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Sanhedrin 32

The numbers that appear next to certain entries represent the number assigned to those items in the diagram of the Beis ha'Mikdash of the Tiferes Yisrael (e.g. TY #43). This diagram, which will be included in a separate mailing and can be found on our site, is printed both in the Tiferes Yisrael Mishnayos (in Midos Chapter 2 or following Midos) and in Rav P. Kahati's Mishnayos (page 290, at the beginning of Midos).


1) [line 2] DERISHAH V'CHAKIRAH (EDUS - court testimony)
(a) When witnesses testify in Beis Din about a specific event in order to convict the perpetrator, the judges interrogate each witness separately to determine whether their testimony is reliable.
(b) Chazal learn from the verses of the Torah (Devarim 13:15, 17:4, 19:18) that two types of questions are employed to ascertain the truth of their testimonies: Chakiros and Derishos. There is no limit to the amount and type of Derishos that are used. Chakiros, however, are limited to seven specific questions (Sanhedrin 32a).
(c) The Torah requires that the following seven Chakiros be asked (even though the answers to some of the more specific questions already answer the more general ones). These Chakiros, which are meant to ascertain the time and place of the event, are 1. During which seven-year Shemitah cycle of the Yovel did the event occur? 2. During which year of the Shemitah? 3. During which month? 4. On which day of the month? 5. On which day of the week? 6. During which hour of the day? 7. Where did the event take place?
(d) If a witness cannot answer even one of the Chakiros, his testimony is invalid. The reason for this is that when the witness makes it impossible to testify against him that he was *not* in the place in question at the time in question, we suspect that he is lying (RASHI to Pesachim 12a, and to Bava Kama 75b DH Aval Hacha).

2) [line 5] POSCHIN BEIN LI'ZECHUS BEIN L'CHOVAH - the judges open the debate in his favor or against him. The beginning of the debate in a case of Dinei Mamonos may start in favor or against the defendant. A case of Dinei Nefashos must start with a statement that mentions the innocence of the defendant, for example, "If you have not committed the offence, you need not worry" (Daf 32b-33a).

3) [line 7] MATIN AL PI ECHAD - the judges decide the case (lit. they lean [towards a verdict]) by a margin of [at least] one judge. In Dinei Mamonos, any majority may acquit or condemn the defendant. In a case of Dinei Nefashos, any majority of judges may acquit the defendant, but in order to condemn him, a majority of at least two judges is needed (Daf 33b).

4) [line 10] MACHZIRIN - the judges retry the case. If a defendant is acquitted, and it is found that the ruling was mistaken (or new evidence was found for his guilt), the case may be reopened only in Dinei Mamonos but not in Dinei Nefashos. If he was found guilty, the case may be reopened to prove him innocent in either type of trial (Daf 33b).

5) [line 12] HA'KOL MELAMDIN ZECHUS V'CHOVAH - all may argue for his innocence or for his guilt. In Dinei Mamonos, all of those present at the trial may argue in favor of the defendant or against him. In Dinei Nefashos, only the judges may argue to condemn the defendant, while the students of the judges who are present at the trial may not argue against him. However, in order to acquit him, even the students may argue in his favor (Daf 33b-34a).

6a) [line 18] DANIN - the judges open the case and discuss it
b) [line 18] GOMRIN - the judges arrive at a verdict

(a) All court cases must convene during the day. The verdict in a case of Dinei Nefashos must likewise be issued during the day. If a Beis Din finds itself leaning towards convicting the defendant on the opening day of a capital case, the judges must do Halanas ha'Din, that is, they postpone the case until the next day. In this way, there is more of a chance to find evidence of his innocence (Daf 34b).
(b) A result of the Halachah of Halanas ha'Din is that it is forbidden to convene a case of Dinei Nefashos on Erev Shabbos or Erev Yom Tov, since it would be impossible to carry out a death sentence on Shabbos or Yom Tov, and it is forbidden to delay the death penalty once the guilty verdict has been issued (Daf 34b-35a).

8a) [line 22] MASCHILIN MIN HA'GADOL - the debate starts with the oldest, most experienced judge
b) [line 22] MASCHILIN MIN HA'TZAD - the debate starts from the side. In a case of Dinei Nefashos, the younger, less experienced judges start the debate, lest an older, more experienced judge argue against the defendant, and the other judges will not be willing to argue with him (Daf 36a).

9) [line 24] YISRAELIM HA'MASI'IN LA'KEHUNAH - Yisraelim whose daughters may marry Kohanim

Pre-dated loan documents (i.e. the date written in the document precedes the date that the document was actually signed) are invalid. The reason they are invalid is because the document asserts that the loan occurred on an earlier date than it actually occurred, thus entitling the bearer of the document (i.e. the lender) to collect from property that the borrower sold to buyers *after* that date. Since the loan did not actually occur until later, though, the lender would be collecting the property unlawfully from buyers who bought property between the date recorded in the Shtar and the actual date of the loan.

