ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous daf Sanhedrin 9
(a) Rav Ashi and Ravina too, hold like Abaye. Rav Ashi establishes the
Machlokes between Rebbi Meir (who requires three judges by Motzi-Shem-Ra)
and the Rabbanan (who require twenty-three), when the witnesses warned the
woman that she would receive Malkos, and Rebbi Meir's reason is - because he
holds that Malkos requires only three judges.
(b) This conforms with the opinion of the Tana Kama in our Mishnah. The
Rabbanan hold like Rebbi Yishmael - who requires twenty-three.
(c) Although we rule that one does not receive Malkos for a La'av that is
subject to Miysah - this Tana holds that one does.
(a) Ravina establishes the case when one of the witnesses is found to be a
relative of the woman or who is disqualified from testifying for some other
reason. That transforms the case from Diynei Nefashos into Diynei Mamonos
according to Rebbi Meir - because he holds that once one of the witnesses is
disqualified, all the witnesses become disqualified at the same time, so she
can no longer be sentenced to death.
(b) The Rabbanan agree with this on principle, but they restrict this to
where the third witness participated in the warning; otherwise, they say, he
is not considered part of the group of witnesses, when it comes to Diynei
(c) This conforms with the Machlokes in the Mishnah in Makos between Rebbi
Yossi and Rebbi, explaining Rebbi Akiva, who extrapolates from the Pasuk in
Shoftim "al-Pi Shenayim Eidim *O Sheloshah Eidim* ... " - that an accessory
to a group of sinners is considered part of the group (even though the sin
would have been executed even without him).
(d) And he learns from a 'Kal va'Chomer' - that if that is the case by
sinners, it should certainly apply to someone who joins a group of people
performing a Mitzvah (due to the principle 'Midah Tovah Merubah mi'Midas
(a) Rebbi Akiva then adds the Halachah (that we referred to earlier) 'u'Mah
Shenayim, Nimtza Echad Meihem Karov O Pasuk, Eidusan Beteilah, Af Sheloshah
... Eidusan Beteilah', which Rebbi Yossi qualifies - by confining it to
Diynei Nefashos, but not to Diynei Mamonos.
(b) The S'vara behind Rebbi Yossi's distinction is - based on the Pasuk
"ve'Hitzilu ha'Eidah", from which we derive the obligation upon Beis-Din to
do whatever they can to save the defendant's life.
(c) Rebbi disagrees. He does not differentiate. He does however - restrict
Rebbi Akiva's ruling to where the Pasul witness participated in the warning.
Otherwise, he will not disqualify the other witnesses.
(d) Rebbi's reason is - because otherwise 'what should two brothers who
witnessed a murder do' (it is ridiculous to suggest that neither of them may
act as a witness).
(e) Ravina now connects the Machlokes between Rebbi Meir and the Rabbanan in
our Mishnah with the Machlokes Rebbi Yossi and Rebbi - by equating Rebbi
Meir with Rebbi Yossi, and the Rabbanan with Rebbi.
(a) Another alternative is that they repeat the Machlokes between Rebbi
Yossi and the Rabbanan. Rebbi Yossi learns from the Pasuk "al-Pi Shenayim
Eidim" - that the two witnesses must be the ones who warn the sinner.
(b) Accordng to the Rabbanan, anyone is eligible to do so?
(c) And the Machlokes in our Mishnah concerns - a case where it was a third
person who warned the woman. According to Rebbi (who holds like Rebbi
Yossi), the woman can no longer be put to death, and three witnesses will
suffice; whereas the Rabbanan, who hold like the Rabbanan, require
(a) And a final alternative is that they argue over the same point as ben
Zakai and the Rabbanan in the Mishnah in 'Hayu Bodkin', in connection with
whether a discrepancy in 'Bedikos' is considered a discrepancy or not.
1. Bedikos are - the questions that Beis-Din ask the witnesses during the
cross-examination, which are not connected with the time or the place of the
crime, nor are they crucial to prove the guilt of the accused.
(b) The significance of the Tana's statement 'Ma'aseh u'Badak ben Zakai
be'Uktzei Te'einim' - is that ben Zakai considers Bedikos an intrinsic part
of the evidence, and any discrepancy in their answers disqualifies their
2. Chakiros - are questions to do with the time and place of the crime.
(a) ben Zakai - actually questioned the witnesses about whether the stalks
of the figs of the tree under which the crime took place were thick or thin?
(b) Had the witnesses not known the answer to such a question - they should
have declined to answer (by saying 'I don't know'), since this would not
have disqualified their testimony.
(c) According to the Rabbanan - even though one does ask the witnesses such
questions, they are not considered an intrinsic part of the evidence, and
the testimony remains intact even following a discrepancy.
(d) Our Mishnah too, speaks when the witnesses who testified against the
woman contradicted each other in the Bedikos - Rebbi Meir holds like ben
Zakai, in which case the woman can no longer be sentenced to death, and
three judges will suffice, whereas the Rabbanan here hold like the Rabbanan
(a) In a case where the husband brings witnesses who testify that his
newly-wed wife committed adultery after the betrothal, and the father then
brings witnesses who render them Eidim Zomemin, Rav Yosef rules that the
first set of witnesses are sentenced to death, but are not obligated to pay.
Despite the fact that they attempted to make the woman lose her Kesuvah,
they are not obligated to pay - due to the principle 'Kam Leih bi'de'Rabah
Mineih' (someone who is Chayav two punishments, receives the stricter one,
and is absolved from the lighter one.
(b) In a case where the husband then brings witnesses who render the
father's witnesses Zomemin - the latter are sentenced to death (for
attempting to have the husband's witnesses put to death), and have to pay
the hundred Sela (that they tried to make the husband pay).
(c) The reason that they are obligated to pay, in spite of the fact that
they too, are sentenced to death is - because the death-sentence is for what
they tried to do to the witnesses, whereas the payment is for what they
tried to make the husband himself pay ('Miysah la'Zeh u'Mamon la'Zeh').
(d) The reason that the husband's witnesses are not also obligated to pay
the father the hundred Sela (of a Motzi-Shem-Ra) that they attempted to make
him pay with their testimony is - because in fact, the husband's obligation
to pay only comes into effect after they become Zomemin. That in turn is -
because, based on the principle 'Modeh bi'Kenas, Patur', even if the husband
had admitted that he had lied, he would have been Patur from paying.
(a) In a case where Reuven claims that Levi raped him ...
1. ... against his will - he is believed to join Shimon to have Levi
sentenced to death.
(b) Rava disagrees with this - on the basis of the principle 'Palginan
Diburei' (which means that we believe that Levi raped him, but not that he
consented to the rape).
2. ... with his consent - he is not believed, because his testimony implies
that he is a Rasha, and the Pasuk states in Mishpatim "Al Tashes Rasha Eid"
(disqualifying a Rasha's testimony).
(a) Rava also rules that in a case where he, together with Shimon, witnesses
Levi have relations with his wife -he is believed to testify that Levi
committed adultery with a married woman, but not that the married woman was
(b) We cannot infer the latter ruling from the former one - because we would
not have known that a man's wife is considered like himself in this regard.
In fact, we would have thought that, since he is believed with regard to
Levi, he is also believed with regard to his wife.