Sanhedrin 41aסנהדרין מ״א א
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41aמ״א א

תנהו ענין למלקות

apply it to the matter of lashes, as forewarning is required for the court to be able to administer lashes.

דבי חזקיה תנא (שמות כא, יד) וכי יזיד איש על רעהו להרגו בערמה שהתרו בו ועדיין הוא מזיד

The school of Ḥizkiyya taught a source for the requirement of forewarning from the verse concerning the court-imposed capital punishment meted out to a murderer, as it is states: “But if a man come intentionally upon his neighbor to slay him with guile” (Exodus 21:14). How do the witnesses know that he acted intentionally? It must be that they forewarned him, and still he acts intentionally.

דבי רבי ישמעאל תנא (במדבר טו, לג) המוצאים אותו מקושש עצים שהתרו בו ועדיין הוא מקושש

The school of Rabbi Yishmael taught a source for the requirement to forewarn transgressors from the verse concerning the court-imposed capital punishment meted out to the wood-gatherer on Shabbat in the wilderness, as it is stated: “And they that found him gathering sticks brought him” (Numbers 15:33). By writing “gathering” in the present tense, the verse indicates that they forewarned him, but he is still gathering.

דבי רבי תנא (דברים כב, כד) על דבר אשר ענה על עסקי דיבור

The school of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi taught a source for the requirement to forewarn a transgressor from the verse concerning the court-imposed capital punishment meted out to one who commits adultery with a betrothed young woman, as it is stated: “For the matter [devar] that he has humbled his neighbor’s wife” (Deuteronomy 22:24). They make a verbal analogy: For matters involving speech [dibbur], the punishment is given only if the witnesses issued a verbal forewarning.

וצריכא דאי כתב רחמנא אחותו הוה אמינא חייבי מלקות אין חייבי מיתות לא כתב רחמנא כי יזיד

The Gemara comments: And it is necessary to have all of these sources, since if the Merciful One would write the requirement of forewarning in the context of “his sister” (Leviticus 20:17) alone, I would say: Those liable to receive lashes, yes, they do require forewarning, but those liable to receive court-imposed capital punishments, whose transgressions are severe, do not require forewarning. Therefore the Merciful One writes, with regard to a murderer: “If a man come intentionally.”

ואי כתב רחמנא וכי יזיד הוה אמינא הני מילי סייף דקיל אבל סקילה דחמורה אימא לא צריכא

And if the Merciful One would write only: “If a man come intentionally,” I would say that this statement applies only when the penalty is death by the sword, as that is a lenient form of court-imposed capital punishment. But with regard to stoning, which is a severe form of court-imposed capital punishment, one could say that it does not require forewarning. Therefore, it is necessary to state the requirement of forewarning with regard to one who desecrates Shabbat.

ותרתי בנסקלין למה לי לר"ש לאתויי נשרפין

The Gemara asks: And why do I need two verses that state the requirement for forewarning in the context of those liable to be stoned? Both the Shabbat violator and one who commits adultery with a betrothed young woman are punished with stoning. The Gemara answers: According to the opinion of Rabbi Shimon that death by burning is more severe than death by stoning, the additional verse serves to add the halakha that a forewarning must be issued to those liable to be burned for their transgressions, by way of the application of the principle: If this halakha is not needed for the matter in which it is written, apply it to a different matter.

לרבנן מילתא דאתיא בק"ו טרח וכתב לה קרא ולכתוב רחמנא בנסקלין וליתו הנך וליגמרו מיניה הכא נמי מילתא דאתיא בקל וחומר טרח וכתב לה קרא:

According to the opinion of the Rabbis that death by stoning is more severe than death by burning, one can say that even with a matter that can be derived through an a fortiori inference, the verse nevertheless takes the trouble and writes it explicitly. The Gemara challenges: But let the Merciful One write this halakha only in the context of those liable to be stoned, and let these others be derived from it, as stoning is the most severe punishment. The Gemara answers: Here too, one can say that even with a matter that can be derived through an a fortiori inference, the verse nevertheless takes the trouble and writes it explicitly.

