SANHEDRIN 14 (7 Av) - Dedicated in memory of Dr. Simcha Bekelnitzky (Simcha Gedalya ben Shraga Feibush) of Queens, N.Y., Niftar 7 Av 5757, by his wife and daughters. G-d-fearing and knowledgeable, Simcha was well known in the community for his Chesed and Tzedakah. He will long be remembered.


(a)Question: Is it really true that one cannot give Semichah?!

1.Rav Yehudah taught that if not for R. Yehudah ben Bava, fines would have been forgotten from Yisrael;

2.Objection: Why would they be forgotten? Chachamim should teach them!

3.Correction: Rather, they would not have been enforced, for Romi decreed to kill anyone who gives Semichah or receives Semichah, and to destroy the city and its outskirts where Semichah was given;

4.R. Yehudah ben Bava went between two mountains, between two cities, between their outskirts, and gave Semichah to R. Meir, R. Yehudah, R. Yosi, R. Shimon, and R. Elazar ben Shamu'a (Rav Avya adds, also R. Nechemyah). (They lived long after the Sanhedrin was exiled, and they collected fines!)

5.When the troops of Romi found out, R. Yehudah ben Bava told them 'flee. I will remain here.' They pierced him with 300 iron spears.

(b)Answer: There were other (less important) judges with him. They were not mentioned, to show honor to R. Yehudah ben Bava.

(c)Question: Did R. Yehudah ben Bava really give Semichah to R. Meir?!

1.(Rabah bar bar Chanah): R. Akiva gave Semichah to R. Meir.

(d)Answer: R. Akiva was Somech him, but he did not accept it (because he was not yet married). R. Yehudah ben Bava was Somech him, and he accepted it.

(e)(R. Yehoshua ben Levi): Semichah does not apply in Chutz la'Aretz.

(f)Question: What does this mean?

1.Suggestion: Fines cannot be judged at all in Chutz la'Aretz.

2.Rejection (Mishnah): Sanhedriyos (with authority even to kill) apply in Eretz Yisrael and Chutz la'Aretz.

(g)Answer: We do not give Semichah in Chutz la'Aretz.

(h)The following is obvious. If the judges giving Semichah are in Chutz la'Aretz and the ones receiving Semichah are in Eretz Yisrael, this is invalid. We do not give Semichah in Chutz la'Aretz!

(i)Question: If the judges giving Semichah are in Eretz Yisrael and the ones receiving Semichah are in Chutz la'Aretz, what is the law?

(j)Answer: We may learn from R. Yochanan. He sorely wanted to be Somech R. Shemen bar Aba, but (he was unable, for) he never had two judges with him when R. Shemen was present.

1.One of R. Shimon ben Zirud and R. Yonason ben Achmai was with R. Yochanan, and he received Semichah. The other was not with him, and did not get Semichah.

(k)R. Yochanan was very pained that he could not be Somech R. Chanina and R. Oshiya. They told him 'don't feel bad. We are from Beis Eli';

1.(R. Shmuel bar Nachman): We are not Somech Chachamim from Beis Eli - "v'Lo Yihyeh Zaken b'Veisecha Kol ha'Yamim."

2.Question: What does 'Zaken' refer to?

i.Suggestion: It refers to someone old (all his descendants will die young).

ii.Rejection: Another verse teaches this - "v'Chol Marbis Beisecha Yamusu Anashim"!

3.Answer: Rather, they will not get Semichah.

(l)R. Zeira was evading receiving Semichah due to R. Elazar's teaching.

1.(R. Elazar): One should live in obscurity, for then he will live a long time.

(m)When he heard the following teaching of R. Elazar, he sought to get Semichah.

1.(R. Elazar): One does not receive a position of importance until all his transgressions are forgiven.

(n)When R. Zeira received Semichah, they sang 'he is like a Kalah who bears grace without make-up.'

(o)When R. Ami and R. Asi received Semichah they sang 'we should always be Somech Chachamim like these, and not those who switch (from the true law), those who give rulings without reason, those who refrain from giving the reasons, or empty people.'

(p)When R. Avahu would come to the Kaiser's house after learning, the women would come out and sing 'a teacher and leader of his nation, a source of light. Blessed is your coming!'


(a)(Mishnah - R. Shimon): Three judges are needed for Eglah Arufah (the beheaded calf).

(b)(Beraisa - R. Yehudah): "V'Yotz'u Zekenecha v'Shofetecha" - 'Zekenecha' teaches two judges, and 'Shofetecha' teaches two. We do not make a Beis Din with an even number of judges, so we add a fifth;

(c)R. Shimon says, 'Zekenecha' teaches two. We add a third to make an odd number.

(d)Question: What does R. Shimon learn from 'Shofetecha'?

(e)Answer: They must be the most special judges, i.e. from the Great Sanhedrin.

1.R. Yehudah says, it says "Zekenecha" instead of 'Ziknei' to teach that they must be the most special.

2.R. Shimon says, had it said Ziknei, this would connote plain Chachamim (who are not on a Sanhedrin). He said only 'Zekenecha', this would connote Chachamim of a regular Sanhedrin;

i.'Shofetecha' teaches that they must be from the Great Sanhedrin.

3.R. Yehudah learns a Gezerah Shavah "Ziknei-Ziknei" from "v'Somchu Ziknei ha'Edah" (on the Par He'elem Davar). Just like those are the most special of the congregation, also these are the most special Zekenim.

4.Objection: If we learn from there, we should also learn five judges from there! (Why must we learn from "Zekenecha v'Shofetecha"?)

