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prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

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Sanhedrin 25



(a) According to Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi (who holds that the Rabbanan agree with Rebbi Yehudah in our Mishnah [as we just explained]), the author of the Beraisa 'Bein she'Yesh Lo Umnus she'Lo Hu, Bein she'Ein Lo Umnus Ela Hu, Harei Zeh Pasul' is - Rebbi Yehudah in the name of Tarfon.

(b) And we prove this from another statement by Rebbi Yehudah in the name of Rebbi Tarfon, who presents a case where Reuven and Shimon, after arguing over whether Levi who is walking past, is a Nazir or not - then declare themselves to be a Nazir should the other prove to be right.

(c) Rebbi Yehudah rules there that neither of them is a Nazir - because it does not fall into the category of 'Hafla'ah' (an unambiguous expression of Nezirus, in order that it should not be an 'Asmachta') ...

(d) ... proving that 'Asmachta extends even to cases that are not in one's hands, similar to 'Mesachek be'Kuvya', like Rami bar Chama.

(a) Rava rules that a debtor who borrows on interest - is also disqualified from giving testimony or from judging (just like the creditor is), because, like the creditor, he is willing to sin for the sake of money.

(b) Rava therefore interprets our Mishnah, which includes 'ha'Malveh be'Ribis' in the list, as if it read 'Milveh ha'Ba be'Ribis' (referring to the loan and both parties that are involved in it), and not 'ha'Malveh' (the creditor).

(c) When two witnesses testified that bar Binitus lent money on interest, Rava disqualified him from being a witness or a judge. We query Rava's ruling however on the grounds - that one of the witnesses claimed that he was the debtor to whom bar Binitus lent the money (effectively disqualifying himself by his own testimony).

(d) However, Rava already said in the first Perek - that a person is his own close relative, and is therefore not believed to incriminate himself. This ruling allowed him to believe him with regard to bar Binitus, without believing him the half of the testimony that incriminated himself (since he holds of 'Palginan Dibureih, as we learned there), thereby vindicating his current ruling.

(a) After Rav Nachman removed that butcher's license for providing his customers with T'reifos, that butcher - attempted to do penance by letting his hair and nails grow long.

(b) Rava queried Rav Nachman's intention to to reinstate him however - because who was to know that this was no more than a pretext in order to get back his license, and contained not a spark of sincerity?

(c) In fact, the butcher's only recourse was to follow the advice of Rav Idi bar Avin, who prescribed such a sinner - to go to a place where he is unknown, and to return an expensive lost article that he finds or to sustain a heavy loss by declaring an animal of his to be a Treifah.

(a) In Bavel, we translate 'Mafrichei Yonim' as pigeon racers (along with bets). According to Rav Chama bar Oshaya, it is Ara - luring other people's pigeons to one's own dovecotes using a decoy pigeon.

(b) We decline to explain it as 'Ara' - because strictly speaking, pigeons remain Hefker, and stealing them from their owners, which the Chachamim forbade only because of 'Darkei Shalom', will not therefore invalidate a person.

(c) And the reason that Rav Chama bar Oshaya declines to explain it as pigeon racers is - because then it is synonymous with 'Mesachek be'Kuvya', which is already included in the list.

(d) We consider it necessary however, to present both cases. Even after having presented the case of ...

1. ... gambling, we nevertheless need to add the case of pigeon racing - which is not in his hands at all, and where we might therefore have thought that he gives the money with a full heart (unlike gambling, where he thinks he has control [according to Rami bar Chama], and plays only to win). Comes the Mishnah, and teaches us that this is not the case, and that it is considered 'Asmachta'.
2. ... pigeon racing, do we need to add the case of gambling - to teach us that even though one may have thought that a person has more control over his pigeon (by banging with wooden sticks in a certain way) than over his dice). Nevertheless, the Mishnah teaches us that both cases are considered 'Asmachta'.



(a) A Beraisa describing each of the cases in our Mishnah also explains what sort of Teshuvah is expected before they can be reinstated. Besides gambling with a dice, the Tana incorporates in 'Mesachek be'Kuvya' - gambling with nut-shells and pomegranate-peels.

(b) Someone who transgressed ...

1. ... demonstrates that he has done Teshuvah - by breaking his dice, and ceasing to gamble even for no gain.
2. ... lending or borrowing on interest, proves that he has done Teshuvah - by tearing up the Sh'tar that contains Ribis, and by ceasing to lend on interest even to a Nochri.
(c) Besides pigeons, the Tana incorporates in 'Mafrichei Yonim' - any animal, beast or bird.

(d) Besides not continuing with that practice even in the desert, the Tana requires 'mi'she'Yishberu es Pigmeihem' - which means breaking the wooden sticks which he bangs against each other.

(a) The Tana Kama requires Sochrei Shevi'is to discontinue their sinful practice when the following Sh'mitah arrives. Rebbi Nechemyah adds to that the return of his gains - which constitutes announcing the amount that he gained, and donating it to the poor.

