SANHEDRIN 16 (Tisha b'Av) - Dedicated by Rabbi Dr. Eli Turkel of Ra'anana, Israel, in memory of his father, Reb Yisrael Shimon ben Shlomo ha'Levi, whose Yahrzeit is on 10 Av.

[16a - 48 lines; 16b - 52 lines]

1)[line 1] NESI SHEVET SHE'CHATA- the Nasi (lit. prince) of a tribe who transgressed (with a crime that is deserving of capital punishment -RASHI)

2)[line 1] MI LO AMAR- did he not say...

3)[line 2]"[ , ] [ ; , ]""... KOL HA'DAVAR HA'GADOL YAVI'U EILECHA..." - "[And they shall judge the nation at all times, and it shall be that] any great matter they shall bring to you (Moshe), [while any small matter, they shall judge; and [the burden] will be eased from upon you, and they shall bear it with you]" (Shemos 18:22) (YISRO ADVISES MOSHE TO APPOINT JUDGES)

(a)When Yisro saw that Moshe was functioning as the sole judge for the entire nation, he advised Moshe to appoint worthy members of Bnei Yisrael as judges over a system of lower courts.

(b)In this verse, Yisro advises under what circumstances the Sanhedri Ketanah are to bring a case before Moshe Rabeinu. Later on (16b), the Gemara states that Moshe Rabeinu in his generation was the equivalent of the Sanhedri Gedolah of 71 judges.

(c)Rav Ada bar Ahavah interprets the verse as, "any matter involving a great person shall be brought to [Moshe]." Thus, a case in which the Kohen Gadol is being tried must be presented before the Sanhedri Gedolah of 71 judges. In our Gemara, Rav Masnah applies this logic to the Nasi of a tribe as well.

4)[line 3] DEVARAV SHEL GADOL- a matter concerning a great [person]

5a)[line 4] B'VA'IN AL ISKEI NACHALOS- a case when [tribes] come to adjudicate concerning their ancestral portions in Eretz Yisrael

b)[line 5] UCH'SECHILASAH SHEL ERETZ YISRAEL- and [we require the case to be heard] as it was when Eretz Yisrael was first [divided among the tribes]

6)[line 7] IY MAH- if [so, then] just as...

7)[line 7]KALFEI- lots (a lottery)

8)[line 7] URIM V'TUMIM

(a)The Urim v'Tumim was a Name of HaSh-m written upon parchment, which was placed in the Choshen, one of the eight vestments of the Kohen Gadol (Shemos 28:30).

(b)It was possible for a king of Yisrael to ask HaSh-m questions regarding the people of Yisrael, and he would miraculously receive an answer using the letters engraved upon the gemstones of the Choshen. Letters containing the answer to his question would stick out in their places (in the order of the answer - MAHARSHA to Yoma 73b) or would come together to form the words and sentences of the answer. The Kohen Gadol would assist the Urim v'Tumim in the process of receiving an answer through his power of Ru'ach ha'Kodesh (Divine inspiration).

(c)The Gemara (Yoma 73b) gives two reasons as to why the parchment was called Urim v'Tumim. Either they were Me'irin (similar to "Urim") Es Divreihen, they clarify their words, or they were Mashlimin ("Tumim" means Shalem, complete) Es Divreihen, they fulfill their words. See also entry #47:a-b below.

(d)The Urim v'Tumim was used at the time of the original division and allocation of the land when the Jewish people came to Eretz Yisrael, as the Gemara describes here.

9)[line 9]MECHAVARTA- it is more clear (i.e. more correct)...

10)[line 10]L'OLAM- in fact (as was suggested earlier)

11)[line 10] SHEVET SHE'HUDACH- a tribe that was led astray (to idolatry)

12)[line 11]IYN- yes

13a)[line 11] () []AF AL GAV D'KATLINAN (B'YACHID) [K'YACHID]- even though we execute with the death penalty that applies to an individual [who committed idolatry, i.e. Sekilah)]

b)[line 12]( ) [] (BEI DINA) [B'DINA] D'RABIM DAYENINAN LEI- we judge [that tribe] with the court [proceedings] of the many [who commit idolatry] (i.e., before 71 judges)

14)[line 14]" ... ""V'HOTZESA ES HA'ISH HA'HU O ES HA'ISHA HA'HI... EL SHE'ARECHA"- "and you shall bring out that man or that woman... to your gates" (Devarim 17:5).

15)[line 16] IY ATAH MOTZI KOL HA'IR KULAH LI'SH'ARECHA- you shall not bring out [to trial] the entire city to [the court located in] your gates, [but rather to the Sanhedri Gedolah]

16)[line 19] ?MINA'HANEI MILEI?- From where are these words (i.e., from what Pasuk)? (For more regarding the false prophet, see Background to Sanhedrin 2:27.)

