מיתיבי וחכמים אומרים תבעו ממון בשלשה תבעו נפשות בעשרים ושלשה בשלמא (לרבא) תבעו ממון תחלה בשלשה תבעו נפשות תחלה אפילו ממון בעשרים ושלשה אלא לעולא קשיא The Gemara raises an objection from a baraita (Tosefta 1:2): And the Rabbis say: If he took her to court and claimed money, the case is to be adjudicated by three judges. But if he took her to court and claimed that she was liable to receive the death penalty, the case must be judged by twenty-three judges. Granted, according to Rava, the baraita can be read as referring to the terms of the beginning of the trial: If he claimed money at the outset, the case must be judged by three judges. Since the case concerns a financial claim, three are sufficient. But if he initially claimed she should be subject to the death penalty, even if the case becomes transformed into a financial case, it must be judged by twenty-three judges out of concern for their honor. But according to Ulla, who says the requirement for twenty-three judges is based on concern about rumors, it is difficult.
אמר רבא אני וארי שבחבורה תרגימנא ומנו רב חייא בר אבין הכא במאי עסקינן שהביא הבעל עדים שזינתה והביא האב עדים והזימום לעדי הבעל בא לגבות ממון מבעל בשלשה ובמקום נפשות בעשרים ושלשה Rava said: I and the lion of the group both explained this. The Gemara asks: And who is the lion of the group? It is Rav Ḥiyya bar Avin. He and Rava explained: With what are we dealing here? We are dealing with a case where the husband brought witnesses to testify that the wife committed adultery, and the wife’s father brought witnesses, and through their testimony that they were with the first witnesses in some other place at the time of the alleged transgression, they classified the husband’s witnesses as conspiring witnesses. In that case, if the father comes to collect monetary restitution from the husband for defamation, the case may be adjudicated by three judges. And in a case of capital punishment, such as the trial of the husband’s witnesses, the case must be judged by twenty-three judges. In this way, Ulla’s interpretation may be reconciled with the Tosefta.
אביי אמר דכולי עלמא חיישינן ללעז ומשום כבודן של ראשונים הכא במאי עסקינן כגון דאתרו בה סתם Abaye said: The dispute between Rabbi Meir and the Rabbis can be explained in another manner. According to everyone, one need be concerned for rumors, and also for the honor of the first judges. And with regard to the dispute between Rabbi Meir and the Rabbis, here we are dealing with a case where the witnesses to the adultery warned her that adultery is a capital transgression without specification as to the exact manner of death penalty she would receive.
והאי תנא הוא דתניא ושאר כל חייבי מיתות שבתורה אין ממיתין אותם אלא בעדה ועדים והתראה ועד שיודיעוהו שהוא חייב מיתה בבית דין And the matter is in accordance with this tanna, whose statement follows: As it is taught in a baraita: With regard to all the others, those who are liable for the various death penalties stated in the Torah other than the inciter to idol worship, the court executes them only when the following elements are present: The congregation, represented by the court; and witnesses; and forewarning just before the defendant commits the transgression. And the court does not execute him unless the witnesses had informed the defendant that he is liable to receive the death penalty from the court.
ר' יהודה אומר עד שיודיעוהו באיזה מיתה הוא נהרג Rabbi Yehuda says: The defendant is not executed unless the witnesses had informed the defendant by which form of the death penalty he is to be killed. According to the opinion of Abaye, the dispute in the mishna involves a case in which it was known that the witnesses forewarned the woman, but they did not specify the specific death penalty she would be liable to receive. In this case, in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda, Rabbi Meir holds there can be no death penalty, and therefore the case may be tried by three judges.
רב פפא אמר הכא באשה חבירה עסקינן וקמיפלגי בפלוגתא דרבי יוסי בר יהודה ורבנן דתניא ר' יוסי בר יהודה אומר חבר א"צ התראה לפי שלא ניתנה התראה אלא להבחין בין שוגג למזיד Rav Pappa said a similar explanation: Here we are dealing with a woman who is a ḥaveira, meaning that she is knowledgeable with regard to Torah matters. And they disagree with regard to the issue that is the subject of the dispute between Rabbi Yosei bar Yehuda and the Rabbis. As it is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Yosei bar Yehuda says: A ḥaver, as he is knowledgeable in Torah, does not need to be issued a forewarning by the witnesses, because forewarning is given only to distinguish between unintentional sin and intentional sin, and in the case of a ḥaver it is clear that he is aware of the halakha. The Rabbis maintain that even a ḥaver may not be punished unless he has been forewarned. Rav Pappa suggests that Rabbi Meir holds that a ḥaveira must be forewarned, and the mishna discussed a case where this forewarning did not take place, and consequently the trial of her alleged defamer could not lead to capital punishment.
רב אשי אמר כגון Rav Ashi says a different explanation: The dispute in the mishna concerns a case where