SANHEDRIN 17 (10 Av) - Dedicated by Mrs. G. Kornfeld, in memory of her father, Reb Yisrael Shimon ben Shlomo ha'Levi Turkel. Isi Turkel, as he was known, loved Torah and worked to support it literally with his last ounce of strength. He passed away on 10 Av 5740.


(a)(Mishnah): The Great Sanhedrin has 71 judges.

(b)Question: Chachamim say that Moshe was appointed over them and is counted with them. What is their source?

(c)Answer #1: "V'Hisyatzvu Sham Imach" - they are with you, and you are with them.

1.R. Yehudah says that "Imach" teaches that they may be with Moshe outside the Mishkan, but they may not enter it (alternatively - they should be with Moshe so that Shechinah will rest upon them).

(d)Answer #2: ("Imach" teaches like R. Yehudah.) Rather, Chachamim learn from "v'Nas'u Itecha b'Masa ha'Am" - they are with you, and you are with them.

1.R. Yehudah says that "Itecha" teaches that they must be (of proper lineage and unblemished,) like Moshe.

2.Chachamim learn that from "v'Hakel me'Alecha v'Nas'u Itach" (said about small Sanhedriyos). We learn about the Great Sanhedrin from a small Sanhedrin.

(e)(Beraisa): "Va'Yisha'aru Shnei Anashim ba'Machaneh" - some say that their lottery cards remained in the box.

1.Hash-m told Moshe to gather 70 Zekenim. Moshe considered how to do this:

i.If each Shevet would have six, this would be 72, which is too much;

ii.If each Shevet would have five, this would be only 60;

iii.If 10 Shevetim would have six and two would have five, there will be envy among them!

2.Moshe took six Zekenim from each Shevet, and 72 cards. On 70 of them he wrote 'Zaken.' He left two blank. He put the cards in a box; each Zaken took a card.

i.Whoever picked a card saying 'Zaken' would be on the Sanhedrin, and those who picked blank cards would not be. (Eldad and Medad never took their cards.)

(f)Similarly: "V'Lakachta Chameshes Chameshes Shekalim la'Gulgoles" (there were 273 more firstborn (Yisraelim) than Leviyim, they had to redeem themselves).

1.Moshe was concerned, that any firstborn he approaches will say 'I correspond to a Levi. I need not redeem myself'!

2.Moshe took 22,273 cards; on 22,000 he wrote 'Ben Levi', on 273 he wrote 'Chameshes Shekalim.' He put them in a box; each firstborn took a card.

3.Whoever picked a card saying 'Ben Levi' was exempt. Whoever picked a card saying 'Chameshes Shekalim' needed to pay five Shekalim.

(g)R. Shimon says, (Eldad and Medad) remained in the camp. They believed that they were not worthy of this greatness.

1.Hash-m said, since you considered yourselves smaller than the others, I will make you greater than them!

2.The others prophesized, but only temporarily. These two prophesized and did not cease.

3.Question: What prophecy did they have?

4.Answer #1: They prophesized that Moshe will die and Yehoshua will lead Yisrael into Eretz Yisrael.

5.Answer #2 (Aba Chanin): They prophesized about the Slav (the birds Hash-m provided in response to Yisrael's desire for meat).

6.Answer #3 (Rav Nachman): They prophesized about Gog and Magog (who will make war at the time of Moshi'ach) - "...Dibarti b'Yamim Kadmonim b'Yad Avadai... Shanim";

i.We can read "Shanim" like 'Shnayim'.

ii.The only time we find two Nevi'im with the same prophecy was Eldad and Medad.

(h)Question: (R. Shimon said that the others prophesized, but only temporarily.) What is his source?

1.Suggestion: "Va'Yisnabe'u v'Lo Yasafu."

2.Rejection: If so, we should likewise expound "Kol Gadol v'Lo Yasaf" (when we heard Hash-m on Sinai), that the voice ceased!

i.Rather, it means, it did not cease.

(i)Answer: Regarding the other 70, it says "va'Yisnabe'u" (past tense). Regarding Eldad and Medad, it says "Misnabe'im" - they continue to prophesize.

(j)Question: Granted, according to the opinion that they prophesized that Moshe will die and Yehoshua will lead Yisrael into Eretz Yisrael, we understand why Yehoshua said "Adoni Moshe Kela'em";

1.According to the other two opinions, why was Yehoshua upset?

(k)Answer: It was improper to prophesize in front of Moshe, just like a Talmid may not decide Halachah in front of his Rebbi.

(l)Question: According to the other two opinions, we understand why Moshe said "Mi Yiten (all of Yisrael should have prophecy like them!)";

1.If they prophesized about Moshe's death, why was he happy?

(m)Answer: He only heard that they were prophesizing. He did not hear the prophecy.

(n)Question: (Yehoshua suggested to Moshe) "Kela'em". What does this mean?

(o)Answer: Impose the needs of the Tzibur on them. They will (become sad and) cease (to prophesize).


(a)(Mishnah): (A small Sanhedrin has 23... the Torah says that 10 are Mechayev, and 10 are Mezakeh.) Question: How do we learn another three? (The Mishnah answered, a majority of two is needed to convict, and we do not make a Beis Din with an even number of judges, so we add one more.)

(b)Question: Now that there are 23, we cannot have a majority of exactly two!

1.If 12 are Mechayev, this is only one more than the Mezakim!

2.If 13 are Mechayev, this is three more than the Mezakim!