התיר עצמו למיתה: מנא לן אמר רבא ואיתימא חזקיה אמר קרא (דברים יז, ו) יומת המת עד שיתיר עצמו למיתה

§ The baraita teaches that one of the questions the court asks of the witnesses is: Did he release himself to death, i.e., did he acknowledge that he is aware that the court imposes capital punishment for murder? The Gemara asks: From where do we derive that he must release himself to death? Rava said, and some say it was Ḥizkiyya who said, that the verse states: “By the mouth of two witnesses or three witnesses shall the dead be put to death” (Deuteronomy 17:6). By referring to the transgressor as dead even before he is executed, the verse indicates that he is not executed until he releases himself to death, by stating that he is aware that he will be executed for his transgression.

אמר רב חנן עדי נערה המאורסה שהוזמו אין נהרגין מתוך שיכולים לומר לאוסרה על בעלה באנו

Rav Ḥanan says: Witnesses who testify to the adultery of a betrothed young woman who were rendered conspiring witnesses are not killed. Although conspiring witnesses are generally punished with the same punishment they attempted to impose on the purported transgressor (see Deuteronomy 19:19), this is an exception. This is because they can say: We did not come to testify in order to have her be executed; rather, we came to forbid her to her husband, as a betrothed or married woman who willingly engages in adulterous sexual intercourse is forbidden to her husband.

והא אתרו בה דלא אתרו בה ואי לא אתרו בה היכי מיקטלא

The Gemara challenges this ruling: But they must testify that they forewarned her before her transgression, and a forewarning includes apprising the transgressor of the punishment he or she will receive. How can the witnesses claim that they did not intend this result? The Gemara answers: Rav Ḥanan stated his halakha with regard to a case where they claim they did not forewarn her. The Gemara asks: But if they claim they did not forewarn her, how can she be killed? If she would not have been killed, there is no novelty to Rav Ḥanan’s statement that the witnesses are not killed.

באשה חבירה ואליבא דרבי יוסי בר' יהודה דתניא רבי יוסי ברבי יהודה אומר חבר אין צריך התראה לפי שלא נתנה התראה אלא להבחין בין שוגג למזיד

The Gemara explains: Rav Ḥanan stated his halakha with regard to a woman who is a ḥavera, knowledgeable in Torah, and it is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda. As it is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, says: A ḥaver does not require forewarning in order to be liable for a transgression, because forewarning is given only in order to distinguish between an intentional and an unintentional act.

וכיון דאינהו לא מיקטלי איהי היכי מיקטלא הויא לה עדות שאי אתה יכול להזימה וכל עדות שאי אתה יכול להזימה לא שמה עדות

The Gemara asks further: But since the witnesses are not killed for their conspiratory testimony in the case of a ḥavera, how can she be killed for her action? Their testimony is testimony that you cannot render conspiratory testimony, i.e., the witnesses cannot be punished for their testimony, and any testimony that you cannot potentially render conspiratory testimony is not categorized as testimony.

הכי נמי קאמר מתוך שאין נהרגין שיכולין לומר לאוסרה על בעלה באנו אף היא אינה נהרגת דהויא לה עדות שאי אתה יכול להזימה

The Gemara answers: That is also what he is saying: Since the witnesses are not killed, as they can say: We came to forbid her to her husband, she is also not killed, since their testimony is testimony that you cannot potentially render conspiratory testimony.

אלא באשה חבירה דקיימא לן דמיקטלא אליבא דר' יוסי בר' יהודה היכי משכחת לה כשזינתה וחזרה וזינתה

The Gemara challenges: But with regard to a woman who is a ḥavera, since we maintain that she can be killed without being forewarned, how can you find this occurring according to the opinion of Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda? As there was no forewarning, the witnesses can claim that their intention was to forbid her to her husband. The Gemara answers: It is found in a case where they testify that she committed adultery and then they testified that she again committed adultery. The witnesses cannot claim that their testimony was meant to forbid her to her husband, as she was already forbidden to him due to the first time she committed adultery.

והא יכולין לומר לאוסרה על בועלה שני באנו שזינתה מבועל ראשון אי נמי שזינתה מקרוביה

The Gemara questions this: But the witnesses can say: We come to forbid her to her second paramour. The halakha is that in addition to becoming forbidden to her husband, an adulterous woman becomes forbidden to her paramour. The witnesses can claim that this was their intent in testifying. The Gemara answers: It is found in a case where they testify that she again committed adultery with the first paramour, i.e., the second act was with the same paramour, to whom she was already forbidden. Alternatively, it is found in a case where they testify that she committed adultery with one of her relatives, to whom she is forbidden regardless.

