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Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

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Sanhedrin 17



(a) The Rabbanan in our Mishnah learn from the Pasuk "ve'Hisyatzvu Sham *Imach*" that a Beis-Din consists of seventy-one judges. Rebbi Yehudah (who requires only seventy) explains - that specifically there it was essential for Moshe to be present, either because he was the one to enter the tent which housed the Shechinah, whilst they waited outside, or because he had to be present when the Shechinah to rest on them.

(b) So the Rabbanan learn switch to the Pasuk "ve'Nas'u *Itach* be'Masa ha'Am". Rebbi Yehudah learns from there - "Itach", 'be'Domin Lach', that the Sanhedrin must be without blemish, like Moshe.

(c) The Rabbanan learn that from the Pasuk "ve'Hakeil me'Alecha ve'Nas'u Itach". The basic difference between the Pasuk in Beha'aloscha and the Pasuk in Yisro is - that the former is referring to the formation of the Sanhedrin ha'Gedolah, and the latter, to the Sanhedrin ha'Ketanah.

(d) And they know that the above D'rashah pertains to the Sanhedrin ha'Gedolah, too - from a 'Mah Matzinu' from the Sanhedrin ha'Ketanah.

(a) When Hashem told Moshe to pick seventy elders to sit on the Sanhedrin ha'Gedolah, the problem he faced was - how many to pick from each tribe, because if he picked six, that would make seventy-two, and to pick only five from just two tribes would create jealousy among the tribes.

(b) He solved it - by picking seventy-two candidates, and by then writing 'Zakein' on seventy 'pieces of paper', leaving two blank, and asking each one to draw one lot from the box into which he had placed them.

(c) And he solved a similar problem with the two hundred and seventy-three Bechorim in excess of the twenty-two thousand Levi'im, each of whom redeemed a Bechor - by placing twenty-two thousand 'pieces of paper' containing the word 'ben Levi' plus two-hundred and seventy-three pieces containing the words 'Chamishah Shekalim', and then asking each Bechor to draw one lot.

(a) What actually happened according to the opinion that holds 'be'Kalpi Nishtayru') was - that Eldad and Meidad simply declined to draw a lot (for fear that they would draw the blanks), thereby dropping out of the draw.

(b) Rebbi Shimon disagrees. According to him - they remained in the camp to begin with, because they felt that they were unworthy of the honor being bestowed upon them.

(c) For their humility - they became permanent Nevi'im, whereas the other seventy elders never prophesied again.

(a) According to the Tana Kama of the Beraisa, Eldad and Meidad prophesied about Moshe dying in the desert and Yehoshua leading Yisrael into Eretz Yisrael, whereas according to Aba Chanin in the name of Rebbi Eliezer, they prophesied about the imminent arrival of the quails. According to Rav Nachman - they prophesied about the battle with Gog and Magog, that will precede Mashi'ach.

(b) Rav Nachman amends the Pasuk (in connection with Gog and Magog, with direct reference to the early prophets "ha'Nib'im ba'Yamim ha'Heim, to read (not "Shanim" but ) - Shenayim le'Havi Oscha Aleihem", which now refers to Eldad and Meidad, the only two prophets ever to prophecy the same thing simultaneously (despite the principle 'Ein Sh'nei Nevi'im Misnab'im be'Signon Echad').

(c) We refute the proof that Eldad and Meidad did not stop prophesying from the Pasuk "va'Yisnab'u *ve'Lo Yasafu"*, based on the Pasuk in Va'eschanan "Kol Gadol ve'Lo Yasaf" which means - that the Voice at Har Sinai did not continue (though the word itself does generally have a dual connotation).

(d) So we prove it from - the fact that the Torah uses the Lashon "Misnab'im" with regard to Eldad and Meidad (implying an ongoing phenomenon), whereas with regard to the seventy elders, the Torah writes "va'Yisnab'u", implying once only.

(a) When Yehoshua heard their prophesy, he ran straight to Moshe with the request "Kela'em", which means - 'load them with communal responsibilities, and they will automatically fade away (see also Tosfos D.H 've'Heim').

(b) We can well understand Yehoshua's zeal, according to the first opinion (that of the Tana Kama of the Beraisa). The reason according to the other two opinions - is on account of their presumptuousness in prophesying in front of Moshe (since it was like ruling in front of one's Rebbe, which is strictly forbidden).

