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Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Sanhedrin veha’Onashin haMesurin lahem - Chapter 7, Sanhedrin veha’Onashin haMesurin lahem - Chapter 8, Sanhedrin veha’Onashin haMesurin lahem - Chapter 9

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Sanhedrin veha’Onashin haMesurin lahem - Chapter 7

1

The following law applies when one of the litigants says: "Let so and so act as a judge for me," and the other litigant says: "Let so and so act as a judge for me." Together the two judges which were chosen by each of the litigants respectively choose a third judge and the three of them adjudicate the case for the two litigants. In this manner, a true judgment will emerge.

Even if the judge chosen by one of the litigants is a great sage who has received semichah, the one litigant cannot compel the other litigant to have him adjudicate the case. Instead, he also chooses a judge he desires.

א

אֶחָד מִבַּעֲלֵי דִּינִין שֶׁאָמַר אִישׁ פְּלוֹנִי יָדוּן לִי וְאָמַר בַּעַל דִּינוֹ פְּלוֹנִי יָדוּן לִי הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ שְׁנֵי הַדַּיָּנִים שֶׁבֵּרֵר זֶה אֶחָד וְזֶה אֶחָד הֵם בּוֹרְרִים לָהֶן דַּיָּן שְׁלִישִׁי וּשְׁלָשְׁתָּן דָּנִין לִשְׁנֵיהֶן שֶׁמִּתּוֹךְ כָּךְ יֵצֵא הַדִּין לַאֲמִתּוֹ. אֲפִלּוּ הָיָה הָאֶחָד שֶׁבָּרְרוּ בַּעֲלֵי הַדִּין חָכָם גָּדוֹל וְסָמוּךְ אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לָכוֹף אֶת בַּעַל דִּינוֹ שֶׁיָּדוּן אֵצֶל זֶה אֶלָּא גַּם הוּא בּוֹרֵר מִי שֶׁיִּרְצֶה:

2

The following rules apply when a litigant accepts his own or an opposing litigant's relative or another person who is unacceptable to serve as a judge or a witness in his case. If he affirms his commitment with a kinyan, he cannot retract his consent. If he did not affirm his commitment with a kinyan, he can retract his consent until the case is concluded. Once the verdict is rendered and the unacceptable judge ruled in his verdict - or a verdict was rendered on the basis of the testimony of an unacceptable witness - that money should be expropriated, the litigant may not retract.

The above laws also apply if a litigant accepted a person who is disqualified because he committed a transgression as two witnesses to testify concerning him or as a court of three judges to rule concerning his interests. Similarly, it applies regardless of whether he gave his consent at the risk of forfeiting rights and waiving a claim that he is pressing or he gave his consent at the risk of having to pay what the plaintiff demands of him because of the testimony of this unacceptable witness or because of the ruling of this unacceptable judge.

ב

מִי שֶׁקִּבֵּל עָלָיו קָרוֹב אוֹ פָּסוּל בֵּין לִהְיוֹתוֹ דַּיָּן בֵּין לִהְיוֹתוֹ עֵד עָלָיו. אֲפִלּוּ קִבֵּל אֶחָד מִן הַפְּסוּלִים בַּעֲבֵרָה כִּשְׁנֵי עֵדִים כְּשֵׁרִים לְהָעִיד עָלָיו אוֹ כִּשְׁלֹשָׁה בֵּית דִּין מֻמְחִין לָדוּן לוֹ. בֵּין שֶׁקִּבֵּל עַל עַצְמוֹ לְאַבֵּד זְכֻיּוֹתָיו וְלִמְחל מַה שֶּׁהָיָה טוֹעֵן עַל פִּיהֶן. בֵּין שֶׁקִּבֵּל שֶׁיִּתֵּן כָּל מַה שֶּׁיִּטְעֹן עָלָיו חֲבֵרוֹ בְּעֵדוּת זוֹ הַפָּסוּל אוֹ בְּדִינוֹ. אִם קָנוּ מִיָּדוֹ עַל זֶה אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לַחְזֹר בּוֹ. וְאִם לֹא קָנוּ מִיָּדוֹ יָכוֹל לַחְזֹר בּוֹ עַד שֶׁיִּגָּמֵר הַדִּין. נִגְמַר הַדִּין וְהוֹצִיא הַמָּמוֹן בְּדִין זֶה הַפָּסוּל אוֹ בְּעֵדוּתוֹ אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לַחְזֹר:

3

Similarly, the following rules apply when a person was obligated by a court to take an oath to a colleague and the person to whom the oath must be given state: "Take an oath on your own life, and be freed of liability," or "Take an oath on your own life that your claim is justified and I will give you everything that you claim." If he affirms his commitment with a kinyan, he cannot retract his consent. If he did not affirm his commitment with a kinyan, he can retract his consent until the case is concluded. Once the case is concluded and he took an oath as stipulated, he cannot retract and is obligated to pay.