17a)[line 20] "" ""ASYA "HAZADAH," "HAZADAH" - we derive it through. a Gezeirah Shavah of "Hazadah" "Hazadah"... (GEZEIRAH SHAVAH)

(a)For the methodology and rules of using a Gezeirah Shavah, see Background to Sanhedrin 14:41.

(b)In this case, the Torah is comparing two words with the same root, / . The verse states regarding a false prophet: " , , ; " - "But a prophet who willfully speaks in My Name that which I have not commanded him to speak, or one that speaks in the name of other gods; that prophet shall be put to death" (Devarim 18:20).

b)[line 20] ZAKEN MAMREI

(a)A Zaken Mamrei is a Torah Sage who defies the ruling of the Great Sanhedrin of seventy-one judges, and persists in ruling according in accordance with his own opinion. See Background to Sanhedrin 14:48.

(b)The verse states regarding the Zaken Mamrei: " ' -, ; , " - "But the man who acts willfully, and does not hearken to the Kohen who stands there to serve HaSh-m your G-d, or to the judge; that man shall die, and you shall remove the evil from Yisrael" (Devarim 17:12).

18)[line 22]BI'KETALA- with regard to the death-penalty [stage of a Zaken Mamrei]. Only the Halachic ruling that the Zakein Mamrei later defies must be issued by the Sanhedri Gedolah. When he later rebels and defies that ruling, he is tried before a Beis Din of twenty-three judges, like any other death-penalty case. Therefore, this Pasuk cannot serve as a source that the Navi Sheker must be tried before seventy-one!

19a)[line 24] "" ""GAMAR "DAVAR" "DAVAR"- we derive it from a Gezeirah Shavah using the word "Davar." For the Pasuk regarding the Navi Sheker, see above, entry #17a(b). The verse states regarding the Sanhedri Gedolah's ruling to a Zaken Mamrei: " '; " - "And you shall act according to the word that they shall tell you, from that place that HaSh-m shall choose; and you shall be careful to do all that they instruct you" (Devarim 17:10).

b)[line 24]ME'HAMRA'ASO- from his rebellion (i.e. the ruling against which he later rebelled)

20a)[line 25] UL'HADER ZAKEN MAMREI- but let [the topic of] Zaken Mamrei then return...

b)[line 25] "" "" ?VLI'GMAR "HAZADAH" "HAZADAH" MI'NAVI HA'SHEKER?- and derive [that his trial must also be held before seventy-one judges] by means of the [same] Gezeirah Shavah, from the topic of the false prophet? See above, entry # 17a-b.

21)[line 26] LO GAMIR- he did not learn it (from his teachers; see Background to Sanhedrin 14:41)

22)[line 27]" ""KOL HA'DAVAR HA'GADOL YAVI'U EILECHA"- See above, entry #3.

23)[line 29] HAREI DAVAR KASHEH AMUR- we see that the verse is in fact discussing "a difficult matter"

24)[line 29] HU D'AMAR KI HAI TANA- he (Rav Ada bar Ahavah) stated his opinion according to the [following] Tana

25)[line 31] HAREI DAVAR KASHEH AMUR- we see that "a difficult matter" has already been discussed (by a different verse)

26)[line 33] TZAVA'AH B'ALMA- merely as a command (that it be done)

27)[line 33]IDACH- the other opinion

28)[line 34] SHORO SHEL KOHEN GADOL- an ox belonging to the Kohen Gadol (that killed a person)

29a)[line 35] L'MISAS BE'ALIM DIDEI- [do we compare it] to a death penalty case involving its own owner (and seventy-one judges would be required)

b)[line 35] L'MISAS BEALIM D'ALMA- [or] to a death penalty case in general (and only twenty-three judges would be required)

30)[line 36] MID'KA MIBA'YA LEI- from that which he asks

31)[line 39]" '; , , ""V'LIFNEI ELAZAR HA'KOHEN YA'AMOD..." - "And he (Yehoshua) shall stand before Elazar the Kohen [Gadol], and inquire the ruling of the Urim [v'Tumim] before HaSh-m; by his word they shall go out [to battle], and by his word shall they come in, he, and all of Bnei Yisrael with him, and the entire assembly" (Bamidbar 27:21) (YEHOSHUA IS SELECTED TO LEAD BNEI YISRAEL)

(a)HaSh-m, responding to Moshe Rabeinu's request, designated Yehoshua as the next leader of Bnei Yisrael. Yehoshua would lead Bnei Yisrael into battle against the Canaanite nations.

