POINT BY POINT SUMMARY
Prepared by Rabbi P. Feldman
of Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Yerushalayim
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
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Previous daf Sanhedrin 17
1) A GREAT SANHEDRIN
(a) (Mishnah): The Great Sanhedrin has 71 judges.
2) A SMALL SANHEDRIN
(b) Question: Chachamim say that Moshe was appointed over
them and is counted with them - what is their source?
(c) Answer #1: "V'Hisyatzvu Sham Imach" - they are with you,
and you are with them.
1. R. Yehudah says that "Imach" teaches that they may
be with Moshe outside the Mishkan, they may not
enter it (alternatively - they should be with Moshe
in order that Shechinah will rest upon them).
(d) Answer #2: ("Imach" teaches like R. Yehudah); rather,
Chachamim learn from "V'Nas'u Itecha b'Masa ha'Am" - they
are with you, and you are with them.
1. R. Yehudah says that "Itecha" teaches that they must
be (of proper lineage and unblemished,) like Moshe.
(e) (Beraisa): "Va'Yisha'aru Shnei Anashim ba'Machaneh" -
some say, their lottery cards remained in the box.
2. Chachamim learn that from "V'Hakel me'Alecha v'Nas'u
Itach" (said by small Sanhedriyos), we learn about
the Great Sanhedrin from a small Sanhedrin.
1. Hash-m told Moshe to gather 70 Zekenim; Moshe
considered how to do this:
(f) Similarly: "V'Lakachta Chameshes Chameshes Shekalim
la'Gulgoles" (there were 273 more firstborn (Yisraelim)
than Levi'im, they had to redeem themselves).
i. If each Shevet has six, this is 72, which is
2. Moshe took six Zekenim from each Shevet; he took 72
cards, on 70 of them he wrote 'Zaken', two he left
blank. He put the cards in a box; each Zaken took a
ii. If each Shevet has five, this is only 60;
iii. If 10 Shevetim will have six and two Shevetim
will have five, there will be envy among them!
i. Whoever picked a card saying 'Zaken' would be
on the Sanhedrin; those who picked blank cards
would not be. (Eldad and Medad never took their
1. Moshe was concerned: any firstborn I approach will
say 'I correspond to a Levi, I need not redeem
(g) R. Shimon says, (Eldad and Medad) remained in the camp -
they believed that they will not worthy of this
2. Moshe took 22,273 cards; on 22,000 he wrote 'Ben
Levi', on 273 he wrote 'Chameshes Shekalim'. He put
them in a box; each firstborn took a card.
3. Whoever picked a card saying 'Ben Levi' was exempt;
whoever picked a card saying 'Chameshes Shekalim'
had to pay five Shekalim.
1. Hash-m said, since you considered yourselves smaller
than the others, I will make you greater than them!
(h) Question: (R. Shimon said that the others prophesized,
but only temporarily) - what is his source?
2. The others prophesized, but only temporarily; these
two prophesized and did not cease.
3. Question: What prophecy did they have?
4. Answer #1: They prophesized that Moshe will die and
Yehoshua will lead Yisrael into Eretz Yisrael.
5. Answer #2 (Aba Chanin): They prophesized about the
Slav (the birds Hash-m provided in response to
Yisrael's desire for meat).
6. Answer #3 (Rav Nachman): They prophesized about Gog
and Magog (who will make war at the time of
Mashi'ach) - "...Dibarti b'Yamim Kadmonim b'Yad
i. We can read "Shanim" like 'Shnayim'.
ii. The only time we find two prophets with the
same prophecy was Eldad and Medad.
1. Suggestion: "Va'Yisnabe'u v'Lo Yasafu".
(i) Answer: Regarding the other 70, it says "Va'Yisnabe'u"
(past tense); regarding Eldad and Medad, it says
"Misnabe'im" - they continue to prophesize.
2. Rejection: If so, we should likewise expound "Kol
Gadol v'Lo Yasaf" (when we heard Hash-m on Sinai),
that the voice ceased!
i. Rather, it means, it *did not* cease.
(j) Question: According to the opinion that they prophesized
that Moshe will die and Yehoshua will lead Yisrael into
Eretz Yisrael, we understand why Yehoshua said "Adoni
1. But according to the other two opinions, why was
(k) Answer: It was improper to prophesize in front of Moshe,
just as a Talmid may not decide Halachah in front of his
(l) Question: According to the other two opinions, we
understand why Moshe said "Mi Yiten (all of Yisrael
should have prophecy like them!)";
1. But if they prophesized about Moshe's death, why was
(m) Answer: He only heard that they were prophesizing, he did
not hear the prophecy.
(n) Question: (Yehoshua suggested to Moshe) "Kela'em" - what
does this mean?
(o) Answer: Impose the needs of the Tzibur on them, they will
(become sad and) cease (to prophesize).
(a) (Mishnah): (A small Sanhedrin has 23...the Torah says
that 10 are Mechayev, and 10 are Mezakeh;) Question: How
do we learn another three?
(b) (The Mishnah answered, a majority of two is needed to
convict, we do not make a Beis Din with an even number of
judges, so we add one more.)
(c) Question: Now that there are 23, we cannot have a
majority of exactly two!
1. If 12 are Mechayev, this is only one more than the
(d) Answer (R. Avahu): We can find a majority of exactly two
when we add judges (because one of them could not
decide), even according to Chachamim; alternatively, we
find this on the Great Sanhedrin, which has 70 judges
according to R. Yehudah.
2. If 13 are Mechayev, this is three more than the
(e) (R. Avahu): When we add judges, we can make a Beis Din
with an even number of judges l'Chatchilah.
