POINT BY POINT SUMMARY
Prepared by Rabbi P. Feldman
of Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Yerushalayim
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
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Previous daf Sanhedrin 37
1) HOW SANHEDRIN SITS (cont.)
(a) Three rows of Chachamim sit in front of the Sanhedrin;
each knows his proper place.
2) FRIGHTENING THE WITNESSES
(b) If they must give Semichah to one (e.g. one of the
Sanhedrin died), they Somech someone in the first row,
someone from the second row goes to the first row,
someone from the third row goes to the second, and they
choose someone else to sit in the last row;
1. He would not sit in the vacated seat, rather, in the
place fitting for him.
(c) (Gemara) Question: What is the source of this?
(d) Answer (Rav Acha bar Chanina): "Sharerech Agan ha'Sahar
Al Yechsar ha'Mezeg" - "Sharerech" refers to the Great
1. It is called Sharerech (navel) because it sits in
(Liskas ha'Gazis, in the) middle of the world.
(e) "Bitnech Aremas Chitim" - just as all enjoy wheat, all
enjoy the reasons the Sanhedrin gives.
2. "Agan" - because it is Magen (protects) the entire
3. "Ha'Sahar" - they sit in a (semi-)circle, like the
4. "Al Yechsar ha'Mezeg" - one may leave the Sanhedrin
only if 23 (the size of a small Sanhedrin) will
(f) "Sugah ba'Shoshanim" - Yisrael do not breach even a wall
of roses (Rabbinical enactments).
1. A Min: You permit a Nidah to be secluded with her
husband - is it possible that a fire will not singe
(g) (Reish Lakish): We learn from "K'Felach ha'Rimon
Rakasech" - even Reikim (empty Yisraelim) are full of
Mitzvos like a pomegranate (is full of seeds).
2. Rav Kahana: The Torah testified about us - "Sugah
ba'Shoshanim", we do not breach even a wall of
(h) (R. Zeira): We learn from "Va'Yarach Es Re'ach Begadav" -
we read this "Bogedav" (even betrayers in Yisrael have a
(i) Some uncouth people lived in R. Zeira's area; he endeared
them in order to encourage them to repent; other Rabanan
were upset about this.
1. When R. Zeira died, these people reasoned: until
now, R. Zeira used to pray for us - now who will
pray for us? They did a proper repentance.
(a) (Mishnah): To frighten the witnesses in capital cases, we
bring them in and say: perhaps you are speaking through
estimation, or what you heard from other witnesses;
(b) Perhaps you don't know that we will check you with
Drishos and Chakiros?
(c) You should know that capital cases are not like monetary
cases: in monetary cases (if one testified falsely), he
could pay and atone for his sin;
1. If a person killed through false testimony, he is
responsible for his blood and that of all the
descendants that would have come from him for all
(d) Hash-m originally created only one man, to teach that
killing one Yisrael is like destroying an entire world,
and saving one Yisrael is like saving an entire world.
2. Kayin killed Hevel, it says "Demei Achicha
(plural)", showing that he is charged for his blood
and that of the descendants fitting to come from
3. Also, it says *Demei*, because his blood was spilled
over wood and stones.
(e) Also, this promotes Shalom among people, one cannot say
'My progenitor was created before yours'.
(f) Also, this prevents Minim (heretics) from saying that
there are different powers that created.
(g) Also, this shows the greatness of Hash-m: if a person
makes a stamp to mint coins, they all look the same;
1. Hash-m made all people in the mold of Adam
ha'Rishon, yet no two people look alike.
(h) Therefore, everyone must say 'the world was created for
(i) Perhaps you (the witnesses) will say 'Why should we enter
this matter (to kill the defendant)'?
(j) It says "V'Hu Ed O Ra'ah O Yada Im Lo Yagid" - if you
saw, you must testify.
3) GALUS ATONES
(k) Perhaps you will say 'Why should we be liable for his
(l) "Va'Avod Resha'im Rinah" - there will not be retribution.