מאי שנא נערה מאורסה דנקט אפילו נשואה נמי אין אלא אפילו האי דלא יתבא תותיה יכולין לומר לאוסרה על בעלה באנו

The Gemara clarifies: What is different that Rav Ḥanan chose to state his halakha with regard to a betrothed young woman? His halakha could be stated with regard to a married woman as well. The Gemara answers: Yes, that is correct. But the novelty of this element of his ruling is that even with regard to this betrothed young woman, who does not live under her husband, the witnesses can say: We came to forbid her to her husband.

אמר רב חסדא אחד אומר בסייף הרגו ואחד אומר בארירן הרגו אין זה נכון אחד אומר כליו שחורין ואחד אומר כליו לבנים הרי זה נכון

§ Rav Ḥisda says: In a case where one of the witnesses says: The murderer killed the victim with a sword, and one of the witnesses says: The murderer killed the victim with an ariran, another weapon, this is not congruent testimony, as this is a clear contradiction. But if one of the witnesses says: The murderer’s garments were black, and one of the witnesses says: The murderer’s garments were white, this is congruent testimony, as this is not a meaningful discrepancy.

מיתיבי נכון שיהא נכון אחד אומר בסייף הרגו ואחד אומר בארירן הרגו אחד אומר כליו שחורין ואחד אומר כליו לבנים אין זה נכון תרגמה רב חסדא בסודר שחנקו בו דהיינו סייף וארירן

The Gemara raises an objection from a baraita: The verse states with regard to testimony: “And behold it be truth, the matter certain” (Deuteronomy 17:4). The meaning of “certain” is that the testimony of the two witnesses must be congruent. If one witness says: The murderer killed the victim with a sword, and one says: The murderer killed the victim with an ariran, or if one of the witnesses says: The murderer’s garments were black, and one of the witnesses says: The murderer’s garments were white, this is not congruent testimony. This contradicts the ruling of Rav Ḥisda. The Gemara answers: Rav Ḥisda interpreted that baraita as speaking about a scarf with which the murderer strangled the victim, as this is the same as a contradiction with regard to a sword and an ariran. As Rav Ḥisda himself ruled, a contradiction concerning details of the murder weapon renders the testimony incongruent.

ת"ש אחד אומר סנדליו שחורין ואחד אומר סנדליו לבנים אין זה נכון התם נמי כגון שבעט בו בסנדלו והרגו

The Gemara suggests: Come and hear proof from a baraita: If one of the witnesses says: The sandals of the murderer were black, and one of the witnesses says: The sandals of the murderer were white, this is not congruent testimony. This contradicts the ruling of Rav Ḥisda. The Gemara answers: Rav Ḥisda can explain that there also, it is speaking of a case where the murderer kicked the victim with his sandal and killed him.

ת"ש מעשה ובדק בן זכאי בעוקצי תאנה אמר רמי בר חמא כגון שעקץ תאנה בשבת דעלה קא מיקטיל

The Gemara suggests: Come and hear proof from the mishna: An incident occurred, and ben Zakkai examined the witnesses about the stems of figs, indicating that even a contradiction concerning a minor point such as this would render the testimony incongruent. The Gemara answers: Rami bar Ḥama said: It is speaking there of a case where he picked a fig on Shabbat, as he is killed for that act itself. Picking a fruit from its source of growth is an example of the forbidden labor of reaping, so the testimony about the characteristics of the fig is significant.

והא תניא אמרו לו תחת תאנה הרגו אלא אמר רמי בר חמא כגון ששפדו בייחור של תאנה

The Gemara asks: But isn’t it taught in a baraita: When ben Zakkai asked the witnesses the question about the stems of figs, they said to him: The murderer killed the victim beneath a fig tree, indicating that it is speaking of a murder case? Rather, Rami bar Ḥama said: The mishna is speaking of a case where the murderer stabbed the victim with a branch of a fig tree. As Rav Ḥisda himself ruled, a contradiction concerning details of the murder weapon renders the testimony incongruent.

