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Sanhedrin 29



(a) The Tana Kama disqualifies a Shushbin (best man) from testifying on behalf of the Chasan. According to Rebbi Aba Amar Rebbi Yirmiyah Amar Rav, this ruling applies throughout the seven days of festivity. The Rabbanan quoting Rava - restrict the prohibition to the time of the wedding only, permitting him to testify already from after the wedding.

(b) According to the Tana Kama, when the Torah writes (in connection with a manslaughterer) ...

1. ... "ve'Hu Lo Oyev Lo" it refers to - a witness testifying.
2. ... "ve'Lo Mevakesh Ra'aso" - it refers to a judge judging.
(c) We reject the suggestion that he learns 'Ohev' from the same Pasuk, as if it had written "ve'Hu Lo Oyev Lo, ve'Lo Ohev Lo", because the Torah does not write that. His source for Ohev is - a S'vara, because he is just as emotionally involved as an Oyev.

(d) The Rabbanan, who validate witnesses who hate or who love the defendant (because they will not allow their prejudice to make them twist the facts and lie), learn from ...

1. ... "ve'Hu Lo Oyev Lo" - that a hater is disqualified from judging (since his decisions are bound to be prejudiced).
2. ... "ve'Lo Mevakesh Ra'aso" - that two haters cannot sit on the same Beis-Din.
(a) To cross-examine the witnesses, Beis-Din would take them into a room and scare them (as will be explained later). Besides the judges, everyone was sent out of the room for the cross-examination, including the co-witness. The only person to remain in the room was the witness who was about to testify.

(b) The first witness to be questioned was - the older of the two.

(c) Should the witness testify that they heard from ...

1. ... a third party that Shimon owes Reuven two hundred Zuz" - Beis-Din will dismiss him.
2. ... Shimon himself that he owes Reuven the money - they will dismiss him too, seeing as he may have admitted to owing money only in order to hide his wealth.
(d) For his testimony to be acceptable, the witness would have to add - that Shimon made the admission in front of Reuven.
(a) Beis-Din would then examine the second witness. In the event that the testimony of the two witnesses tallies - they begin to debate the case.

(b) After they finish debating, they take a count. As long as it is a matter of two judges against one, we follow the majority. If however, one judge doesn't know ...

1. ... and the other two disagree - then they bring in two more judges and begin the debating afresh.
2. ... and the other two agree that the defendant is either Chayav or Patur - they bring in two more judges and begin the debating afresh.
(c) Once they arrive at a decision - they ask the litigants to enter the room, and the senior judge announces 'Ish P'loni Atah Zakai, Ish Peloni Atah Chayav'.

(d) Based on the Pasuk in "Lo Seilech Rachil be'Amecha", a Dayan is forbidden - to declare to the defendant that if it was up to him, they would have vindicated him (or to tell the claimant the opposite story), but that he was outnumbered by his colleagues.

(a) Regarding scaring the witnesses ...
1. ... Rava objects to Rav Yehudah's explanation, that the scare consists of a warning by Beis-Din that false testimony results in a stoppage of wind and rain - on the grounds that the witnesses can console themselves that 'seven years famine might well pass, but the astute doctor (or any other professional) is not affected by it'.
2. ... Rav Ashi objects to Rava's explanation, that the scare consists of a warning by Beis-Din that false testimony results in a plague of pestilence - by similarly telling themselves that sometimes seven years pestilence pass, and there are people who outlast it.
(b) Rav Ashi finally cites Nasan bar Mar Zutra, who proves from the Pasuk "ve'Hoshivu Shenayim Anashim B'nei Beliya'al Negdo" - that, like the false witnesses there, whom their hirers referred to as 'B'nei Beliya'al' (unscrupulous), false witnesses end up being looked down upon by those who hire them.

(c) The false witnesses in Melachim testified - that Navos (whose vineyard King Achav coveted) had blasphemed G-d and the king.

(a) We learned in our Mishnah that in order to validate an admission, the witnesses must state that the debtor made it in the presence of the creditor. This supports a statement of Rav Yehudah Amar Rav, who says that when making an admission in front of witnesses - the debtor must specifically appoint the men present as witnesses.

(b) Rebbi Chiya bar Aba Amar Rebbi Yochanan condones it.