Post-dated loan documents are valid. (These documents are valid because the problem mentioned in the previous entry does not exist with regard to post-dated documents.)

11) [line 32] LO SHECHICHEI INSHEI D'MOZFEI - when it is not common to find people who give out loans (for fear of them being cancelled by the Halachah of Shemitas Kesafim -- see below, entry #13)

12) [line 32] LO MARA LI'SHETAREI - [a person] does not cause problems for his document (by making it less plausible)

(a) The Torah requires that all loans shall be canceled every seventh year, as it states in Devarim 15:2, "Shamot Kol Ba'al Masheh Yado" - "Every creditor who lends anything to his neighbor shall release it." To demand payment of a loan after the Shemitah year is a violation of the prohibition of "Lo Yigos Es Re'ehu v'Es Achiv" - "he shall not exact it of his neighbor or of his brother" (ibid.). Most Rishonim rule that the Shemitah year cancels loans at the *end* of the year, on the last day of the month of Elul (RAMBAM Hilchos Shemitah v'Yovel 9:1-4).
(b) Hashmatas Kesafim applies mid'Oraisa only when the Yovel year is in practice. Mid'Rabanan it applies today, whether inside or outside of Eretz Yisrael.
(c) Shemitah does not cancel debts which have a due date *after* the Shemitah year (such as a ten-year loan), since the creditor is not allowed to demand repayment before the due date, and thus "Lo Yisgos" (see (a) above) does not apply. Similarly, Shemitah does not cancel the debt if it can be considered to have been already collected. As such, if a loan is placed in the hands of Beis Din (see Background to Bava Kama 36:16:c-d) or if a Mashkon (collateral) is taken for the loan, it is not cancelled. The latter only applies to collateral of Metaltelin (moveable goods) that are already considered to belong to the creditor. In a case where real estate was collected as collateral, the creditor does not acquire the Mashkon, since it stands to be returned. As such, Shemitah does cancel the debt, in spite of the Mashkon.

14) [line 33] SIMAN ChaRPa"SH - this is a parenthetical insert before the Amora'im answer the question of the Gemara. It is a mnemonic device to remember the names of the Amora'im who are mentioned in the following lines of the Gemara. It stands for Rebbi *Ch*anina (line 34), *R*ava (Daf 32b, line 2), Rav *P*apa (Daf 32b, line 3) and Rav A*sh*I (Daf 32b, line 8)

15) [last line] KEDEI SHE'LO SIN'OL DELES BIFNEI LOVIN - so as not to "lock the doors" in the faces of the borrowers (since creditors will not lend money unless they have certain incentives, such as the smallest risk of losing their money)


16) [line 2] DINEI KENASOS - that is, Dinei Gezeilos v'Chavalos (TOSFOS to Sanhedrin 3a DH she'Lo Sin'ol; see Background to Sanhedrin 2:2-3)

17a) [line 3] HODA'OS - [court cases in which witnesses testify to the] admissions [of liability of the litigants]
b) [line 3] HALVA'OS - [court cases in which witnesses testify to seeing money being transferred as] loans [between the litigants]

18) [line 4] DIN MERUMEH - a case where the judges realize that a litigant is a cheat or that the case is based on a deception

19) [line 6] "B'TZEDEK TISHPOT AMISECHA" - "in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor." (Vayikra 19:15) - The word "Tzedek" is mentioned only once in this verse.

20) [line 7] "TZEDEK TZEDEK TIRDOF" - "You shall pursue only justice" (Devarim 16:20) - The word "Tzedek" is mentioned twice in this verse, necessitating a distinction between the two verses.

21a) [line 9] DIN / PESHARAH
"Din" refers to a court case that is judged according to the letter of the law. "Pesharah" is any compromise that the judges are able to work out between the litigants so that there will be no need to convene a court to judge the case. The Gemara rules (Daf 6a) that the litigants need to make a Kinyan, a formally binding agreement, between them that they will accept the results of the Pesharah before the judges begin the proceedings.

22) [line 14] MA'ALOS BEIS CHORON - Beis Choron is the name of twin towns on the border between Binyamin and Efrayim, located in the foothills leading up from Lod to Yerushalayim. The altitude of Beis Choron Elyon is 600 meters, and the altitude of Beis Choron Tachton is 400 meters. The distance between them is three and a half kilometers. The road that connects them is bordered on both sides by steep cliffs and wadis and is called Morad Beis Choron.