(f) Question: This is obvious! (If one does not know and the
Beis Din has an even number of judges, an odd number of
judges will vote, as we want!)
(g) Answer: One might have thought, we count the indecisive
judge among the judges, for if he later decides (and
explains his previous indecision) he may vote;
1. R. Avahu teaches, this is not so, we do not count
the indecisive judge among the judges, even if he
later gives a reason.
(h) (Rav Kahana): If all the judges (initially) say that he
is Chayav, we exempt him.
(i) Question: What is the reason?
(j) Answer: We do not Mechayev Misah on the same day because
the judges must spend the night looking for Zechus (a
reason to acquit);
1. Since all said that he is Chayav, they will not try
hard enough to find Zechus.
(k) (R. Yochanan): We only put on a Sanhedrin people of great
stature and appearance, that are Chachamim, old,
understand witchcraft, and know all 70 languages in order
that Beis Din should not have to hear testimony through
(l) (Rav Yehudah): We only put on a Sanhedrin a Chacham
clever enough to prove that the Torah says that a Sheretz
(rodent) is Tahor,
(m) (Rav): I can show that it is Tahor: a snake kills people,
thereby increasing Tum'ah, yet it is Tahor - a Sheretz
does not kill people and increase Tum'ah, all the more so
it is Tahor!
(n) Rejection: This is not a Kal va'Chomer - thorns also
kill, this is no reason to say that they are Tamei!
3) NAMES USED FOR CERTAIN CHACHAMIM
(o) Version #1 - Rambam - (Rav Yehudah): We do not establish
a Sanhedrin in a city if it does not have two Chachamim
that can speak (teach every subject in Torah), one must
be able to listen and respond.
(p) Version #2 - Rashi - (Rav Yehudah): We do not establish a
Sanhedrin unless it will have two people that can speak
(every language) and a third that understands it if he
hears it. (End of Version #2)
1. In Beitar there were three who could speak, in
Yavneh there were four - R. Eliezer, R. Yehoshua, R.
Akiva and Shimon ha'Temani (a Talmid who sat in
front of the Sanhedrin).
(q) Question (Beraisa): If three people in the city can
speak, it is fit for a Sanhedrin; four is the highest
(r) Answer: Rav Yehudah holds like the Tana of the following
1. (Beraisa): If two people in the city can speak, it
is fit for a Sanhedrin; three is the highest level.
(a) Whenever it says 'Those who learn in front of Chachamim',
this refers to Levi in front of Rebbi;
4) THE SIZE OF A CITY FIT FOR A SANHEDRIN
1. Version #1: 'Those who judge in front of Chachamim',
refers to Shimon ben Azai, Shimon ben Zoma, Chanan
ha'Mitzri and Chanina ben Chakinoi.
2. Version #2 (Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): There were
those four and also Shimon ha'Temani.
3. 'Raboseinu in Bavel' refers to Rav and Shmuel,
'Raboseinu in Eretz Yisrael' refers to R. Aba;
4. 'Dayanei Golah' refers to Karna, 'Dayanei Eretz
Yisrael' refers to R. Ami and R. Asi, 'Dayanei
Pumbadisa' refers to Rav Papa bar Shmuel, 'Dayanei
Neharda'a' refers to Rav Ada bar Minyomi;
5. 'Elders of Sura' refers to Rav Huna and Rav Chisda,
'Elders of Pumbadisa' refers to Rav Yehudah and Rav
6. 'The sharp ones of Pumbadisa' refers to Eifah and
Avimi, sons of Rachbah;
7. 'Amora'i of Pumbadisa' refers to Rabah and Rav
Yosef; 'Amora'i of Neharda'a' refers toRav Chama;
8. 'Neharbelai taught' refers to Rami bar Beruchi;
9. 'Bei Rav' refers to Rav Huna.
10. Objection: But Rav Huna cited Bei Rav...!
11. Correction: Rather, 'Bei Rav' refers to Rav Hamnuna
(Tosfos - when it cannot be Rav Huna).
12. 'They said in the west (Eretz Yisrael)' refers to R.
Yirmeyah; 'They sent from there (Eretz Yisrael)'
refers to R. Yosi bar Chanina; 'They laughed at this
in the west' refers to R. Elazar.
13. Objection: But 'They sent from there, 'according to
R. Yosi bar Chanina...''!
14. Correction: These must be switched - 'They sent from
there' refers to R. Elazar, 'They laughed at this in
the west' refers to R. Yosi bar Chanina.
(a) (Mishnah) Question: How many people must there be in a
city for it to be fitting to have a Sanhedrin? Answer #1:
One hundred and twenty...
(b) Question: Why is the reason for 120?
(c) Answer: This suffices to have 23 on the Sanhedrin, three
rows of 23 Talmidim (each), 10 people that are always in
the Beis ha'Keneses, two scribes (to write the claims of
each side), two Sheluchim of the Beis Din, two litigants,
two witnesses, two Mezimim (witnesses to say that the
witnesses were not where they claimed to see the
testimony), two Mezimim of the Mezimim, and six more
people necessary to make it fit for Chachamim to live
1. (Beraisa): A Chachamim should only live in a city
with these 10 things: a Beis Din that lashes and
punishes, a Tzedakah box for which two people
collect and three people distribute, a Beis
ha'Keneses, a bathhouse, a place to relieve oneself,
a doctor, a bloodletter, a scribe, (a butcher -
Rashi's text deletes this, he counts the collection
and distribution of Tzedakah as two matters,) and
one who teaches children;
2. R. Akiva says, it should have fruits, for these
enlighten the eyes.