ג

וְכֵן מִי שֶׁנִּתְחַיֵּב לַחֲבֵרוֹ שְׁבוּעָה בְּבֵית דִּין וְאָמַר לוֹ הִשָּׁבַע לִי בְּחַיֵּי רֹאשְׁךָ וְהִפָּטֵר אוֹ הִשָּׁבַע לִי בְּחַיֵּי רֹאשְׁךָ וְאֶתֵּן לְךָ כָּל מַה שֶּׁתִּטְעֹן. אִם קָנוּ מִיָּדוֹ אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לַחְזֹר בּוֹ וְאִם לֹא קָנוּ מִיָּדוֹ יָכוֹל לַחְזֹר בּוֹ עַד שֶׁיִּגָּמֵר הַדִּין. נִגְמַר הַדִּין וְנִשְׁבַּע כְּמוֹ שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לַחְזֹר וְחַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם:

4

Similar laws apply when a person was obligated to take a sh'vuat hesset and he reversed it and obligated the plaintiff. If he affirmed his consent with a kinyan or the plaintiff took the oath, the defendant cannot retract.

ד

וְהוּא הַדִּין לְמִי שֶׁנִּתְחַיֵּב שְׁבוּעַת הֶסֵּת וַהֲפָכָהּ. אִם קָנוּ מִיָּדוֹ אוֹ אִם נִשְׁבַּע זֶה שֶׁנֶּהְפְּכָה עָלָיו אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לַחְזֹר בּוֹ:

5

Similarly, when a person was not obligated to take an oath and yet he said: "I will take an oath in response to your claim," if he affirmed his statement with a kinyan, he cannot retract. If he did not affirm his statement with a kinyan, he has the right to retract until the judgment is concluded and he actually takes the oath, even though he made his commitment in court.

ה

וְהוּא הַדִּין בְּמִי שֶׁלֹּא הָיָה חַיָּב שְׁבוּעָה וְאָמַר אֶשָּׁבַע לְךָ שְׁבוּעָה. אִם קָנוּ מִיָּדוֹ אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לַחְזֹר בּוֹ. וְאִם לֹא קָנוּ מִיָּדוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁקִּבֵּל בְּבֵית דִּין חוֹזֵר עַד שֶׁיִּגָּמֵר הַדִּין וְיִשָּׁבַע:

6

When a person was obligated by a court, and then brought witnesses or proof to vindicate himself, the judgment is rescinded and the case should be tried again. Although the judgment was already rendered, whenever he brings support for his claim, the judgment is rescinded.

Even if the judges tell him: "Bring all the proofs that you have within 30 days," a litigant may have the judgment rescinded although he brings proof after 30 days. What can he do if he did not discover the proof within 30 days, but found it afterwards?

ו

מִי שֶׁנִּתְחַיֵּב בְּבֵית דִּין וְהֵבִיא עֵדִים אוֹ רְאָיָה לִזְכוּתוֹ. סוֹתֵר אֶת הַדִּין וְחוֹזֵר הַדִּין. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁכְּבָר נִגְמַר הַדִּין כָּל זְמַן שֶׁהוּא מֵבִיא רְאָיָה סוֹתֵר. אָמְרוּ לוֹ הַדַּיָּנִים כָּל רְאָיוֹת שֶׁיֵּשׁ לְךָ הָבֵא מִכָּאן וְעַד שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֵבִיא רְאָיָה לְאַחַר שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם סוֹתֵר אֶת הַדִּין. מַה יַּעֲשֶׂה אִם לֹא מָצָא בְּתוֹךְ שְׁלֹשִׁים וּמָצָא לְאַחַר שְׁלֹשִׁים:

7

If, however, the litigant completed stating his claims, he cannot have the judgment rescinded.

