Discussions for this daf
1. 23 Judges
DAF DISCUSSIONS - SANHEDRIN 33

A Finkle asked:

Where does the 23 Judges come from. If there is a majority of 1, as is mentioned, then the configuration would be 12-11; if there is a majority of 2; the conguration can only be 13-10 or 3.

What is the logic of 23?

Art Finkle

A Finkle, Langhorne, PA

The Kollel replies:

Based on Rashi's interpretation of the opening Mishnah on the foot of 2a (DH 'Lo ke'Hatayascha') here's what Chazal mean:

To begin with, Beis-Din can never comprise an even number, so as to eliminate the possibility of any vote ending up in a tie. Indeed, that explains the Mishnah's final statement there (after arriving at the number of twenty-two) 've'Ein Beis-Din Shakul, Mosifin Aleihem Od Echad' (thus arriving at 23, which seems to create the problem under discussion).

What the Mishnah is actually saying is that having learned from the double expression of "ha'Eidah" that one requires twenty Dayanim, ten who say Chayav and ten who say Patur, then one has no choice but to add two to the latter, allowing the minimum who rule Patur, and the two extra ones who rule Chayav, to sentence the defendant to death. So as you can see, this Din is connected with "Eidah", and has nothing to do with numbers per se. The extra two Dayanim does leave open the possibility of arriving at an unacceptable vote. What it achieves however, is that it creates the possibility of arriving at an acceptable one (without assuring it).

be'Virchas Kol Tuv

Eliezer Chrysler.