(c) Moshe's answer, which expressed the wish that all the people of Hashem would become prophets, is easy to understand according to the latter two opinions. According to the first opinion, bearing in mind his frustration at not being allowed to enter Eretz Yisrael, and on top of that being told that his Talmid would re-place him, we will have to say - that he was not in fact been informed the exact contents of Eldad and Meidad's prophesy.

(a) Notwithstanding Rebbi Yehudah, according to whom it was possible for the Sanhedrin ha'Gedolah to be evenly divided, the minimum majority possible in ...
1. ... matters that did not involve the death-sentence was - one.
2. ... sentencing someone to death was - three.
(b) It is possible to find an even number of judges even by a Sanhedrin ha'Ketanah, even according to the Rabbanan of Rebbi Yehudah - in a case where on judge did not know the Halachah, in which case he was not counted, and they would add another two judges (making a total of twenty-four).

(c) When Rebbi Avahu said 'be'Mosifin, Osin Beis-Din Shakul Lechatchilah', we ask 'P'shita?' And we answer, that we might otherwise have thought that the Sanhedrin still consists of an odd number of judges, because, based on the fact that the judge who does not know is liable to find a reason (that he did not think of before) to declare the defendant innocent or guilty, he is still counted.

(d) The ramifications of Rebbi Avahu's statement are - that even if he does he will not be believed (see Tosfos cited in Hagahos ha'Bach (2).

(a) In a case where the entire Sanhedrin considered the defendant guilty of the death sentence - Rav Kahana rules that - they free him ...

(b) ... because the obligation to leave the final ruling in abeyance until the next day, in order to search for a reason to proclaim him innocent, cannot be fulfilled (see also Tosfos ha'Rosh).

(a) Rebbi Yochanan lists the various requirements of a judge. It was essential for the judges to be ...
1. ... tall and with a striking appearance - so that people would fear them (i.e. bear a deep respect for them).
2. ... conversant with witchcraft - to counter people who tried to evade the death-sentence through witchcraft, and to bring to light people who used witchcraft to entice others to worship idols.
3. ... knowledgeable in all seventy languages - so that they would be able to understand the testimony of foreign witnesses directly, without needing to come on to a third person.
(b) The final requirement required by Rebbi Yochanan is - that they are elderly (above the age of sixty).

(c) Rav adds that they also needed to be able to find a reason to be Metaher a Sheretz (see Agados Maharsha) . He himself attempted to do so from a snake - which brings death to others, yet it is Tahor. In that case, a Sheretz which does not bring death to the world, ought certainly to be Tahor.

(d) We refute his proof however, from a thorn - which can sometimes kill, yet it is not Tamei, so we see that Tum'ah and causing death are not connected.




(a) Rav Yehudah Amar Rav requires a town to have two judges who speak all seventy languages in order to qualify for a Beis-Din. In addition - at least one judge must understand them.

(b) Beitar had three such judges. Yavneh had more. Besides Rebbi Eliezer, and Rebbi Yehoshua - Rav lists in the latter Rebbi Akiva and Shimon ha'Teimani, who sat before them on the ground as a Talmid.

(c) When the Beraisa says 'Shelishis Chochmah, Revi'is Ein le'Ma'alah Mimenu' it means - that at least three judges must speak all the languages, a Kashya on Rav, who requires only two.

(d) Rav answers - that he holds like the Tana of another Beraisa, who says 'Sheniyah Chochmah, Shelishis Ein le'Ma'alah Heimenah'.

(a) 'Lemeidin Lifnei Chachamim' refers to - Levi in front of Rebbi.

(b) 'Danin Lifnei Chachamim' refers to two Shimons, as well as Chanan ha'Mitzri and Chananya ben Chachinai. The two Shimons are - Shimon ben Azai and Shimon ben Zoma.

(c) Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak adds a third Shimon to the list - Shimon ha'Teimani.

(d) All of these are described as 'Danin Lifnei Chachamim' - because they were all young and did not yet have Semichah. Consequently, they would sit on the floor in front of the Chachamim and ask Kashyos and make relevant comments.

(a) 'Raboseinu 'she'be'Bavel' refers to Rav and Shmuel, and 'Daynei Golah' to Karna.
1. 'Raboseinu she'be'Eretz Yisrael' - refers to Rebbi Aba ...
2. ... and 'Daynei Eretz Yisrael' - to Rebbi Ami and Rebbi Asi.
(b) Rav Papa bar Shmuel carries the title of 'Daynei de'Pumbedisa', and Rav Ada bar Minyumi, of 'Dayni de'Neharda'a - Rav Huna and Rav Chisda were known as 'Sabi de'Sura.