What is implied? The judges asked him: "Do you have witnesses supporting your claim?"

He replied: "I do not have witnesses."

"Do you have proof of your position?"

"I do not have proof," he answered.

In such a situation, if the court judged him and held him liable, the judgment is not rescinded. Although when he sees that he was being held liable, he declared: "So-and-so and so-and-so come forward and testify on my behalf" or he produced written proof from his money-belt, it is not significant. We do not pay any attention to his witnesses or his proof.

ז

אֲבָל אִם סָתַם אֶת טַעֲנוֹתָיו אֵינוֹ סוֹתֵר. כֵּיצַד. אָמְרוּ לוֹ יֵשׁ לְךָ עֵדִים אָמַר אֵין לִי עֵדִים. יֵשׁ לְךָ רְאָיָה אָמַר אֵין לִי רְאָיָה. וְדָנוּ אוֹתוֹ וְחִיְּבוּהוּ. כֵּיוָן שֶׁרָאָה שֶׁנִּתְחַיֵּב אָמַר קִרְבוּ פְּלוֹנִי וּפְלוֹנִי וְהָעִידוּנִי אוֹ שֶׁהוֹצִיא רְאָיָה מִתּוֹךְ אֲפֻנְדָּתוֹ אֵין זֶה כְּלוּם וְאֵין מַשְׁגִּיחִין עַל עֵדָיו וְעַל רְאָיָתוֹ:

8

When does the above apply? When the proof was in his possession and the witnesses were together with him in the country. If, however, he said: "I have neither witnesses, nor proof," and afterwards, witnesses came from overseas or a leather satchel belonging to his father where legal documents were held had been entrusted to another person and that person came and supplied him with proof, he may call on these witnesses and/or this proof and have the ruling rescinded.

Why may he have the ruling rescinded? Because he could claim: "The reason I said: 'I don't have any witnesses' and 'I don't have any proof is because they were not available to me." Whenever he could make such a claim and there is substance to his words, he is not considered to have completed stating his claims when he originally stated: "I have no witnesses...." He may bring the witnesses and/or proof and have the judgment rescinded.

Accordingly, if he explicitly states: "I have no witnesses at all, neither here or overseas, nor any written proof, neither in my possession or in the possession of others," he cannot have the judgment rescinded.

ח

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים כְּשֶׁהָיְתָה הָרְאָיָה אֶצְלוֹ וְהָעֵדִים עִמּוֹ בַּמְּדִינָה. אֲבָל אִם אָמַר אֵין לִי עֵדִים וְאֵין לִי רְאָיָה וּלְאַחַר מִכָּאן בָּאוּ לוֹ עֵדִים מִמְּדִינַת הַיָּם. אוֹ שֶׁהָיְתָה הַחֵמֶת שֶׁל אָבִיו שֶׁיֵּשׁ שָׁם הַשְּׁטָרוֹת מֻפְקֶדֶת בְּיַד אֲחֵרִים וּבָא זֶה שֶׁהַפִּקָּדוֹן אֶצְלוֹ וְהוֹצִיא לוֹ רְאָיָתוֹ. הֲרֵי זֶה מֵבִיא וְסוֹתֵר. וּמִפְּנֵי מָה סוֹתֵר מִפְּנֵי שֶׁיָּכוֹל לִטְעֹן וְלוֹמַר זֶה שֶׁאָמַרְתִּי אֵין לִי עֵדִים אֵין לִי רְאָיָה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁלֹּא הָיוּ מְצוּיִין אֶצְלִי. וְכָל זְמַן שֶׁיָּכוֹל לִטְעֹן וְלוֹמַר זֶה שֶׁאָמַרְתִּי אֵין לִי עֵדִים אֵין לִי רְאָיָה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁלֹּא הָיוּ מְצוּיִין אֶצְלִי אוֹ מִפְּנֵי כָּךְ וְכָךְ אָמַרְתִּי אֵין לִי עֵדִים וְאֵין לִי רְאָיָה וְהָיָה מַמָּשׁ בִּדְבָרָיו הֲרֵי זֶה לֹא סָתַם טַעֲנוֹתָיו וְסוֹתֵר. לְפִיכָךְ אִם פֵּרֵשׁ וְאָמַר אֵין לִי עֵדִים כְּלָל לֹא הֵנָּה וְלֹא בִּמְדִינַת הַיָּם וְלֹא רְאָיָה כְּלָל לֹא בְּיָדִי וְלֹא בְּיַד אֲחֵרִים אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לִסְתֹּר:

9

When does the above apply? With regard to an adult who was held liable and then brought written proof or witnesses after completing the statement of his arguments.

