Sanhedrin 8aסנהדרין ח׳ א
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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8aח׳ א

פסילנא לך לדינא אמר ליה רב לרב כהנא פוק דייניה חזייה דהוה קא גאיס [ביה] א"ל אי צייתא צייתא ואי לא מפיקנא לך רב מאונך

I am disqualified to judge for you, because I may be partial to you due to what you’ve done for me. Rav said to Rav Kahana: Go out and judge the case. Rav Kahana saw that Rav’s host was acting haughtily due to his relationship with Rav, as he presumed that Rav Kahana was predisposed to favor him. Rav Kahana said to the host: If you are prepared to listen, then listen to me and follow my instructions. And if not, I will take Rav out of your ears. I will treat you harshly, and you will understand that your relationship with Rav will not help you at all.

(דברים א, יז) כקטן כגדול תשמעון אמר ריש לקיש שיהא חביב עליך דין של פרוטה כדין של מאה מנה למאי הלכתא אילימא לעיוני ביה ומיפסקיה פשיטא אלא לאקדומיה

§ The Gemara continues to interpret clauses from the verse cited above. “You shall hear the small and the great alike” (Deuteronomy 1:17). Reish Lakish says: This teaches that the judgment of one peruta should be as dear, i.e., important, to you as the judgment of one hundred maneh, i.e., ten thousand dinars. The Gemara asks: With regard to what halakha is this said? If we say it is with regard to the need to study it carefully and to decide the case justly, it is obvious that even cases relating to small sums must be judged thoroughly. Rather, Reish Lakish was speaking with regard to giving it precedence: The small claims case may not be deferred in favor of the larger claim merely because the disputed sum is smaller.

(דברים א, יז) לא תגורו מפני איש (א"ר חנן אל תכניס דבריך מפני איש) (דברים א, יז) כי המשפט לאלהים הוא א"ר חמא ברבי חנינא אמר הקב"ה לא דיין לרשעים שנוטלין מזה ממון ונותנים לזה שלא כדין אלא שמטריחין אותי להחזיר ממון לבעליו

The Gemara continues the interpretation of the verse: “You shall not be afraid before any man.” Rabbi Ḥanan says: Do not suppress your statement of opinion due to any person. The verse continues: “For the judgment is God’s.” Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says: The Holy One, Blessed be He, says: It is not enough for the wicked judges, that they take money from this person and they give it to that person unlawfully, but they even trouble Me to return the money to its rightful owners. As proper justice is ultimately in the hands of God, He takes responsibility to bring about the rectification of the errors of unfit judges.

(דברים א, יז) והדבר אשר יקשה מכם א"ר חנינא ואיתימא רבי יאשיה על דבר זה נענש משה שנאמר (במדבר כז, ה) ויקרב משה את משפטן לפני ה' מתקיף לה רב נחמן בר יצחק מי כתיב ואשמיעכם (דברים א, יז) ושמעתיו כתיב אי גמירנא גמירנא ואי לא אזלינא וגמירנא

The verse continues: “And the cause that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it.” Rabbi Ḥanina, and some say Rabbi Yoshiya, says: On account of this matter, which displayed a degree of presumptuousness, Moses was punished, as it is stated: “And Moses brought their cause before the Lord” (Numbers 27:5). In this instance, when Zelophehad’s daughters presented their case to Moses, he did not know the answer himself and was compelled to ask God. Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak objects to this critique of Moses: Is it written: “And I will tell you,” which would indicate that Moses assumed the authority for himself? No, it is written: “And I will hear it,” meaning: If I have learned the halakha, I have learned it. And if not, I will go and learn it. Consequently, there was no presumptuousness in Moses’ statement.

אלא כדתניא ראויה פרשת נחלות שתיכתב על ידי משה רבינו אלא שזכו בנות צלפחד ונכתב על ידן ראויה היתה פרשת מקושש שתיכתב ע"י משה רבינו אלא שנתחייב מקושש ונכתבה על ידו ללמדך שמגלגלין חובה ע"י חייב וזכות על ידי זכאי

Rather, the unusual manner in which the halakha of women’s inheritance (see Numbers, chapter 27) was revealed may be understood as it is taught in a baraita: It would have been fitting for the Torah portion about inheritances to have been written by attributing it to Moses, our teacher, i.e., to introduce the halakha with the standard formulation: And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying. But the daughters of Zelophehad achieved merit as a result of their initiative in pursuing a portion in Eretz Yisrael, and therefore the halakha was written by attributing it to them. Similarly, it would have been fitting for the Torah portion concerning the punishment of the wood gatherer (see Numbers 15:32–36) to have been written by attributing it to Moses, our teacher. But the wood gatherer was found guilty, and the halakha was written by attributing it to him. This serves to teach you that guilt is engendered by means of the guilty and merit by means of the innocent.

