PESACHIM 12-15 - Two weeks of study material have been dedicated by Mrs. Estanne Abraham Fawer to honor the sixth Yahrzeit of her father, Reb Mordechai ben Eliezer Zvi (Rebbi Morton Weiner) Z'L, who passed away 18 Teves 5760. May the merit of supporting and advancing Dafyomi study, which was so important to him, during the weeks of his Yahrzeit serve as an Iluy for his Neshamah.

[12a - 30 lines; 12b - 44 lines]

1)[line 3]אילו דייקינן בהני סהדיU'MAH ILU DAIKINAN B'HANEI SAHADEI- if we were to be very exacting with these witnesses (and interpret their testimony to be referring to as different times as possible)

2)[line 5]עדות מוכחשתEDUS MUKCHESHES- a contradictory testimony (since people do not err that much when estimating the time of day)


(a)When witnesses testify in Beis Din, the judges of Beis Din interrogate each witness separately in order to determine if their testimony is compatible.

(b)Chazal learn from the verses of the Torah (Devarim 13:15; 17:4; 19:18) that two types of questions are employed in this examination: Chakiros and Derishos. "Chakiros" refer to seven specific questions which are designed to ascertain the time and place of the event. "Derishos" refer to all subsequent questions asked by the judges in order to determine the veracity of the testimony. There are no limitations on the amount or type of Derishos that may be used; the more a Dayan crosschecks the witnesses, the more praiseworthy he is. (Sanhedrin 32a)

(c)The Torah-mandated seven Chakiros are: (1) During which seven-year Shemitah cycle of the Yovel did the event occur? (2) During which year of the Shemitah? (3) During which month? (4) Upon which day of the month? (5) On which day of the week? (6) During which hour of the day? (7) Where did the event take place?

(d)If a witness cannot answer even one of the Chakiros, his testimony is invalid. The reason for this is that the Torah requires that testimony be subject to Hazamah. Hazamah refers to the Torah law that if a second set of witnesses claims that they were together with the first in one place when they claim to have seen an event in another, we believe the second set of Edim. If the witnesses cannot answer any of the seven Chakiros, it is impossible to pin them down with Hazamah. This is called Edus she'Iy Atah Yachol l'Hazimah, and the Torah deems to be unacceptable testimony (RASHI here, and to Bava Kama 75b DH Aval Hacha).

4)[line 18]באיזו שבועEIZO SHAVU'A- during which seven-year Shemitah cycle of the Yovel?

5)[line 25]עדות שאי אתה יכול להזימהEDUS SHE'IY ATAH YACHOL L'HAZIMAH- see above, entry # 3:d

6)[line 27]לרבי מאירL'REBBI MEIR...- Rebbi Meir stated (11b) that if one person claims to have witnessed a murder in the second hour of the day, and another to have witnessed that same event during the third hour of the day, their testimony may be accepted jointly. Our Gemara explained above that this is because people may be up to two hours off-base when calculating the time of day based on the position of the sun. The Gemara now explains that due to this, the only way to make such Edim into Edei Zomemim is for a second set of witnesses to claim that the first were with them elsewhere for all of the first five hours of the day. The first five hours of the day are all within two hours of the second and third hours of the day. RASHI (12b) explains that this is enough to save them from the death penalty, which is the punishment normally incurred by Edim Zomemim who were attempting to put someone else to death. (Edim Zomemim generally receive that which they were attempting to inflict upon their victim as punishment.) If, however, he who claimed to have seen the murder during the third hour must concede that it must have really been the fifth hour due to the statement of another set of Edim, the alleged perpetrator is not punished, since Beis Din can no longer combine the testimony of the two witnesses.


7)[line 13]עדות מסורה לזריזיםEDUS MESURAH L'ZERIZIM- lit. testimony is given to those who are meticulous and reliable; i.e. since all potential witnesses are aware of the rigorous cross-examination they face, they will only offer to testify in Beis Din if they are sure of their information.

8)[line 17]יומא (בקרנתא) [בי קרמתא] קאיYOMA (B'KARNASA) [BEI KARNASA] KAI- the sun stands between the "corners" of the globe (that is, equidistant from east and west; therefore, it is difficult to determine exactly when it begins to lean to the west).

9)[line 31]רביעית זמן סעודה לכל היאREVI'I ZMAN SE'UDAH LA'KOL HI- the fourth hour, when people normally eat their main daytime meal (and therefore one will not come to confuse it with a different time). (TOSFOS (DH Arba) points out that this logic is applicable only to Chametz, which one may come to eat, but not to murder testimony.)

10)[line 33]לודיםLUDIM- (O.F. Cheneleus) the name of a nation of cannibals (RASHI Shabbos 10a)

11)[line 33]מאכל יורשיןMA'ACHAL YORSHIM- the food of inheritors. (Since they did not work for this food, they are less motivated to make it last as long as possible.)

12)[line 37]כזורק אבן לחמתK'ZOREK EVEN L'CHEMES- it is comparable to throwing a stone into a goatskin canteen (meaning (a) it is harmful to the body, and (b) it does not achieve anything)

13)[line 40]שינויי דשנינן שינויא הואSHINUYEI D'SHANINAN, SHINUYA HU- the solutions offered (to resolve the apparent contradiction between our Mishnah and the Mishnah in Sanhedrin) are correct

14)[line 41]לא שנוLO SHANU- we did not learn [that Beis Din may combine the testimony of witnesses who claimed to have seen a murder at different times]

15)[line 43]בתוך הנץ החמהB'SOCH NETZ HA'CHAMAH- as sunrise began