(b)In this verse, HaSh-m describes the way Yehoshua is to function as commander of the army, in relation to Elazar and the elders. The Gemara will discuss whose approval this verse requires in order to go out to battle.


(a)There is a Mitzvah to appoint a Kohen at the onset of a war to speak to the soldiers and encourage them. This Kohen is anointed with the Shemen ha'Mishchah, and is therefore called the Kohen Meshu'ach Milchamah (Sotah 42a, see Background to Sotah 42:12).

(b)Before the soldiers leave Eretz Yisrael for the battlefront in a Milchemes Reshus, the Kohen reads the verses (Devarim 20:5-7) which order certain people to return to their homes. These people are:

1.a person who recently built a house but did not yet consecrate it;

2.a person who recently planted a vineyard but did not yet redeem the fourth-year fruits; and

3.a person who recently betrothed a woman but did not yet marry her.

(c)A Shoter (see below, entry #57) present also reads the next verse (ibid. 20:8) that instructs all of those who are afraid of the battle (because of their personal sins) to return to their homes, lest they instill fear in the rest of the soldiers going to battle. (This interpretation of the word "afraid" follows the opinion of Rebbi Yosi ha'Glili or Rebbi Yosi (Mishnah Sotah 44a). Rebbi Akiva (ibid.) takes this verse literally.)

(d)Before the onset of each battle, the Kohen admonishes the soldiers not to fear the battle, reading the verses in Devarim 20:3-4. He encourages them that even if their only merit is the fact that they read Keri'as Shema twice daily, this is enough to save them. (RAMBAM Hilchos Melachim 7:1-3, SEFER HA'CHINUCH #526. The verses mentioned above are recorded and translated in Background to Sotah 42:12:d.)

33a)[line 40] L'SANHEDRI HU D'KA'AMAR L'HU RACHAMANA- but perhaps it is to the Sanhedri (Gedolah) that the Torah is telling

b)[line 41] D'LISHAYELU B'URIM V'SUMIM- that they are authorized to ask questions using the Urim v'Tumim

34)[line 42]KINOR- a harp (TIFERES YISRAEL to Sukah 5:4)

35a)[line 42] KEIVAN SHE'HIGI'A CHATZOS LAILAH- when midnight would arrive

b)[line 43] RU'ACH TZEFONIS MENASHEVES BO- the north wind would blow upon it (the north wind commonly blows at night, due to the position of the sun (below the horizon) -RASHI)

c)[line 43] V'HAYAH MENAGEN ME'EILAV- and it would play music by itself

36)[line 44] AMUD HA'SHACHAR- dawn

37)[line 45] LECHU V'HISPARNESU ZEH MI'ZEH- go and earn a livelihood, one [Jew] from another

38a)[line 46] EIN HA'KOMETZ MASBI'A ES HA'ARI- (a) one fistful (RASHI), (b) one grasshopper (RASHI to Berachos 3b, second explanation), does not satiate the lion

b)[line 46] V'EIN HA'BOR MISMALEI ME'CHULYASO- (a) a deep pit cannot be filled up with one clod of dirt taken from within the pit itself (RASHI); (b) a pit cannot be filled up with the earth that had served as its embankment (TOSFOS); (c) a cistern cannot be filled with the water that naturally seeps into it (rather, we must direct water into it from other sources (RABEINU TAM cited in Tosfos)

39)[line 47] LECHU PISHTU YEDEICHEM BI'GEDUD- go and send forth a unit [of soldiers]


(a)Achitofel served as advisor to David ha'Melech (Divrei haYamim I 27:33). Achitofel's advice was superlative, and was as sure to be effective as asking the word of HaSh-m (Shmuel II 16:23).

(b)The treacherous Achitofel later joined Avshalom's rebellion against David. The Mishnah later in Sanhedrin (90a) teaches that Achitofel is excluded from the World to Come. See Background to Sanhedrin 107:18.

41)[last line]NIMLACHIN- they ask for the approval of


42)[line 1]" , , ""V'ACHAREI ACHISOFEL, BENAYAHU VEN YEHOYADA V'EVYASAR, V'SAR TZAVA LA'MELECH, YOAV"- This verse is part of the chapter in Divrei haYamim that lists the officials of David: "And after Achisofel was Benayahu ben Yehoyada, and Evyasar, and the king's general was Yoav" (Divrei haYamim I 27:33). (This is the way the verse is quoted in our Girsa of the Gemara. The verse as it appears in Divrei HaYamim, however, contains the name Yehoyada ben Benayahu instead. According to the Girsa of the Aruch cited in the margin of the Daf, the Gemara explains that Yehoyada succeeded his father Benayahu ben Yehoyada as leader of the Sanhedrin.)