Different concepts apply, however, with regard to an heir who was a minor when the person whose estate he inherited died and a suit was lodged against him because of that person after he came of age. Even though he stated: "I have neither witnesses, nor proof," and after he departed from the court after being held liable, others told him: "We know testimony that favors your father that will cause this judgment to be rescinded," or "The person whose estate you inherited entrusted this written proof to me," he may bring the testimony or the proof immediately and have the judgment rescinded. The rationale is that a minor is not aware of all the proofs possessed by the person whose estate he inherited.

ט

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּגָדוֹל שֶׁנִּתְחַיֵּב וְהֵבִיא רְאָיוֹת וְהֵבִיא עֵדִים אַחַר שֶׁסָּתַם טַעֲנוֹתָיו. אֲבָל יוֹרֵשׁ שֶׁהוּא קָטָן כְּשֶׁמֵּת מוֹרִישׁוֹ וּבָאוּ עָלָיו טְעָנוֹת מֵחֲמַת מוֹרִישׁוֹ אַחַר שֶׁהִגְדִּיל וְאָמַר אֵין לִי עֵדִים וְאֵין לִי רְאָיָה וְאַחַר שֶׁיָּצָא מִבֵּית דִּין חַיָּב אָמְרוּ לוֹ אֲחֵרִים אָנוּ יוֹדְעִים לְאָבִיךָ עֵדוּת שֶׁתִּסְתֹּר בָּהּ דִּין זֶה. אוֹ אָמַר לוֹ אֶחָד מוֹרִישְׁךָ הִפְקִיד רְאָיָה זוֹ. הֲרֵי זֶה מֵבִיא מִיָּד וְסוֹתֵר שֶׁאֵין הַיּוֹרֵשׁ קָטָן יוֹדֵעַ כָּל רְאָיוֹת מוֹרִישׁוֹ:

10

The following rules apply when a person affirmed his consent to the following agreement with a kinyan: If he does not come on this-and-this day and take an oath, his colleague's claim would be accepted and that colleague could take whatever he claims without taking an oath. Alternatively, if he does not come on this-and-this day, take an oath, and collect his due, he forfeits his right to the claim. Nothing is to be granted him and his colleague is released of liability. Should that day pass and he not come, the stipulation is binding and he forfeits his rights.

If, however, he brings proof that he was held back by forces beyond his control on that day, he is not bound by his agreement. He may take an oath against the claim issued by his colleague as before. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

י

מִי שֶׁקָּנוּ מִיָּדוֹ שֶׁאִם לֹא יָבוֹא בְּיוֹם פְּלוֹנִי וְיִשָּׁבַע יִהְיֶה חֲבֵרוֹ נֶאֱמָן בְּטַעֲנָתוֹ וְיִטּל כָּל מַה שֶּׁטָּעַן בְּלֹא שְׁבוּעָה. אוֹ שֶׁאִם לֹא יָבוֹא בְּיוֹם פְּלוֹנִי וְיִשָּׁבַע וְיִטּל אִבֵּד אֶת זְכוּתוֹ וְאֵין לוֹ כְּלוּם וְיִפָּטֵר חֲבֵרוֹ. וְעָבַר הַיּוֹם וְלֹא בָּא נִתְקַיְּמוּ הַתְּנָאִים וְאִבֵּד אֶת זְכוּתוֹ. וְאִם הֵבִיא רְאָיָה שֶׁהָיָה אָנוּס בְּאוֹתוֹ הַיּוֹם הֲרֵי זֶה פָּטוּר מִקִּנְיָן זֶה וְיִשָּׁבַע כְּשֶׁיִּתְבָּעֶנּוּ חֲבֵרוֹ כְּשֶׁהָיָה מִקֹּדֶם. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

Sanhedrin veha’Onashin haMesurin lahem - Chapter 8

1

When a court reaches a split decision - some say that the defendant is not liable, and others say that he is liable, we follow the majority. This is a positive mitzvah of Scriptural origin, as Exodus 23:2 states: "Follow after the inclination of the majority."

