḥa, son of Rav Ika, said: By Torah law, the adjudication of one judge is also valid in cases of admissions and loans, as it is stated: “In righteousness shall you judge your neighbor” (Leviticus 19:15), in the singular. But by rabbinic law, three judges are required, due to the concern that a single judge may be one of those who sit idly on street corners, i.e., unlearned people who are not involved in business and are unlikely to judge the case correctly.

אטו בתלתא מי לא הוו יושבי קרנות אי אפשר דלית בהו חד דגמיר אלא מעתה טעו לא ישלמו כ"ש דנפישי יושבי קרנות

The Gemara asks: Is that to say that with three judges they will not be among those who sit idly on street corners? How is this concern addressed by increasing the number of judges? The Gemara answers: When there are three judges it is impossible, i.e., highly unlikely, that there is not among them one who is learned. The Gemara asks: If that is so, then if they err they should not be liable to pay compensation, since rabbinic law authorizes laymen to judge cases of this nature. The Gemara answers: If the judges will be exempt from paying compensation in the event that they err in their judgment, this lack of accountability will lead all the more so to having many of those who sit idly on street corners assume the role of judges.

מאי איכא בין רבא לרב אחא בריה דרב איקא איכא בינייהו דאמר שמואל שנים שדנו דיניהן דין אלא שנקראו בית דין חצוף לרבא לית ליה דשמואל לרב אחא בריה דרב איקא אית ליה דשמואל:

The Gemara asks: What are the implications of the difference between the opinion of Rava, who says that cases of monetary law may be adjudicated by three laymen due to the statement of Rabbi Ḥanina, and the opinion of Rav Aḥa, son of Rav Ika, who holds that according to the Torah one judge is sufficient? The Gemara answers: The difference between them is with regard to that which Shmuel says: If two people adjudicated a case, their judgment is a valid judgment, but they are called an impudent court. Rava is of the opinion that the halakha is not in accordance with the opinion of Shmuel, as he holds that three judges are required by Torah law. Rav Aḥa, son of Rav Ika, is of the opinion that the halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Shmuel, as he holds that fundamentally, even one judge may judge a case of monetary law.

נזק וחצי נזק וכו': נזק היינו חבלות משום דקא בעי למיתנא חצי נזק תני נמי נזק שלם

§ The mishna teaches that cases involving payment for damage and payment for half the damage are adjudicated by three judges. The Gemara challenges: Damage is the same as injury, since the term: Injury, includes various damages one causes another directly or by his property. The Gemara explains: Since he needed to teach the halakha with regard to payment of half the cost of the damage, he also taught the halakha with regard to payment of the full cost of the damage.

חצי נזק נמי היינו חבלות תנא ממונא וקתני קנסא

The Gemara challenges: Payment of half the damage is also the same as personal injury, so it did not need to be stated separately. The Gemara explains: There is a difference. The tanna taught the halakha with regard to a case of monetary matters, and he also taught the halakha with regard to a case of a fine, such as payment of half the damage in a case where an innocuous ox gored another animal. Consequently, payment of half the cost of the damage needed to be stated separately from payment for injury, and once he needed to teach the halakha with regard to payment for half the cost of the damage, he first mentioned general payments for damages.

הניחא למאן דאמר פלגא ניזקא קנסא אלא למאן דאמר פלגא ניזקא ממונא מאי איכא למימר

The Gemara asks: This works out well according to the one who says that the payment for half the cost of the damage is considered a fine, meaning that according to the standard halakhot of damages the owner of the goring ox should be exempt, and the Torah instituted a payment of half the cost of the damage as a penalty for not being exceedingly careful. But according to the one who says that the payment for half the cost of the damage is an actual monetary payment, meaning that according to the standard halakhot of damages the owner of the goring ox should be fully liable but the Torah exempted him from part of his liability due to the unusual nature of the damage, what can be said? Therefore, this explanation must be rejected.

אלא איידי דקא בעי למיתנא תשלומי כפל ותשלומי ארבעה וחמשה דממון

Rather, since the tanna needed to teach the halakha with regard to cases involving payment of double the principal and payment of four or five times the principal, which are cases of money