(c) Rav Yehudah and Rav Eina are called 'Sabi de'Pumbedisa, and the two brothers, Eifah and Avimi - sons of Rachbah, as 'Charifi de'Pumbedisa'.

(d) Rabah and Rav Yosef, who also lived in Pumbedisa, bore the title - Amora'i de'Pumbedisa.

(a) 'Amora'i de'Neharda'a' refers to Rav Chama, and according to the Neharbela'i, Rami bar B'rivi. 'Amri Bei Rav' cannot refer to Rav Huna - because there are times when Rav Huna quotes 'Amri de'Bei Rav'.

(b) In fact, it refers to - Rav Hamnuna.

(c) With regard to the Amora'im of Eretz Yisrael, we initially describe Rebbi Yirmiyah as 'Amri be'Ma'arva'. 'Shalchu mi'Tam' (which is short for 'Shalchu me'Hasam') describes - Rebbi Yossi b'Rebbi Chanina, and 'Machku Aleih be'Ma'arva' - Rebbi Elazar.

(d) Based on the fact that we sometimes find 'Shalchu mi'Tam', le'Divrei Rebbi Yossi b'Rebbi Chanina', we amend the list of the Yerushalmi Amora'im by switching the latter two, so that - 'Shalchu mi'Tam' refers to Rebbi Elazar, and 'Machku Aleih be'Ma'arva', to Rebbi Yossi b'Rebbi Chanina.

(a) We learned in our Mishnah that to qualify for a Beis-Din of twenty-three, a town had to have a hundred and twenty residents. Besides the twenty-three members of Beis-Din themselves and the Asarah Batlanim - the first hundred and two residents comprise three rows of twenty-three Talmidei-Chachamim who sat in front of the Beis-Din (as we will see later in 'Echad Diynei Mamonos').

(b) The 'Asarah Batlanim' are - ten people who did not work, and who were designated to be in Shul for Davenning to ensure that there was always a Minyan (to avoid Hashem's anger at not finding a Minyan when He arrives in Shul).

(c) Then there are the two litigants in any Din Torah, plus the two Sofrim (who record the litigants' arguments) and the two Chazanim - clerks who deliver Malkos and invite the litigants to court.

(a) The six witnesses, (which brings the total up to a hundred and fourteen) - comprise two key witnesses, two potential Zomemin and two Zomemei Zomemin.

(b) The significance of the two Zomemei Zomemin is - to frighten the Zomemin into not submitting their testimony against two honest Jews (should it be false).

(c) The remaining six are based on a list of a town's requirements, before a Talmid-Chacham may live there. The Beraisa lists - ten requirements.

(d) This town requires a Beis-Din that issues corporal punishment and punishes evil-doers, and it must have a Tzedakah fund. The latter entails - five people, two to collect the funds, and three to distribute them.

(a) Besides a Shul, the town must have - a bath-house and a bathroom.

(b) And besides a doctor, an Uman and a Lavlar - it must have also have a Melamed Tinokos (a children's Rebbe).


1. An 'Uman' is - a blood-letter.
2. A 'Lavlar' is - a Sofer.
(d) This last group entails - one person, who can fulfill all the roles. Note, that according to others, it entails three, because the three people who distribute the Tzedakah funds incorporate the two who collect them. And there are others who count 'Rofei Uman' as one, and add a butcher to the list.
(a) Rebbi Akiva adds a variety of fruit to the above list - because a lot of fruit is good for the eyes.

(b) Rebbi Nechemyah in our Mishnah requires a residency of at least two hundred and thirty people, as we already learned. Rebbi adds ...

1. ... in one Beraisa forty-seven people - to allow for the Beis-Din which is unable to arrive at a solution to add two judges at a time up to a maximum of seventy judges if need be (as we shall learn in 'Hayu Bodkin') like Rebbi Yehudah, who requires seventy judges to sit on the Beis-Din ha'Gadol.
2. ... in another Beraisa, forty-eight - according to the Rabbanan, who require seventy-one.
(c) Following the advice of Yisro, Moshe set up 78,600 judges (in the form of Sanhedrei Ketanos. He appointed ...
1. ... six hundred 'officers of thousands'.
2. ... six thousand 'officers of hundreds.
3. ... twelve thousand 'officers of fifty'.
4. ... sixty thousand 'officers of ten'.
***** Hadran Alach 'Diynei Mamonos bi'Sheloshah' *****

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