R. Eliezer b. Azariah says: A Sanhedrin [court] that effects a capital punishment once in 70 years is branded a destructive tribunal. R. Tarfon and R. Akiva say: Were we members of the Sanhedrin, no person would ever be put to death. [Thereupon] Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel remarked: If so, they [these rabbis] would multiply shedders of blood in Israel.
Suggested Discussion Questions:
1. What does this text teach about Jewish views on the death penalty?
2. What does Rabban Gamaliel imply?
3. Which rabbi to you agree with?
Time Period: Rabbinic (Maccabees through the Talmud)