When does the above apply? With regard to financial matters and with regard to laws involving questions of what is forbidden and what is permitted, what is impure and what is pure and the like. With regard to capital cases, different laws apply if there is a difference of opinion whether the transgressor should be executed or not. If the majority rule to exonerate him, he is exonerated. If, however, the majority rules that he is guilty, he should not be executed until there are at least two more judges who hold him guilty than who exonerate him.

According to the Oral Tradition, we learned that the Torah warned against this saying Ibid.: "Do not follow the majority to do harm." That is to say that if the majority are inclined "to do harm," i.e., to execute the defendant, you should not follow them until there is a significant inclination, and there is a majority of two judges who rule that he is guilty.

This is implied by (Ibid.): "to follow the inclination of the majority and influence the judgment." A positive inclination may be made on the basis of a majority of one, a harmful inclination, on the basis of a majority of two. All of these concepts are based on the Oral Tradition.

א

בֵּית דִּין שֶׁנֶּחְלְקוּ מִקְצָתָם אוֹמְרִים זַכַּאי וּמִקְצָתָם אוֹמְרִים חַיָּב הוֹלְכִין אַחַר הָרֹב. וְזוֹ מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה שֶׁל תּוֹרָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כג ב) "אַחֲרֵי רַבִּים לְהַטֹּת". בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּדִינֵי מָמוֹנוֹת וּבִשְׁאָר דִּינֵי אָסוּר וּמֻתָּר וְטָמֵא וְטָהוֹר וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן. אֲבָל בְּדִינֵי נְפָשׁוֹת אִם נֶחְלְקוּ בָּזֶה הַחוֹטֵא אִם יֵהָרֵג אוֹ לֹא יֵהָרֵג. אִם הָיוּ הָרֹב מְזַכִּים זַכַּאי וְאִם הָיוּ הָרֹב מְחַיְּבִין אֵינוֹ נֶהֱרָג עַד שֶׁיִּהְיוּ הַמְחַיְּבִין יֶתֶר עַל הַמְזַכִּים שְׁנַיִם. מִפִּי הַשְּׁמוּעָה לָמְדוּ שֶׁעַל זֶה הִזְהִירָה תּוֹרָה וְאָמְרָה (שמות כג ב) "לֹא תִהְיֶה אַחֲרֵי רַבִּים לְרָעֹת". כְּלוֹמַר אִם הָרֹב נוֹטִים לְרָעָה לַהֲרֹג לֹא תִּהְיֶה אַחֲרֵיהֶם עַד שֶׁיִּטּוּ הַטָּיָה גְּדוֹלָה וְיוֹסִיפוּ הַמְחַיְּבִין שְׁנַיִם. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כג ב) "לִנְטֹת אַחֲרֵי רַבִּים לְהַטֹּת" הַטָּיָתְךָ לְטוֹבָה עַל פִּי אֶחָד לְרָעָה עַל פִּי שְׁנַיִם. וְכָל אֵלּוּ הַדְּבָרִים קַבָּלָה הֵם:

2

The following laws apply when there is a difference of opinion within a court of three judges with regard to a monetary issue: If two say the defendant's claim should be vindicated and one says that he is liable, his claim is vindicated. If two say that he is liable and one says his claim should be vindicated, he is held liable. If one says that his claim should be vindicated and one says he is liable, or two say that his claim should be vindicated or that he is liable and the third judge says: "I do not know," we add another two judges. Thus five judges debate the matter.

If three say the defendant's claim should be vindicated and two say that he is liable, his claim is vindicated. If three say that he is liable and two say his claim should be vindicated, he is held liable. If two say that his claim should be vindicated and two say he is liable, and the fifth judge says: "I do not know," we add another two judges. If, however, four say his claim should be vindicated or that he is liable and one says: "I don't know," or three say his claim should be vindicated and one says that he is liable, and the fifth says: "I don't know," we follow the majority. This applies whether the judge who says: "I don't know" is the same who said "I don't know" at the outset or another individual.

If, in this situation as well, the opinions are evenly balanced and one says: "I don't know," or in any situation that there is a doubt, we continue to add two more judges until we reach 71 judges. If, after reaching 71, the issue is still unresolved, i.e., 35 hold him liable, and 35 wish to vindicate his claim and one says: "I don't know," they debate the matter until the judge who has not made up his mind sides with one of the opinions and thus there will be 36 who vindicate him or 36 who hold him liable. If neither that judge or another changes his opinion, the matter remains unresolved and the money is allowed to remain in the possession of its owner.