(b) Bearing in mind the current Machlokes (whether 'Mafrichei Yonim' implies pigeon-racing or luring other people's pigeons to his own nest), we try and prove from this Beraisa - that it must mean pigeon-racing, because if it meant sending one's pigeons to lure other birds to one's dovecotes, since when does one send one's Beheimos to lure wild animals to one's own fields (leaving them to the mercy of wild animals)?

(c) We answer the Kashya - by establishing Beheimah in the Beraisa as a wild ox ([a buffalo] according to the Tana Kama of the Beraisa that we are about to quote, who holds that a wild ox is a Beheimah), which is capable of defending itself.

(d) According to the Tana Kama of another Beraisa, a Shor ha'Bar is indeed a Beheimah - Rebbi Yossi considers it a Chayah.

(a) Another Beraisa adds Gazlanim and Chamsanim to the list of those whom Chazal disqualified. Seeing as a regular Gazlan is Pasul min ha'Torah, 'Gazlanim' must mean - people who steal what a Cheresh, Shotah or Katan find (which is only subject to Gezel mi'de'Rabbanan ['Mipnei Darkei Shalom]).

(b) The Tana did not include this case in our Mishnah - either because such a theft was unusual, or because, seeing as the initial Takanah was based on Darkei Shalom, it did not constitute Gezel.

(c) The Chachamim changed their minds however, and decreed - because when all's said and done, they were stealing from them just as one steals from a grown-up.

(d) And it is for similar reasons that they eventually included Chamsanim. They did not do so initially - because the 'thief' paid for the article that he stole (and the Chachamim thought that the Chamsanim forced the owners to relinquish their articles verbally, without actually taking them by force).

(a) Later, they included shepherds, Gaba'in and Muchsin (different kinds of tax-collectors). They did they not initially disqualify ...
1. ... shepherds - because they thought that allowing their sheep to graze in other people's fields was only a passing phase that would soon stop.
2. ... Gaba'in and Muchsin - because they assumed that they were doing their job and charging the people their dues.
(b) They changed their minds however - when they discovered that they were taking more than their dues (see Rabeinu Chananel).

(c) Rava draws a distinction between a shepherd of small animals (such as sheep) and large ones (such as cows) in Eretz Yisrael. He disqualifies the former (because they allow their animals to graze in other people's fields), but not the latter.

(d) In Chutz la'Aretz - he disqualifies neither of them (because the decree is based on Yishuv Eretz Yisrael).

(a) To reconcile the previous ruling (in Eretz Yisrael) with Rava in our Sugya, who establishes 'Ro'eh' irrespective of whether he is looking after small animals or big ones, we establish it - when he is rearing the animals at home, where the small animals slip out and wander abound other people's property, but large animals don't; whereas our Sugya is speaking about a shepherd who takes the animals out of town to the public grazing-grounds.

(b) We try to prove that from our Mishnah 'Ne'emanim Alai Sheloshah Ro'ei Bakar' - because assuming that the Tana is coming to disqualify them from testifying, it is clear that Ro'ei Bakar are Pasul too (like Rava says).

(a) We refute the previous proof however, by establishing that they are Pasul from judging - Which is no longer as a result of Geneivah, but because they are not competent to judge money-matters.

(b) And we prove this from the very term 'Sheloshah Ro'ei Bakar' - since for testimony, only two witnesses are required.

(c) Nevertheless, the Tana mention 'Ro'ei Bakar' and not any three unlearned people - to teach us that even they, who are rarely found in town (and therefore know less even than the average Am ha'Aretz about Torah-law), can be appointed by the litigants to serve as arbitrary judges, and that they cannot retract according to the Chachamim.

(d) Rav Yehudah rules that - 'S'tam Ro'eh Pasul' (even though we have not yet seen his animals grazing in other people's fields), whereas 'S'tam Gabai Kasher' (until such time as we discover that he is claiming more taxes than the people are due to pay).

(a) Rebbi Zeira's father's profession was - a tax-collector for thirteen years.

(b) When the Resh Nahara came to town, upon seeing any Rabbanan around, Rebbi Zeira's father would quote the Pasuk "Lech Ami Ba ba'Chadarecha" - meaning that they should make themselves scarce and not be seen in the streets ...

(c) ... because when handing over the taxes he had collected from the people to the Resh Nahara (who was also the town's mayor), he would attribute the small amount to the sparse Jewish population of the town. Consequently, if he would now see large crowds in the streets, there would be trouble.

(d) He told the ordinary people that he met - that the Resh Nahara was coming to town and that he would claim a lot of taxes from them (so they too, would go and hide).

12) On his death-bed he issued instructions, that the thirteen Ma'ah that he had wrapped in a sheet - should be returned to so-and-so, from whom he had claimed it, but turned out not to have needed.

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