HOW MUCH DO PEOPLE ERR ABOUT TIME? (cont.)
Objection (Rava): If we would ask them, perhaps Reuven would say that he means the start of the third hour and David means the end of the fifth, and their testimonies contradict each other - how can we accept their testimony [without asking] and kill when there is a doubt?! It says "V'Shoftu ha'Edah...; V'Hitzilu ha'Edah" (we must strive to exempt people from execution)!
(Rava): Rather, according to R. Meir, people err by two hours less Mashehu - it really happened at the start of the second hour or the end of the third, one of them errs two hours less Mashehu;
According to R. Yehudah, people err by three hours less Mashehu - it really happened at the start of the third hour or the end of the fifth - one of them errs by three hours less Mashehu.
Question (against Rava - Mishnah): Witnesses are interrogated with seven Chakiros (questions about when and where they saw the testimony) - which Shemitah cycle of Yovel [was it], which year in the Shemitah cycle, which month, which day of the month, which day of the week, what hour of the day, and where it was;
The difference between Bedikos (questions about details of the case, e.g. what color was the victim's clothing) and Chakiros is that if a witness cannot answer a Chakirah, his testimony is invalid; if a witness, or even both witnesses cannot answer Bedikos, their testimony is valid.
Question: Why is the law of Chakiros different than that of Bedikos?
Answer: If a witness cannot answer one of the Chakiros, [his testimony is invalid because] he cannot be Huzam [easily - see note in Appendix];
If a witness cannot answer a Bedikah, he can be Huzam.
Summation of question: If witnesses can err so much, the Chakirah of 'which hour' does not help for Hazamah (perhaps he really witnessed the event, he just erred about the hour)!
Answer: A witness is Huzam only if Mezimim cover his possible error (they prove that he lied, whether he meant the beginning or end of the hour, and even if he made the maximum allowable error):
According to R. Meir [a person can err almost two hours; if Reuven said that the event was at two hours and Shimon said three hours,] the Mezimim must say that they were with them from the beginning of the first hour until the end of the fifth (really, it suffices to be with Reuven until the end of the fourth hour to Mezim him - it says until the end of the fifth in order to Mezim Shimon);
[Based on the number of hours,] Reuven should not be Huzam unless they were with him from the hour before the first - however, people do not err between day and night.
According to R. Yehudah [people err almost three hours, if Reuven said three hours and Shimon said five] the Mezimim must say that they were with them from the beginning of the first hour until the end of the sixth;
[Based on the number of hours,] the testimony of the Mezimim should have to begin before the first hour [to Mezim Reuven] and extend past six full hours [to Mezim Shimon], - however, people do not err between day and night, or between [morning and afternoon, i.e.] when the sun is in the east or west.
THE LAST TIME ONE MAY EAT CHAMETZ
(Mishnah - R. Meir): One may eat Chametz until the end of five hours; we burn at the beginning of the sixth;
R. Yehudah says, one may eat until the end of four hours; we Toleh during the fifth, and we burn at the beginning of the sixth.
Question: According to Abaye, R. Meir holds that a person does not err at all [or, according to Version #2, more than Mashehu] - it should be permitted to eat six [or almost six] full hours!
According to Abaye, R. Yehudah holds that a person errs at most a half hour [Version #2 - an hour] - it should be permitted to eat for five and a half [or five] hours!
Answer (Abaye): Only vigilant people may be witnesses, but everyone may eat Chametz [on Erev Pesach, therefore we are concerned for people who are less careful and err more].
Question: According to Rava, R. Meir holds that a person errs two hours] - it should be forbidden from the beginning of the fifth hour!
Answer: In the fifth hour the sun is in the east, and in the seventh it is in the west - people do not confuse them.
Question: If so, it should be permitted to eat also in the sixth hour (the sun is in the east)!
Answer (Rav Ada bar Ahavah): In the sixth hour the sun is virtually in the middle of the sky [and also in the seventh - these could be confused].
Question: According to Rava, R. Yehudah holds that a person errs up to three hours - it should be forbidden to eat from the beginning of the fourth hour!
Answer: In the fifth hour the sun is in the east, all the more so in the fourth - people do not confuse this with the seventh, when it is in the west.
Question: If so, it should be permitted to eat also in the fifth hour!
Answer #1 (Abaye, on behalf of Rava): [People know that Beis Din interrogates witnesses, therefore] only vigilant people testify, but everyone eats Chametz.
Answer #2 (Rava): R. Yehudah requires burning Chametz to fulfil Bi'ur - Chachamim give people an hour [from when they stop eating] to gather wood before the time to burn.
Objection (Ravina - Beraisa - R. Yehudah): Only not at the time of Bi'ur is burning required - but at the time of Bi'ur, one may destroy Chametz in any way. (Tosfos - Bi'ur is during the sixth hour; Rashi - mid'Oraisa, Bi'ur is after six full hours - it is unreasonable to make people toil to burn Chametz early, when they could wait until midday and then destroy it in any way!)
Answer #3 (Rava): Rather, he decrees on account of a cloudy day [when the location of the sun is not evident].
Question: If so, also at four hours we should not eat!
Answer (Rav Papa): Most people normally eat at four hours of the day (people know when this is; Tosfos - this applies to matters of eating, but not to testimony).
(Beraisa): Ludim (cannibals, who immediately fulfil their ravenous appetites) eat in the first hour of the day; bandits eat in the second hour (they stay up late and rise late), heirs [who did not work for their money] eat in the third, workers eat in the fourth, Chachamim eat in the fifth, most people eat in the sixth.
Objection: Rav Papa taught that most people eat in the fourth hour!
Correction: Rather, most people eat in the fourth, workers eat in the fifth, and Chachamim eat in the sixth.
Eating after this (six hours) is like throwing a rock into a pouch with little wine (it does not help; some say that it might be harmful. Mishnah Berurah - we measure the six hours from when he woke up.)
(Abaye): This is only if he did not taste anything all morning - but if he ate [even a bit], there is no problem.
WE DO NOT DISTINGUISH CHAMETZ FROM TESTIMONY
(Rav Ashi): The Tana'im argue about [how much people err about time regarding] Chametz just like they argue about testimony.
Objection: This is obvious - we asked why the allotted errors are different, and answered!
Answer: Rav Ashi teaches that the answers we gave are proper; [R. Meir and R. Yehudah indeed argue about how much people err - but] Tana'im (the author of our Mishnah and the author of the Mishnah about testimony) do not argue about the opinions of R. Meir and R. Yehudah [regarding how much people err].
(Rav Simi Bar Ashi): This refers only to hours - but if one witness says that he saw testimony before sunrise and the other says that it was after sunrise, their testimonies do not join.
Objection: This is obvious!
Correction: Rather, if one says that it was before sunrise and the other says it was in (at the beginning of) the sunrise, their testimonies do not join.
Objection: Also this is obvious!
Answer: One might have thought that both refer to the same time, i.e. one said 'in' the sunrise because he saw the radiance just before sunrise - Rav Simi teaches that this is not so.