(c) And we even prove it from a Beraisa, where the Tana states that if Reuven admits one day that he owes Shimon money, and the next, claims that he was only pulling his leg (seeing as the creditor pulled his with his baseless claim) - he is believed.

(d) And the Tana adds to this - that even if Shimon hid witnesses behind the wall, and Reuven (without being aware of their actual presence) declared that he was afraid that if they were, Shimon would use them to make him pay, he will still be believed if, the next day, he claims to have only been pulling his leg.

(a) If Reuven does not retract from his first claim, we do not claim on his behalf that his initial claim was only a joke, though (based on the Pasuk ''ve'Hitzilu ha'Eidah") we would - in matters that involve the death-sentence, even though it did not occur to the defendant to make the claim himself?

(b) The sole exception to this latter ruling - is a case of Meisis (someone who talks others into worshipping idols).

(c) Based on the Pasuk "Lo Sachmol ve'Lo Sechaseh Alav", Rebbi Chama b'Rebbi Chanina learns from Rebbi Chiya bar Aba - that we make no effort to save the Meisis from the death-penalty (as we just explained).

(a) Rebbi Shmuel bar Nachmeni Amar Rebbi Yonasan citing Rebbi Simla'i learns the previous ruling from the first snake - who had a perfect answer in his self-defense, yet because he did not use it, G-d did not use it either.

(b) The snake could have exonarated himself - by means of the principle 'Divrei ha'Rav ve'Divrei ha'Talmid, Divrei Mi Shomin?' (meaning that Chavah should have listened to what G-d had commanded her [through Adam], and not to himself [the snake]).

(c) Chizkiyah learns from the snake's words to Chavah "Amar Elokim Lo Sochlu Mimenu ve'Lo Sig'u Bo" - the principle 'Kol ha'Moseif Gore'a' ('When one adds, one ends up subtracting'), seeing as G-d had not made the second part of the statement, and it was only because Chavah accepted his base claim that the snake was subsequently able to catch her out.

(d) Rav ...

1. ... Mesharshaya learns the same thing from the Pasuk (in connection with the length of the Aron) "Amasayim va'Chetzi Orko" - which would change from two Amos to two hundred Amos if one were to omit the 'Alef' in "Amasayim" (see also footnote in the Agados Maharsha).
2. ... Ashi learns it from the Pasuk there "Ashtei-Esrei Yeri'os" - which would change from eleven Amos to twelve, if one were to omit the 'Alef' in "Ashtei-Esrei".



(a) According to Abaye, if instead of claiming that he was only pulling the creditor's leg, the debtor denies having admitted to owing him, he is Huchzak Kafran - meaning that he is an established liar, who is not even believed if he makes a Shevu'ah.

(b) Rav Papa B'rei de'Rav Acha bar Ada quotes Rava as having said - that people do not always remember the unofficial statements that they make, and they cannot be branded as liars for having forgotten them.

(c) In a case where a creditor hid witnesses behind the curtain of a four-poster bed, he then asked the debtor whether he would agree that Iri and Shichvi would be witnesses to the admission that he had just made to the creditor - meaning that all those who heard his admission should be witnesses, whether they were awake or asleep (in the hope that, thinking that everyone present was asleep, he would say 'Yes!')

(d) Rav Kahana discounted the debtor's admission - due to the fact that he had said 'No!'

(a) Resh Lakish too, issued the same ruling in a similar case to the previous one. We can infer from there that if the debtor had remained silent - his admission would have been binding, and he could not have retracted at a later stage.

(b) Ravina (or Rav Papa) extrapolates from the above, that with regard to Rav Yehudah Amar Rav, who requires 'Atem Eidai' on the part of the debtor (as we learned earlier) - the same applies if it is the creditor who appoints the witnesses, and the debtor remains silent (which is construed as admission.

(c) In a case where someone known as Kav Reshu (because people held a Kav of Sh'taros against him) declared that he owed Reuven and Shimon money, and Reuven and Shimon took him at his word and claimed from him, Rav Nachman ruled that people sometimes tend to make such admissions, with the sole vie of removing an Ayin ha'Ra from themselves.

(a) In an almost identical case, where Achb'ra de'Shachiv a'Dinri declared on his death-bed that he owed Reuven and Shimon money, when Reuven and Shimon claimed then claimed from his sons, Rebbi Yishmael b'Rebbi Yossi ruled - that whereas a person might try to hide his own wealth, he would not try to hide that of his children.