(f)Retraction: Rather, R. Yehudah does not learn a Gezerah Shavah. He learns like R. Shimon, but he learns another two judges from the 'Vov' in 'v'Shofetecha';

1.R. Shimon does not expound the 'Vov'.

(g)Question: If every plural word teaches two judges, we should learn another two from "v'Yotz'u", and two more from "u'Modedu"! (R. Yehudah should require nine judges, and R. Shimon should require seven.)

(h)Answer: "V'Yotz'u" and "u'Modedu" teach other laws;

1.(Beraisa): "V'Yotz'u" - the judges themselves, and not their Sheluchim. "U'Modedu" - even if it is blatantly clear which city is closest, they must measure.


(i)Our Mishnah is not like R. Eliezer ben Yakov.

1.(Beraisa - R. Eliezer ben Yakov): "V'Yotz'u Zekenecha v'Shofetecha" - 'Zekenecha' refers to the Sanhedrin;

2.'Shofetecha' refers to the king ("Melech b'Mishpat Ya'amid Aretz") and the Kohen Gadol ("U'Vasa El ha'Kohanim... ha'Shofet).

(j)Question: Surely, R. Eliezer ben Yakov argues about the king and Kohen Gadol;

1.Does he also argue about the Sanhedrin (and require all of them to go), or does he hold like R. Yehudah or R. Shimon?

(k)Answer (Rav Yosef - Beraisa) Suggestion: If a Chacham found the Great Sanhedrin near Beis Pagi (a place inside the wall of Yerushalayim) and opposed their ruling, perhaps this is considered rebellion (and can lead to becoming a Zaken Mamrei)!

1.Rejection: "V'Kamta v'Alisa El ha'Makom" - Zaken Mamrei applies only when the Great Sanhedrin is in its proper place.

2.Question: How many of the Sanhedrin were near Beis Pagi?

i.Suggestion: Some of them were there.

ii.Rejection: If so, surely he is not a Zaken Mamrei. Perhaps the others would agree with him!

3.Answer: We must say that all of them were there.

4.Question: Why did they leave (Lishkas ha'Gazis)?

i.Suggestion: They left for an optional matter.

ii.Rejection: "...Al Yechsar ha'Mezeg" - one may not leave the Great Sanhedrin unless 23 judges remain.

5.Answer: Surely, they left for a Mitzvah.

6.Suggestion: They left to measure for Eglah Arufah. R. Eliezer ben Yakov taught this!

(l)Rejection (Abaye): No, they left to add onto Yerushalayim or the Azaros (courtyards of the Mikdash).

1.(Mishnah): Seventy-one judges are needed to add to Yerushalayim or the Azaros.

(m)Support (for Rav Yosef - Beraisa) Suggestion: If a Chacham found the Great Sanhedrin near Beis Pagi and opposed their ruling, e.g. they left to measure for Eglah Arufah or to add onto Yerushalayim or the Azaros, perhaps this is considered rebellion!

1.Rejection: "V'Kamta v'Alisa El ha'Makom" - Zaken Mamrei applies only when the Great Sanhedrin is in its proper place.


(a)(Mishnah): Three judges are needed for redemption of Ma'aser Sheni or Neta Revai whose value is not known.

(b)(Beraisa) Question: What is Ma'aser Sheni whose value is not known?

(c)Answer: It is rotten fruit, spoiled wine or rusted coins.

(d)(Beraisa): Three buyers (merchants who know prices well; some say, bidders (the highest bidder will buy the Ma'aser)) are needed for redemption of Ma'aser Sheni whose value is not known. Non-buyers do not suffice.

1.One of them can be a Nochri, and one of them can be the owner.

(e)Question (R. Yirmeyah): Can they be three partners?

(f)Answer (Beraisa): A man and his two wives can redeem Ma'aser Sheni whose value is not known.

(g)Rejection: Perhaps that refers to wives (who are financially independent,) like Aba Sura's daughter (Rav Papa's wife).

(h)(Mishnah): Three are required to redeem Hekdesh.

(i)Our Mishnah is not like R. Eliezer ben Yakov.

1.(Beraisa - R. Eliezer ben Yakov): Ten are required to redeem even a tiny fork of Hekdesh.

(j)Question (Rav Papa): Granted, R. Eliezer ben Yakov learns like Shmuel.

1.(Shmuel): There are 10 mentions of Kohanim in the Parshiyos of Erchin (pledging to Hekdesh a sum of money based on a person's age and gender) and redemption of (Metaltelim and land of) Hekdesh. (Vayikra 27:1-25. He does not count "Kohen" written in verse 21, which is for a mere comparison, and does not discuss a Kohen involved in Erchin or redemption. Similarly, we count 39 "Melachos" in the Torah, and exclude those that do not discuss doing work - Shabbos 49b.)

2.However, what is the Chachamim's source to require three?

3.Suggestion: There are three mentions of Kohanim in the Parshah of redemption of Metaltelim.

4.Objection: If so, four should suffice for redemption of land, for there are four mentions of Kohanim in the Parshah of redemption of land!

i.Suggestion: Perhaps that is Chachamim's opinion!

ii.Rejection (Mishnah): Redemption of land requires nine people and a Kohen.

5.Answer: The Parshah of redemption of land concludes [the Parshiyos of Erchin and redemption], in which there are in all 10 mentions of Kohanim.

6.Rejection: If so, we should require six to redeem Metaltelim, for (it concludes (follows) the Parshah of Erchin, and in all) there are six mentions of Kohanim.

(k)This is left difficult.


(a)(Mishnah): Erchin (ha'Metaltelim require three).

(b)Question: What does this mean? (Erchin applies only to people!)