23) [line 16] TE'UNAH - laden
24) [line 17] KEROVAH - closer [to its destination]
25a) [line 22] LOD - the town of Lod in central Eretz Yisrael, located in the present day city by that name, southeast of Tel Aviv. During the time of the Gemara it was located on the road that led from Yerushalayim to Ceasaria, and it had a mixed population.
b) [line 22] BEROR CHAYIL - a town near Yavneh (see below, entry #29b)

26a) [line 23] KOL REICHAYIM B'VURNI - the sound of mills [grinding] in Burni, a town near Lod
b) [line 23] SHAVU'A HA'BEN, SHAVU'A HA'BEN - the Bris celebration of the son, the Bris celebration of the son. It is called *Shavu'a* ha'Ben because it occurs after seven full days have passed. The symbol of the mills grinding was chosen (during the Roman decrees against Bris Milah) since it reminds one of the preparation of the herbs and remedies that will be needed for the newly-circumcised boy (RASHI)

27a) [line 24] OR HA'NER B'VEROR CHAYIL - the light of candles (either during the day or many extra candles at night) in Beror Chayil
b) [line 24] MISHTEH SHAM, MISHTEH SHAM - a [wedding] feast is there, a [wedding] feast is there (YOSEF DA'AS, citing the MAHARAM, who cites the Yerushalmi)

28) [line 25] HALECH ACHAR CHACHAMIM LA'YESHIVAH - go after the choisest Beis Din of the wisest Chachamim in each city. "Tirdof" has the same Gematriya as "Achar Chachamim l'Yeshivah" (YOSEF DA'AS, citing the Birkas Peretz, Parshas Shoftim)

29a) [line 27] PEKI'IN - possibly the modern Fukin, a town between Lod and Yavneh, the residence of R. Yehoshua
b) [line 28] YAVNEH - the town of Yavneh, near the coast of Eretz Yisrael, located in the present day city by that name, near Rechovot. Yavnah was the seat of the Sanhedrin immediately after the destruction of the Beis ha'Mikdash.
c) [line 29] BENEI BERAK - the town to the south of the present day city by that name, near the Mesubin junction
d) [line 29] RUMI - Ruma, a town in the lower Galilee, near Tzipori (YA'AVETZ) and Rav Masya is Rav Masya ben Charash (MELO HA'RO'IM). It was probably the home of the Roman Emperor Antoninus, who named it after Rome, and as such it is sometimes known as Romi Ze'irta (Little Rome). It is told that Antoninus walked through an underground tunnel every day and night to Tzipori to learn Torah with Rebbi Yehudah ha'Nasi (Encyclopedia Ariel, by Ze'ev Vilnai, Am Oved - Tarbut v'Chinuch, Tel Aviv, 5740, entry Ruma (II)).
e) [line 30] SICHNI - a city north of Yodfas in the lower Galilee
f) [line 30] NETZIVIN - a city in Bavel
g) [line 31] GOLAH - "exile," specifically, the town of Pumbedisa in Bavel (lit. Mouth of Bedisa, a canal of the Euphrates)
h) [line 31] BEIS SHE'ARIM - an important city in the times of the Mishnah and the Gemara, located in the lower Galilee southeast of Haifa and to the west of the modern-day Moshav Beis She'arim
i) [line 31] LISHKAS HA'GAZIS - the Beis Din of the Lishkas ha'Gazis (the Jewish Supreme Court), known as the Great Sanhedrin of 71 judges. The Lishkas ha'Gazis (The Chamber of Hewn Stone, TY #27) was partially built in the Azarah of the Beis ha'Mikdash. The Great Sanhedrin was the highest Halachic authority before which the most difficult cases were brought (Devarim 17:8).

30) [line 32] HEICHI AMRINAN? - What do we (i.e. the judges) say [at the onset of a trial for a capital offence]?

31) [line 33] V'HA CHASMINAN LEHU! - But this will silence (lit. muzzle) them!

32a) [line 34] MASI'IN ES HA'EDIM MI'MAKOM L'MAKOM - we move the witnesses from place to place
b) [line 34] KEDEI SHE'TITAREF DA'ATAN V'YACHZERU VAHEN - so that they get confused and [false witnesses] will retract [their false testimony]

(a) If two witnesses testify to a crime or an event and a later set of witnesses contradict their testimony by saying that the crime or event did not take place exactly as the first set of witnesses testified, all of the witnesses are termed Edim Mukchashim (contradictory witnesses), and Beis Din cannot use either testimony.
(b) If, however, two witnesses testify to a crime or an event and a later set of witnesses *disqualify* that testimony by saying that the first set of witnesses were with them in a different place at the time that the first set of witnesses claim that the act took place, the first witnesses are termed Edim Zomimin (conspiring witnesses). The Torah commands that the second set of witnesses are believed, rather than the first. In general, Edim Zomemim are punished with the punishment they tried to cause. (Devarim 19:16-21. See Mishnah Makos 5a.)

The punishment of Edim Zomemim (see previous entry) is only carried out on the Edim if they succeeded in convicting the defendant of the alleged crime ("Achar Gemar Din") but before the sentence is carried out ("Ka'asher Zamam *La'asos*, v'Lo Ka'asher *Asa*") (Makos 5b).

See above, entry #33:a.

36) [line 40] MI'DIVREICHEM NIZDAKEH PELONI - from your words [it seems that] the defendant is innocent

37) [line 40] IY LO KATALT, LO SIDCHAL - if you did not kill, do not be afraid

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