ב

בֵּית דִּין שֶׁל שְׁלֹשָׁה שֶׁנֶּחְלְקוּ שְׁנַיִם אוֹמְרִים זַכַּאי וְאֶחָד אוֹמֵר חַיָּב הֲרֵי זֶה זַכַּאי. שְׁנַיִם אוֹמְרִים חַיָּב וְאֶחָד אוֹמֵר זַכַּאי הֲרֵי זֶה חַיָּב. אֶחָד אוֹמֵר זַכַּאי וְאֶחָד אוֹמֵר חַיָּב וְאֶחָד אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ. אוֹ שֶׁאָמְרוּ שְׁנַיִם זַכַּאי אוֹ חַיָּב וְהַשְּׁלִישִׁי אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ יוֹסִיפוּ הַדַּיָּנִים שְׁנַיִם. נִמְצְאוּ חֲמִשָּׁה נוֹשְׂאִים וְנוֹתְנִים בַּדָּבָר. אָמְרוּ שְׁלֹשָׁה מֵהֶם זַכַּאי וּשְׁנַיִם אוֹמְרִים חַיָּב הֲרֵי זֶה זַכַּאי. אָמְרוּ שְׁלֹשָׁה חַיָּב וּשְׁנַיִם זַכַּאי הֲרֵי זֶה חַיָּב. אָמְרוּ שְׁנַיִם מֵהֶם זַכַּאי וּשְׁנַיִם מֵהֶם חַיָּב וְאֶחָד אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ מוֹסִיפִין שְׁנַיִם. אֲבָל אִם אָמְרוּ אַרְבָּעָה זַכַּאי אוֹ חַיָּב וְאֶחָד אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ. אוֹ שֶׁאָמְרוּ שְׁלֹשָׁה זַכַּאי וְאֶחָד חַיָּב וְאָמַר אֶחָד אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ בֵּין שֶׁהָיָה זֶה שֶׁאָמַר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ הוּא שֶׁאָמַר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ בַּתְּחִלָּה בֵּין שֶׁאָמַר אַחֵר הוֹלְכִים אַחַר הָרֹב. הָיוּ מֶחֱצָה לְמֶחֱצָה וְאֶחָד אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ מוֹסִיפִין שְׁנַיִם אֲחֵרִים. וְכֵן אִם נִסְתַּפֵּק הַדָּבָר מוֹסִיפִין וְהוֹלְכִין עַד שִׁבְעִים וְאֶחָד. הִגִּיעוּ לְשִׁבְעִים וְאֶחָד וְאָמְרוּ שְׁלֹשִׁים וַחֲמִשָּׁה חַיָּב וּשְׁלֹשִׁים וַחֲמִשָּׁה זַכַּאי וְאֶחָד אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ נוֹשְׂאִים וְנוֹתְנִים עִמּוֹ עַד שֶׁיַּחֲזֹר לְדִבְרֵי הַצַּד הָאֶחָד וְנִמְצְאוּ שְׁלֹשִׁים וְשִׁשָּׁה מְזַכִּים אוֹ מְחַיְּבִין. וְאִם לֹא חָזַר לֹא הוּא וְלֹא אֶחָד מֵהֶן הֲרֵי הַדָּבָר סָפֵק וּמַעֲמִידִין אֶת הַמָּמוֹן בְּחֶזְקַת בְּעָלָיו:

3

Whenever a judge says: "I don't know," he is not required to explain the rationale for his statements and explain the reason why he is in doubt. In contrast, a judge who rules that a litigant's claim is vindicated must state why he vindicates the claim, or if he holds him liable, he must state why he holds him liable.

ג

כָּל מִי שֶׁאָמַר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לָתֵת טַעַם לִדְבָרָיו וּלְהוֹדִיעַ מֵאֵי זֶה טַעַם בָּא לוֹ הַסָּפֵק. כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁמַּרְאֶה הַמְזַכֶּה מֵאֵי זֶה טַעַם מְזַכֶּה וְהַמְחַיֵּב מֵאֵי זֶה טַעַם מְחַיֵּב:

Sanhedrin veha’Onashin haMesurin lahem - Chapter 9

1

When all the judges of a Sanhedrin begin their judgment of a case involving capital punishment and say that the defendant is liable, he is exonerated. There must be some who seek to exonerate him and argue on his behalf, but yet the majority hold him liable. Only then he is executed.

