(5) How did they admonish witnesses in capital cases? They brought them in and admonished them, [saying], “Perhaps you will say something that is only a supposition or hearsay or secondhand, or even from a trustworthy man. Or perhaps you do not know that we shall check you with examination and inquiry? Know, moreover, that capital cases are not like non-capital cases: in non-capital cases a man may pay money and so make atonement, but in capital cases the witness is answerable for the blood of him [that is wrongfully condemned] and the blood of his descendants [that should have been born to him] to the end of the world.” For so have we found it with Cain that murdered his brother, for it says, “The bloods of your brother cry out” (Gen. 4:10). It doesn’t say, “The blood of your brother,” but rather “The bloods of your brother” meaning his blood and the blood of his descendants. Another saying is, “The bloods of your brother” that his blood was cast over trees and stones.
Therefore but a single person was created in the world, to teach that if any person has caused a single life to perish from Israel, it is deemed by Scripture as if that person had caused a whole world to perish. And anyone who saves a single soul from Israel, it is deemed by Scripture as if that person had saved a whole world.
Also, for the sake of peace among humankind, that one should not say to another, “My ancestors were greater than your ancestors.” Again, [but a single person was created] against the heretics so they should not say, “There are many ruling powers in heaven.”
Also, to proclaim the greatness of the Holy Blessed One; for humans stamp many coins with one seal and they are all like one another; but the King of kings, the Holy Blessed One, has stamped every human with the seal of the first person, yet not one of them are like another. Therefore everyone must say, “For my sake was the world created.”
And if perhaps you [witnesses] would say, “Why should we be involved with this trouble,” was it not said, “He, being a witness, whether he has seen or known, [if he does not speak it, then he shall bear his iniquity] (Lev. 5:1). And if perhaps you [witnesses] would say, “Why should we be guilty of the blood of this man?" was it not said, “When the wicked perish there is rejoicing” (Proverbs 11:10).]