(b) Achb'ra de'Shachiv a'Dinri was called by that name - because he did not benefit from his wealth, like a mouse that sleeps on a golden Dinar.

(c) When after having paid half, they took the sons to court for the other half, Rebbi Chiya ruled - that just as a person will hide his own wealth, so too, will he hide that of his children.

(d) But when the sons demanded to be reimbursed for half the money that they had already paid, he ruled - 'K'var Horeh Zakein', and that far be it from him to rescind Rebbi Yishmael b'Rebbi Yossi's ruling.

(a) If Reuven admits that he owes Shimon money and they make a Kinyan, the witnesses automatically write a Sh'tar Hoda'ah - though they do not do so if without making a Kinyan, he admitted in front of them after having said 'Atem Eidai' ...

(b) ... because, even though the debtor did not specifically give his consent, we follow the principle 'S'tam Kinyan li'Chesivah O'med'.

(c) We do not however, write a Sh'tar anyway, even in the latter case - because we assume, that the debtor prefers a Milveh-al-Peh to a Milveh bi'Sh'tar.

(d) If Reuven admitted in front of three people that he owed Shimon money, Rav holds that one writes a Sh'tar even though no Kinyan was made - because three people constitute a Beis-Din, who have the power of 'Hefker Beis-Din', even with regard to taking the place of the debtor, to transform an oral debt into a written one.

(a) Rav Asi disagrees in the previous case. He maintains - that without a Kinyan, it remains an oral debt.

(b) When such a case came before Rav - he conceded to Rav Asi, and treated it as an oral loan.

(c) Rav Ada bar Ahavah makes a sort of compromise - if the three people happened to be there when the debtor made his admission, he says, then we don't write a Sh'tar (since there is no evidence that he cares particularly for a Beis-Din); whereas if he gathered them, then it is obvious that he specifically wants a Beis-Din, and they write a Sh'tar.

(d) Rava disagrees with Rav Ada bar Ahavah however - inasmuch as they only write a Sh'tar if the debtor specifically asks them to act in the capacity of Dayanim (and not witnesses).

(a) Mar bar Rav Ashi goes even further that Rava. He maintains - that even if he asks the three men to act as judges, they do not write a Sh'tar, unless his admission takes place after they fix a place and invite him to attend the sitting.

(b) Establishing the previous distinction between Kanu mi'Yado and Lo Kanu mi'Yado by Metaltelin, we ask what the Din will be by Karka, in which case we may well write a Sh'tar even if no Kinyan was made - since the creditor will acquire the land immediately upon the debtor's admission, without a Kinyan needing to take place (in which case the Sh'tar is no more than a formality).

(c) Ameimar rules 'Ein Kosvin' (like by Metaltelin). Mar Zutra rules 'Kosvin - and that is the Halachah.

(d) Ravina told Rav Dimi from Damhari'ah that if the debtor admits to Metaltelin that are available to pay back immediately, they have a Din of Karka, and the witnesses write a Sh'tar even without a Kinyan. Rav Ashi disagrees - because Metaltelin has the Din of a loan, which stands to be spent, and does not even revert to the hands of the original owner without a Kinyan.

(a) When a Sh'tar Odisa (without a Kinyan) on which two witnesses had signed, but which did not contain the customary 'Amar Lana Kisvu ve'Chismu ve'Havu Leih', Abaye and Rava compared it to a ruling of Resh Lakish, who in the case of a Sh'tar on which two witnesses signed, but where it is not known for sure that the seller was a Gadol (at least twenty years old in the case of a Yasom) - ruled that the witnesses would not have signed on the Sh'tar unless they knew that he was.

(b) Similarly, in our case - they said, the witnesses would not have signed unless the debtor had asked them to.

(c) Rav Papi (or Rav Huna B'rei de'Rav Yehoshua) objected to Abaye and Rava's ruling however - on the grounds that if many Dayanim are not even aware of the Halachah that without a Kinyan one does not write a Sh'tar, how can one expect the Sofrim to be aware of it.

(d) They refuted Rav Papi's Kashya - by asking the Sofrim of Abaye and Rava, all of whom seem to have been acquainted with this Halachah.

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