א

סַנְּהֶדְרִין שֶׁפָּתְחוּ כֻּלָּם בְּדִינֵי נְפָשׁוֹת תְּחִלָּה וְאָמְרוּ כֻּלָּן חַיָּב הֲרֵי זֶה פָּטוּר עַד שֶׁיִּהְיוּ שָׁם מִקְצָת מְזַכִּין שֶׁיְּהַפְּכוּ בִּזְכוּתוֹ וְיִרְבּוּ הַמְחַיְּבִין וְאַחַר כָּךְ יַהֲרֹג:

2

The following rules apply when there is a difference of opinion in a minor Sanhedrin. If twelve judges say that he should be exonerated and eleven say that he should be held liable, he is exonerated. If twelve say that he is liable and eleven say that he should be exonerated or eleven say that he should be exonerated and eleven say that he is liable, and one says: "I don't know," we add two judges. Even if there are twelve who wish to exonerate him and twelve who hold him liable, and one who one says: "I don't know," we add two judges. The rationale is that the judge who says: "I don't know," is considered as if he does not exist, for he cannot change his mind and explain why the defendant should be held liable. Thus after the addition, there are 24 judges aside from the person who says: "I don't know."

If twelve say that he should be exonerated and twelve say that he is liable, he is exonerated. If eleven say that he should be exonerated and thirteen say that he is liable, he is liable. This applies even if one of the original judges says: "I don't know." For there are two more judges who rule that he is liable.

If twelve say that he should be exonerated and twelve say that he is liable, we add two judges. And similarly, if the balance is not broken, we continue to add two judges until there is at least one more judge who rules that he should be exonerated or at least two more judges who rule that he should be held liable. If there are an even number of judges on both sides, and one says: "I don't know," or if the number of judges who rule that he is liable is only one more than those who rule that he should be exonerated, we continue to add judges until we reach 71.

The following rules apply when the court reaches that size. If 36 say that he should be exonerated and 35 say that he is liable, he should be exonerated. If 36 say that he is liable and 35 say that he should be exonerated, they debate back and forth against each other until one of them sees the other's perspective and either exonerates him or holds him liable. If such a change in perspective does not take place, the judge of the greatest stature declares: "This judgment has become aged," and he is released.

If 35 say that he is liable and 35 say that he should be exonerated, and one says "I don't know," we release him. If 34 say that he should be exonerated and 36 say that he is liable, and one says: "I don't know," he is held liable. For there is a majority of two judges who hold him liable.