ת"ש אמר להן תאנה זו עוקציה דקין עוקציה גסין תאנים שחורות תאנים לבנות אלא אמר רב יוסף מבן זכאי לותיב איניש שאני בן זכאי דבדיקות כחקירות משוי ליה

Come and hear a proof, as in that same examination ben Zakkai said to the witnesses: This fig tree about which you are testifying, were its stems thin or were its stems thick? Were the figs on it black or were the figs white? These questions concern the fruit itself, not the characteristics of a branch. Rather, Rav Yosef says: Should a person raise a difficulty from the conduct of ben Zakkai? Ben Zakkai is different, as he equated examinations with interrogations. According to ben Zakkai’s opinion, a contradiction in the witnesses’ answers to an examination is as significant as a contradiction in the witnesses’ answers to an interrogation, and it also renders the testimony incongruent.

מאן בן זכאי אילימא רבי יוחנן בן זכאי מי הוה בסנהדרי והתניא כל שנותיו של רבי יוחנן בן זכאי מאה ועשרים שנה ארבעים שנה עסק בפרקמטיא מ' שנה למד ארבעים שנה לימד

§ The Gemara clarifies: Who is the ben Zakkai mentioned in the mishna? If we say it is Rabbi Yoḥanan ben Zakkai, was he a member in a Sanhedrin that judged capital cases? But isn’t it taught in a baraita: All the years of Rabbi Yoḥanan ben Zakkai were 120 years. For forty of those years he dealt in business [biferakmatya], for forty of those years he studied, and for forty of those years he taught and guided the Jewish people.

ותניא ארבעים שנה קודם חורבן הבית גלתה סנהדרי וישבה לה בחנות ואמר ר' יצחק בר אבודימי לומר שלא דנו דיני קנסות דיני קנסות ס"ד אלא שלא דנו דיני נפשות

The Gemara continues its question: And it is taught in a baraita: Forty years before the destruction of the Second Temple, the Sanhedrin was exiled from the Chamber of Hewn Stone and sat in the store near the Temple Mount. And Rabbi Yitzḥak bar Avudimi says: The intent of the statement concerning the relocation of the Sanhedrin is to say that they no longer judged laws of fines. The Gemara asks: Does it enter your mind to say that they no longer judged laws of fines? It is known that the Sanhedrin would judge laws of fines for hundreds of years after the destruction of the Temple. Rather, he must have said that the Sanhedrin no longer judged cases of capital law. Once the Sanhedrin left the Chamber of Hewn Stone, the court’s power to judge capital cases was nullified.

ותנן משחרב בית המקדש התקין רבן יוחנן בן זכאי

The Gemara concludes its question: And since as we learned in a mishna (Sukka 41a): Once the Temple was destroyed, Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai instituted an ordinance that the mitzva of lulav should be performed even in the rest of the country for seven days in commemoration of the Temple, it is clear that he was in a position of prominence after the destruction of the Temple. Since the Sanhedrin ceased judging cases of capital law forty years before the destruction of the Temple, and Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai was in a position of prominence for only forty years, he could not have been a judge in a capital case.

אלא בן זכאי דעלמא הכי נמי מסתברא דאי ס"ד רבן יוחנן בן זכאי קרי ליה ר' בן זכאי

The Gemara suggests: Rather, one can say that it was merely a different person named ben Zakkai, not the well-known Sage of that name. The Gemara comments: So too, it is reasonable to say this, as if it enters your mind that this was Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai, would Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi call him ben Zakkai, without any title? He must have been referring to someone else.

והתניא מעשה ובדק רבן יוחנן בן זכאי בעוקצי תאנים אלא תלמיד היושב לפני רבו הוה ואמר מילתא ומסתבר להו טעמיה

The Gemara asks: But isn’t it taught in a baraita explicitly: An incident occurred, and Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai examined the witnesses with regard to the stems of figs? This proves that the Sage in question is Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai. Rather, one can say that at that time, when this incident occurred, Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai was a student sitting before his teacher, and in those years the Sanhedrin was in its place and judged cases of capital law. And he said a matter in the course of examining the witnesses, and his reasoning was logical to them, and the judges asked his question,