כתיב (דברים א, טז) ואצוה את שופטיכם בעת ההיא וכתיב (דברים א, יח) ואצוה אתכם בעת ההיא אמר רבי אלעזר אמר רבי שמלאי אזהרה לציבור שתהא אימת דיין עליהן ואזהרה לדיין שיסבול את הציבור עד כמה אמר רבי חנן ואיתימא רבי שבתאי (במדבר יא, יב) כאשר ישא האומן את היונק

The Gemara continues to interpret verses pertaining to judges and judgment. It is written: “And I charged your judges at that time” (Deuteronomy 1:16), and it is written soon thereafter: “And I commanded you at that time all the things that you should do” (Deuteronomy 1:18). There is an apparent contradiction between these verses, as one indicates God commanded the judges and the other indicates He commanded the people. Rabbi Elazar says that Rabbi Simlai says: Moses issued a warning to the community that the awe of the judge must be upon them, and Moses issued a warning to the judge that he must bear the burden of the community. Up to what degree must the judge bear this burden? Rabbi Ḥanan, and some say Rabbi Shabbtai, says: It is as Moses said, that he carried Israel “as a nursing father carries the sucking child” (Numbers 11:12).

כתיב (דברים לא, ז) כי אתה תבוא וכתיב (דברים לא, כג) כי אתה תביא אמר רבי יוחנן אמר לו משה ליהושע אתה והזקנים שבדור עמהם אמר לו הקב"ה טול מקל והך על קדקדם דבר אחד לדור ואין שני דברין לדור

Similarly, a distinction is drawn between two verses where Moses commanded Joshua concerning his impending leadership: It is written: “For you shall go with these people into the land” (Deuteronomy 31:7), and it is written: “For you shall bring the children of Israel into the land” (Deuteronomy 31:23). Rabbi Yoḥanan reconciled the difference between these two charges and said: Moses said to Joshua, in the first verse: You and the elders of the generation will enter into Eretz Yisrael together with the people, i.e., the elders will assist you in the leadership. Subsequently, in the second verse, the Holy One, Blessed be He, said to Joshua: You yourself must bring the people: Take a rod and strike the people upon their skulls. There must be one clear and authoritative leader for the generation, and there may not be two or more leaders for the generation.

תנא זימון בשלשה מאי זימון אילימא ברכת זימון והתניא זימון וברכת זימון בשלשה וכי תימא פרושי קמפרש מאי זימון ברכת זימון והתניא זימון בשלשה ברכת זימון בשלשה

§ The Gemara returns to the discussion of halakhic matters related to the mishna. The Sages taught in a baraita: A zimmun is to be issued with three people. The Gemara analyzes: What is meant by the term zimmun in the baraita? If we say it is referring to the invitation to recite Grace after Meals jointly, which is called the zimmun blessing, that is difficult. But isn’t it taught in a baraita: Zimmun and the zimmun blessing are to be issued with three people? As the baraita lists these halakhot separately, it indicates that the term zimmun is referring to a different matter. And if you would say that the baraita explains itself, by clarifying: What is meant by the term zimmun? It is the zimmun blessing, another source indicates even more clearly that these terms are referring to two different procedures. But isn’t it taught in a baraita: Zimmun is performed with three people, and the zimmun blessing is performed with three people? Evidently, therefore, zimmun is not referring to the zimmun blessing.

אלא מאי זימון אזמוני לדין כי הא דאמר רבא הני בי תלתא דייני דיתבי ואזיל שליחא דבי דינא ואמר מפומא דחד לא אמר כלום עד דאמר משמיה דכולהו הני מילי בלא יומא דדינא אבל ביומא דדינא לית לן בה:

Rather, what is zimmun? It is a summons to appear in court for judgment. The Gemara notes that this is similar to that which Rava said: With regard to this court of three judges who are sitting and waiting to adjudicate a case, and the agent of the court went and said to one of the litigants that he is summoned in the name of only one of the judges, the summons is insufficient. It is as if the agent did not say anything, unless he said it in the name of all of them. That is what is meant when it is taught that zimmun is issued by three. The Gemara clarifies: That statement applies only when it is not the day set for judgment. But on the day set for judgment, when it is understood that a summons in the name of only one judge actually indicates a summons from an assembled court, we have no problem with it. Someone who ignores such a summons is subject to the full censure of the court.