ב

סַנְהֶדְרִי קְטַנָּה שֶׁנֶּחְלְקוּ בְּדִינֵי נְפָשׁוֹת שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר אוֹמְרִים זַכַּאי וְאַחַד עָשָׂר אוֹמְרִים חַיָּב הֲרֵי זֶה זַכַּאי. שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר אוֹמְרִים חַיָּב וְאַחַד עָשָׂר אוֹמְרִים זַכַּאי אוֹ שֶׁאָמְרוּ אַחַד עָשָׂר זַכַּאי וְאַחַד עָשָׂר חַיָּב וְאֶחָד אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ אֲפִלּוּ עֶשְׂרִים וּשְׁנַיִם מְזַכִּין אוֹ מְחַיְּבִין וְהָאֶחָד אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ יוֹסִיפוּ שְׁנַיִם. זֶה שֶׁאָמַר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ הֲרֵי הוּא כְּמִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵינוֹ חוֹזֵר וּמְלַמֵּד חוֹבָה וְנִמְצְאוּ אַחַר הַתּוֹסֶפֶת עֶשְׂרִים וְאַרְבָּעָה חוּץ מִזֶּה הַמִּסְתַּפֵּק. אָמְרוּ שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר זַכַּאי וּשְׁנֵים עָשָׂר חַיָּב הֲרֵי זֶה זַכַּאי. אַחַד עָשָׂר אוֹמְרִים זַכַּאי וּשְׁלֹשָׁה עָשָׂר אוֹמְרִים חַיָּב אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהָאֶחָד מִן הָרִאשׁוֹנִים אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ הֲרֵי זֶה חַיָּב שֶׁהֲרֵי הַמְחַיְּבִין רַבּוּ בִּשְׁנַיִם. אָמְרוּ שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר זַכַּאי וּשְׁנֵים עָשָׂר חַיָּב וְאֶחָד אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ מוֹסִיפִין שְׁנַיִם אֲחֵרִים. וְכֵן מוֹסִיפִין וְהוֹלְכִין עַד שֶׁיִּרְבּוּ הַמְזַכִּין אֶחָד וִיהֵא זַכַּאי אוֹ יִרְבּוּ הַמְחַיְּבִין שְׁנַיִם אוֹ יוֹתֵר וִיהֵא חַיָּב. הָיוּ אֵלּוּ כְּנֶגֶד אֵלּוּ וְאֶחָד אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ אוֹ שֶׁהָיוּ הַמְחַיְּבִין יוֹתֵר אֶחָד בִּלְבַד מוֹסִיפִין וְהוֹלְכִין עַד שִׁבְעִים וְאֶחָד. הִגִּיעוּ לְשִׁבְעִים וְאֶחָד שְׁלֹשִׁים וְשִׁשָּׁה אוֹמְרִים זַכַּאי וּשְׁלֹשִׁים וַחֲמִשָּׁה אוֹמְרִים חַיָּב הֲרֵי זֶה זַכַּאי. שְׁלֹשִׁים וְשִׁשָּׁה אוֹמְרִים חַיָּב וּשְׁלֹשִׁים וַחֲמִשָּׁה אוֹמְרִים זַכַּאי דָּנִים אֵלּוּ כְּנֶגֶד אֵלּוּ עַד שֶׁיִּרְאֶה אֶחָד מֵהֶן דִּבְרֵי חֲבֵרוֹ וּמְזַכִּין אוֹתוֹ אוֹ מְחַיְּבִין אוֹתוֹ. וְאִם לֹא רָאָה גָּדוֹל שֶׁבַּדַּיָּנִים אוֹמֵר נִזְדַּקֵּן הַדִּין וּפוֹטְרִין אוֹתוֹ. שְׁלֹשִׁים וַחֲמִשָּׁה אוֹמְרִים חַיָּב וּשְׁלֹשִׁים וַחֲמִשָּׁה אוֹמְרִים זַכַּאי וְאֶחָד אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ פּוֹטְרִין אוֹתוֹ. אַרְבָּעָה וּשְׁלֹשִׁים אוֹמְרִים זַכַּאי וְשִׁשָּׁה וּשְׁלֹשִׁים אוֹמְרִים חַיָּב וְאֶחָד אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ חַיָּב שֶׁהֲרֵי רַבּוּ הַמְחַיְּבִין שְׁנַיִם:

3

When there is a difference of opinion in the Supreme Sanhedrin, whether with regard to a law involving capital punishment, monetary law, or other matters of Torah law, we do not add judges. Instead, they debate against each other and the ruling follows the majority. If their difference of opinion involves whether a person will be executed, they should debate against each other until they either exonerate him or hold him liable.

ג

בֵּית דִּין הַגָּדוֹל שֶׁבָּא לָהֶם מַחְלֹקֶת בֵּין בְּדִינֵי נְפָשׁוֹת בֵּין בְּדִינֵי מָמוֹנוֹת בֵּין בְּדִינֵי תּוֹרָה. אֵין מוֹסִיפִין עֲלֵיהֶן אֶלָּא דָּנִין אֵלּוּ כְּנֶגֶד אֵלּוּ וְהוֹלְכִין אַחַר הָרֹב שֶׁלָּהֶן. וְאִם בְּדִין אֶחָד מִן הַנֶּהֱרָגִין נֶחְלְקוּ דָּנִין אֵלּוּ כְּנֶגֶד אֵלּוּ עַד שֶׁיִּפְטְרוּהוּ אוֹ יִתְחַיֵּב:

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The Mishneh Torah was the Rambam's (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) magnum opus, a work spanning hundreds of chapters and describing all of the laws mentioned in the Torah. To this day it is the only work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws which are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in place. Participating in the one of the annual study cycles of these laws (3 chapters/day, 1 chapter/day, or Sefer Hamitzvot) is a way we can play a small but essential part in rebuilding the final Temple.
Download Rambam Study Schedules: 3 Chapters | 1 Chapter | Daily Mitzvah