(c)Answer (R. Avahu): We can find a majority of exactly two when we add judges (because one of them could not decide), even according to Chachamim. Alternatively, we find this on the Great Sanhedrin, which has 70 judges according to R. Yehudah.

(d)(R. Avahu): When we add judges, we can make a Beis Din with an even number of judges l'Chatchilah.

(e)Question: This is obvious! (If one does not know, and the Beis Din has an even number of judges, an odd number of judges will vote, like we want!)

(f)Answer: One might have thought that we count the indecisive judge among the judges, for if he later decides (and explains his previous indecision) he may vote;

1.R. Avahu teaches that this is not so. We do not count the indecisive judge among the judges, even if he later gives a reason.

(g)(Rav Kahana): If all the judges (initially) say that he is Chayav, we exempt him.

(h)Question: What is the reason?

(i)Answer: We are not Mechayev Misah on the same day, because the judges must spend the night looking for Zechus (a reason to acquit);

1.Since all said that he is Chayav, they will not try hard enough to find Zechus.

(j)(R. Yochanan): We put on a Sanhedrin only people of great stature and appearance, who are Chachamim, old, understand witchcraft, and know all 70 languages, so that Beis Din will not need to hear testimony through an interpreter.

(k)(Rav Yehudah): We put on a Sanhedrin only a Chacham clever enough to prove that the Torah says that a Sheretz (rodent) is Tahor.

(l)(Rav): I can show that it is Tahor. A snake kills people, and increases Tum'ah, yet it is Tahor. A Sheretz does not kill people and increase Tum'ah, all the more so it is Tahor!


(m)Rejection: This is not a Kal va'Chomer. Also thorns kill, but this is no reason to say that they are Tamei!

(n)Version #1 - Rambam - (Rav Yehudah): We do not establish a Sanhedrin in a city if it does not have two Chachamim who can speak (teach every subject in Torah), one must be able to listen and respond.

(o)Version #2 - Rashi - (Rav Yehudah): We do not establish a Sanhedrin unless it will have two people who can speak (every language) and a third who understands it if he hears it. (end of Version #2)

1.In Beitar, there were three who could speak. In Yavneh, there were four - R. Eliezer, R. Yehoshua, R. Akiva and Shimon ha'Temani (a Talmid who sat in front of the Sanhedrin).

(p)Question (Beraisa): If three people in the city can speak, it is qualified to have a Sanhedrin. Four is the highest level.

(q)Answer: Rav Yehudah holds like the Tana of the following Beraisa.

1.(Beraisa): If two people in the city can speak, it is qualified to have a Sanhedrin. Three is the highest level.


(a)Whenever it says 'those who learn in front of Chachamim', this refers to Levi in front of Rebbi;

1.Version #1: 'Those who judge in front of Chachamim', refers to Shimon ben Azai, Shimon ben Zoma, Chanan ha'Mitzri and Chanina ben Chakinoi.

2.Version #2 (Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): There were those four, and also Shimon ha'Temani.

3.'Raboseinu in Bavel' refers to Rav and Shmuel. 'Raboseinu in Eretz Yisrael' refers to R. Aba;

4.'Dayanei Golah' refers to Karna. 'Dayanei Eretz Yisrael' refers to R. Ami and R. Asi. 'Dayanei Pumbadisa' refers to Rav Papa bar Shmuel. 'Dayanei Neharde'a' refers to Rav Ada bar Minyomi;

5.'Elders of Sura' refers to Rav Huna and Rav Chisda. 'Elders of Pumbadisa' refers to Rav Yehudah and Rav Eina;

6.'The sharp ones of Pumbadisa' refers to Eifah and Avimi, the sons of Rachbah;

7.'Amorai of Pumbadisa' refers to Rabah and Rav Yosef; 'Amorai of Neharde'a' refers to Rav Chama;

8.'Neharbelai taught' refers to Rami bar Beruchi;

9.'Bei Rav' refers to Rav Huna.

10.Objection: Rav Huna cited Bei Rav...!

11.Correction: Rather, 'Bei Rav' refers to Rav Hamnuna (Tosfos - when it cannot be Rav Huna).

12.'They said in the west (Eretz Yisrael)' refers to R. Yirmeyah. 'They sent from there (Eretz Yisrael)' refers to R. Yosi bar Chanina. 'They laughed at this in the west' refers to R. Elazar.

13.Objection: 'They sent from there, according to R. Yosi bar Chanina...'!

14.Correction: These must be switched. 'They sent from there' refers to R. Elazar, and 'they laughed at this in the west' refers to R. Yosi bar Chanina.


(a)(Mishnah) Question: How many people must be in a city to qualify it to have a Sanhedrin? One hundred and twenty...

(b)Question: What is the reason for 120?

(c)Answer: This suffices to have 23 on the Sanhedrin, three rows of 23 Talmidim (each), 10 people who are always in the Beis ha'Keneses, two scribes (to write the claims of each side), two Sheluchim of the Beis Din, two litigants, two witnesses, two Mezimim (witnesses to say that the witnesses were not where they claimed to see the testimony), two Mezimim of the Mezimim, and six more people necessary to make it proper for Chachamim to live there;

1.(Beraisa): A Chachamim should only live in a city with these 10 things: a Beis Din that lashes and punishes, a Tzedakah box for which two people collect and three people distribute, a Beis ha'Keneses, a bathhouse, a privy, a doctor, a bloodletter, a scribe, (a butcher; Rashi's text deletes this, and he counts the collection and distribution of Tzedakah as two matters,) and one who teaches children;

2.R. Akiva says, it should have fruits, for these enlighten the eyes.