תשלומי כפל כו': שלח ליה רב נחמן בר רב חסדא לרב נחמן בר יעקב ילמדנו רבינו דיני קנסות בכמה מאי קמיבעיא ליה הא אנן תנן בשלשה אלא יחיד מומחה קמיבעיא ליה דאין דיני קנסות או לא

§ The mishna teaches: Cases involving payment of double the principal must be adjudicated by a court of three judges. Rav Naḥman bar Rav Ḥisda sent an inquiry to Rav Naḥman bar Ya’akov: Let our teacher instruct us: With regard to cases involving laws of fines, by how many judges must such cases be adjudicated? The Gemara asks: What is the dilemma he is raising? Didn’t we learn in the mishna that such cases are judged by three judges? Rather, Rav Naḥman bar Rav Ḥisda is raising a dilemma with regard to a single expert judge: May he adjudicate cases involving laws of fines by himself or not?

אמר ליה תניתוה תשלומי כפל ותשלומי ארבעה וחמשה בשלשה מאי שלשה אילימא שלשה הדיוטות האמר אבוה דאבוך משמיה דרב אפילו עשרה והן הדיוטות פסולין לדיני קנסות אלא מומחין וקאמר שלשה:

Rav Naḥman bar Ya’akov said to him: You already learned this in the mishna: Cases involving payment of double the principal and payment of four or five times the principal must be adjudicated by three judges. What is meant by three? If we say it means three non-ordained lay judges, didn’t your father’s father say in the name of Rav: Even if there are ten judges, if they are lay judges they are unfit for adjudicating cases involving laws of fines? Rather, the mishna is discussing expert judges, and it says that three are necessary. Therefore, a single expert judge may not adjudicate such cases.

וחכמים אומרים מוציא שם רע בעשרים ושלשה:

§ The mishna records a dispute concerning the number of judges required to judge the case of a defamer (see Deuteronomy 22:13–19), which generally involves a man defaming his wife by falsely accusing her of having committed adultery while she was betrothed. Rabbi Meir says the case must be tried by three judges, and the Rabbis say: An accused defamer is judged by a court of twenty-three judges. It is obvious that in a case in which the husband’s accusation has the potential to result in the woman’s execution, Rabbi Meir agrees that as this is a case of capital law, it must be tried by twenty-three judges. Therefore, the dispute in the mishna must involve a lesser claim, such as a case where there are no witnesses to the alleged adultery, but the husband claims she was not a virgin when they married and is suing for monetary compensation.

וכי יש בו דיני נפשות מאי הוי

The Gemara asks: But although the halakha of a defamer contains the potential to qualify as a case of capital law, what of it? As long as this particular case has no such potential, why do the Rabbis require twenty-three judges?

אמר עולא בחוששין ללעז קמיפלגי רבי מאיר סבר אין חוששין ללעז ורבנן סברי חוששין ללעז

Ulla said: Rabbi Meir and the Rabbis disagree with regard to the question of whether one needs to be concerned with the possibility of rumors, meaning that if the husband raises the claim that his wife committed adultery, although he has no witnesses and there is no potential for a capital conviction, should the court be concerned with the possibility that the publicity generated by the proceedings may lead to the emergence of witnesses, which would make it a capital case? Rabbi Meir holds that one need not be concerned with the possibility of rumors. And the Rabbis hold that one does need to be concerned with the possibility of rumors.

רבא אמר כולי עלמא ללעז לא חיישינן והכא בחוששין לכבודן של ראשונים קמיפלגי והב"ע כגון דאיכניף בי עשרין ותלתא למידן דיני נפשות ואיבדור ואמר להו דיינו לי מיהא דיני ממונות

Rava says: Everyone agrees that one need not be concerned with the possibility of rumors. And here they disagree about whether one need be concerned for the honor of the first judges. And with what are we dealing here? We are dealing, for example, with a case where a court of twenty-three judges was convened to judge a case of capital law, because the husband accused his wife of committing adultery. As there were no witnesses to the alleged adultery, the court of twenty-three judges was disbanded, and then the husband said to them: At least adjudicate for me the aspect of monetary law, to reduce the sum in her marriage contract to the amount for a non-virgin. At that point, it became strictly a case of monetary law, which would normally be tried by three judges. Nevertheless, the Rabbis hold that the court of twenty-three judges must be reconvened, out of concern for their honor, since they had already begun to hear the case. Rabbi Meir disagrees, as he does not view this as an affront to the honor of the judges.