(m) (Gemara - Beraisa) Saying by estimation: perhaps you saw
Reuven chasing Shimon to kill him, and you found Reuven
holding a sword dripping with blood and Shimon was
murdered and still quivering - if so, you saw nothing (to
1. (Beraisa - Shimon ben Shetach): I saw Levi chasing
Yehudah into a ruin; I ran after him, and I found
Levi holding a sword dripping with blood and Yehudah
was murdered and quivering. I said 'Rasha - who
killed him, me or you? However, I cannot do anything
- "Al Pi Shnayim Edim Yumas ha'Mes". The One who
knows thoughts will punish one who kills another.'
(n) Question: This was not the proper death penalty for Levi
(a murderer is beheaded)!
2. Before he moved, a snake bit Levi and killed him.
1. (Rav Yosef): After the Mikdash was destroyed, even
though the Sanhedrin does not sit (in its place, to
judge capital cases), the four death penalties did
(o) Answer: Levi had done another transgression worthy of
2. Objection: Indeed, they ceased!
3. Correction: Rather, death according to the four
death penalties did not cease:
i. Someone deserving of stoning (Beis Din throws
him down from a height; if he survives, they
drop a boulder on him, if necessary, he is
stoned) falls from a roof, or a beast tramples
ii. Someone deserving of burning falls into a fire,
or a snake bites him (the venom burns him);
iii. Someone deserving of the sword, the kingdom
kills him (e.g. by a guillotine) or robbers
iv. Someone deserving of choking drowns in a river
or dies of quinsy (a throat sickness).
1. Someone liable for two different Misos Beis Din
receives the more severe one.
(p) (Mishnah): By estimation.
(q) Inference: In capital cases, testimony by estimation is
invalid - it is valid for monetary cases!
(r) Suggestion: Our Mishnah is like R. Acha.
1. (Beraisa - R. Acha): A dead camel was found next to
a camel that is mating (some say - that bites) - we
are sure that it killed it.
(s) Objection: We also tell them that Ed mi'Pi Ed (a witness
who testifies about what he heard from another witness)
is unacceptable - will you also infer that this is Kosher
for monetary cases?!
1. (Mishnah): If he says 'Reuven himself told me', or
'Ploni told me', this is not testimony;
(t) Conclusion: Even though it is also invalid for monetary
cases, we tell capital witnesses that it is invalid - the
same applies to testimony by estimation.
2. He must say 'Reuven admitted to him in front of us
that he owes him 200'.
(a) (Mishnah): (...It says *Dmei*, because his blood was on
wood and stones.)
(b) (Rav Yehudah brei d'R. Chiya): This teaches that Kayin
wounded Hevel in many places, he did not know where to
hit him to kill him, until he struck his neck.
(c) (Rav Yehudah brei d'R. Chiya): From the day that the
earth opened its mouth to swallow Hevel's blood, it did
not open it again - "Mi'Kenaf ha'Aretz Zmiros Shamanu" -
from the corner of the earth, not from the mouth.
(d) Question (Chizkiyah): "Va'Tiftach ha'Aretz Es Piha"!
(e) Answer (Rav Yehudah): It opened its mouth for evil, not
(f) (Rav Yehudah brei d'R. Chiya): Galus atones halfway -
Kayin's judgment was "Vehayisi Na va'Nod", he only had to
fulfill half, "Vayeshev b'Eretz Nod".
(g) (Rav Yehudah): Galus atones for three things: (people who
were liable to die) "Ba'Cherev uva'Ra'av
uva'Dever...v'Nafal Al ha'Kasdim...Vechayah" (if they are
exiled by the Babylonians, they will live).
(h) (R. Yochanan): Galus atones for everything - "Ha'Ish
ha'Zeh Ariri...Lo Yitzlach mi'Zar'o...Al Kisei"
(Yechonyah will not have children, his throne will not
pass to his seed)"; after he was exiled, it says "U'Vnei
Yechanyah Asir She'alti'el Beno";
1. His son is called "Asir" because he was conceived in
2. "She'alti'el" - Hash-m planted him in the womb
unnaturally - normally, a woman does not get
pregnant standing up, but his mother did.
3. Also - "She'alti'el", Hash-m permitted His vow that
Yechanyah would not have children.
4. His son is called Zerubavel because he was Nizra
(conceived) in Bavel;
5. His son's true name was Nechemyah ben Chachalyah.