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Kesuvos, 105


The Gemara says that there were 394 Batei Dinim in Yerushalayim and an equal number of Batei Keneset, Batei Midrash and Batei Sofrim. What is the significance of the number 394?
(a) RAV YAKOV EMDEN (in Hagahos Ya'avetz) explains that this number hints to the fact that the Batei Dinim (as well as the Batei Midrash and Batei Sofrim) all did their work entirely l'Shem Shamayim, as is indicated by the number 394, the Gematria of which is equal to "d'Shamayim."

(b) The verse says, "Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof" (Devarim 16:20), implying that the Dayanim should pursue two measures of "Tzedek" (righteousness) when they adjudicate. One example of this dual measure of righteousness is provided by the Gemara in Sanhedrin (32b), which learns from this verse that the Dayanim must carefully weigh whether the case calls for Din (a just verdict) or Pesharah (a compromise). The Gematria of "Tzedek" and "v'Tzedek" equals 394 (with the addition of the letter "Vav," to represent that there are two separate types of Tzedek; alternatively "Tzedek" + "Tzedek" equals 394 when the number of letters in the two words is added to the total).

This interpretation might answer an apparent contradiction between Midrashim, which the MAHARSHA points out. The verse in Yeshayah (1:21) describes Yerushalayim before the Churban and says, "Melei'asi Mishpat, Tzedek Yalin Bah" -- "[a city] full of justice, righteous judgement dwelled (literally, slept) within her." RASHI there quotes the Pesikta (see also Eicha Raba 2:4) which says that there were *481* Batei Dinim in Yerushalayim, as represented by the Gematria of the word, "Melei'asi." This is also the number given by the Yerushalmi here.

The Yerushalmi is apparently attempting to emphasize the righteousness of the Batei Dinim in Yerushalayim by saying how *full* ("Melei'asi") the city was with justice. The Midrash Tanchuma (Shoftim 8) explains that this verse is praising the judges of Yerushalayim for not deciding the verdict right away, but rather letting the verdict "rest" overnight, as it were, all the time pondering the various arguments and counter-arguments, so that the next morning they would be able to address the issues again and reconsider their ruling. This virtuous practice made Yerushalayim "full of justice," because even during the times when the Batei Dinim were not convening (such as after midday), the Dayanim were still contemplating the judgements in order to arrive at a truly proper and righteous verdict. This is the meaning of "Tzedek Yalin Bah" -- "righteous judgement slept within her."

The same Midrash explains that this trait of righteous judgement is alluded to in the verse "Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof," which means that the Dayanim should first come to a decision, and then they should let it rest until the morning and reconsider their decision (i.e. a second "Tzedek"), in order to come to the most righteous decision. Accordingly, our Gemara, which alludes to the Gematria of "Tzedek Tzedek," might be emphasizing the same trait of the Dayanim of Yerushalayim as the Yerushalmi emphasizes, but with a different Gematria. Instead of emphasizing the specific act of letting the verdict "sleep" overnight, our Gemara emphasizes that there were two elements of Tzedek that were achieved through the lengthy contemplation that the Dayanim gave to each case.

In addition, it is reasonable to suggest that the members of the courts of Admon and Chanan were members of the Anshei Kneses ha'Gedolah, or they lived shortly after the Anshei Kneses ha'Gedolah. As we will explain, Admon and Chanan, the Dayanei Gezeiros of Yerushalayim, were living embodiments of the teaching that the Mishnah in Avos (1:1) records in the name of the Anshei Kneses ha'Gedolah: "Hevu Mesunim ba'Din, ha'Amidu Talmidim Harbeh, v'Asu Seyag la'Torah" -- "be patient when judging," "raise many students," and "make a protective fence for the Torah."

The Anshei Kneses ha'Gedolah realized the importance of "Halanas ha'Din," giving time to contemplate each decision, and that is why they taught "be patient when judging." This attribute of patience in judging is also what the Beraisa here is attempting to teach about Admon and Chanan's courts, to show the righteousness of the judgements in Yerushalayim. By saying that there were corresponding numbers of Batei Keneses, Batei Midrash and Batei Sofrim in Yerushalayim, the Gemara is saying that since they were so patient when judging, everyone appreciated the truth and justice of their decisions and they flocked to study under those Dayanim. Consequently, they merited to "raise many students." This is what the Mishnah in Avos means; be patient in judgement, and *as a result*, you will be able to raise many students. Then, once you have merited to have many students and followers who are willing and eager to follow your decisions, you can make Seyagim -- Gezeiros -- which will be accepted and become part of the Halachic code (see Chulin 6a and Rashi DH v'Kiblu Minaihu). That is why Admon and Chanan -- the Dayanei Gezeiros -- were successful in making Gezeiros to protect the Torah. (M. Kornfeld)

QUESTION: The Gemara says that the Dayanei Gezeiros, the judges in Yerushalayim who had the authority to issue certain types of decrees, received their salary of 99 Manah per annum from the Terumas ha'Lishkah. The Gemara says that if this amount did not suffice to support them, then Beis Din was entitled to give them more money, even if they did not want to accept it.

Why did the Dayanim receive such exorbitantly high salaries? The Mishnah in the end of Pe'ah states that a person can live on 200 Zuz for an entire year. Thus, if each Dayan was receiving 99 Manah (which is 9900 Zuz), he was receiving nearly *fifty times* the minimal cost of living! Moreover, how is it that the Gemara suggests that such a huge salary might not suffice for them?


(a) The SHITAH MEKUBETZES states that the 99 Manah that was given to the Dayanim as their salary was not given to each Dayan, but was given to *all* of the Dayanim, so that each one received 33 Manah. The MAHARSHA and PNEI YEHOSHUA add that each Dayan had a Beis Din of 23 judges, and all of their salaries were paid from the 33 Manah that was given to the head Dayan. Accordingly, each Dayan received only 143 and a half Zuzim as his salary.

(b) Alternatively, the cost of living in Yerushalayim was excessively high. The Gemara later (110b, according to the explanation of TALMIDEI RABEINU YONAH cited by the Shitah Mekubetzes there) says that one may not force a spouse to move from a small city to a large city because the cost of living in a large city is higher. Accordingly, the wages in Yerushalayim, to which the entire world flocked, would have to be proportionately higher in order to match the higher cost of living in Yerushalayim.


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