43a)[line 2], ACHISOFEL, ZEH YO'ETZ- Achitofel, he was the advisor

b)[line 3]" [ -; , ]"VA'ATZAS ACHISOFEL ASHER YA'ATZ BA'YAMIM HA'HEM [KA'ASHER YISH'AL ISH BI'DVAR HA'EL-KIM...]"- "And the advice of Achitofel that he would advise in those days, was as if a man would ask of the word of HaSh-m; so it was for all of Achitofel's advice, both to David and to Avshalom" (Shmuel II 16:23). See above, entry #40.

44)[line 4] ZO SANHEDRIN- he was [the head of] the Sanhedrin

45)[line 4], EVYASAR, EILU URIM V'TUMIM- Evyasar was [the Kohen Gadol, who would consult] the Urim v'Tumim

46a)[line 5] , "() "V'CHEN HU OMER, "U'VENAYA(HU) BEN YEHOYADA AL HA'KEREISI V'AL HA'PELEISI- (a) ["Evyasar" refers to the Urim v'Tumim,] as it says, "and Benayahu ben Yehoyada [immediately] preceded the Kereisi and the Peleisi" (Shmuel II 20:23) [and we know from another verse (see entry #42) that Benayahu immediately preceded Evyasar (RASHI); (b) ["Yehoyada ben Benayahu" refers to the Sanhedrin,] as it says, "and Benayahu ben Yehoyada [was appointed] over the Kereisi and the Peleisi" [and his son Yehoyada later succeeded him] (Girsa of TOSFOS, ARUCH)

b)[line 6] LAMAH NIKRA SHEMAN KEREISI U'PELEISI- (a) Why were the Urim v'Tumim called "Kereisi u'Peleisi"? (RASHI); (b) why was the Sanhedrin called "Kereisi u'Peleisi"? (TOSFOS, ARUCH)

47a)[line 7] KORSIN DIVREIHEN- they state their words unequivocally and reliably (RASHI)

b)[line 8] MUFLAIN MA'ASEIHEN- their ways are wondrous

48a)[line 11] ?MAI K'RA?- What is the verse [which teaches that David would be awakened by his harp]?

b)[line 11]" , , ""URAH CHEVODI, URAH HA'NEVEL V'CHINOR, A'IRAH SHACHAR"- "Awaken, my soul, awaken, the lyre and harp, I shall awaken the dawn" (Tehilim 57:9).

49)[line 12] EIN MOSIFIN AL HA'IR

See Background to Sanhedrin 2:30.

50a)[line 14]" [ ;] ""K'CHOL ASHER ANI MAR'EH OSECHA ES TAVNIS HA'MISHKAN [V'ES TAVNIS KOL KEILAV]; V'CHEIN TA'ASU"- "According to all that I show you regarding the structure of the Mishkan and its vessels; and so you shall do" (Shemos 25:9).

b)[line 15] L'DOROS HA'BA'IN- in future generations (just as Moshe sanctified the Mishkan, so too is the Sanhedri Gedolah necessary to sanctify the areas surrounding the Beis ha'Mikdash)

51a)[line 16] MESHICHASAN MEKADESHAN- their anointing sanctifies them [as a Kli Shares for use in the Mishkan]. An offering that has been placed in a Kli Shares attains a higher degree of sanctity; see Mishnah Me'ilah 2:8.

b)[line 17] AVODASAN MECHANECHASAN- their being used inaugurates them

52)[line 19]"[ , ...] ""[VA'YHI B'YOM KALOS MOSHE L'HAKIM ES HA'MISHKAN, VA'YIMSHACH OSO VA'YKADESH OSO V'ES KOL KEILAV...] VA'YIMSHACHEM VA'YKADESH OSAM"- "And it was on the day that Moshe completed to erect the Mishkan, and he anointed it and sanctified it and all of its vessels... and he anointed them and sanctified them" (Bamidbar 7:1).

53)[line 21] , IY BI'MESHICHA, IY BA'AVODAH- either through anointing or through service

54)[line 22]"[ ] ...""[V'LAK'CHU ES KOL KLEI HA'SHARES] ASHER YESHARESU VAM BA'KODESH..." - "And they shall take all of the vessels that they shall use for the service in the Kodesh" (Bamidbar 4:12) (MASA BNEI KEHAS)

(a)After the Mishkan was inaugurated, the Leviyim were assigned the task of transporting the Mishkan throughout the travels of Bnei Yisrael though the desert. The descendants of Kehas carried the holy vessels of the Mishkan (the Aron, Shulchan, etc.), and they were commanded to carry them on their shoulders, and not on a wagon. When it was time to travel, the Kohanim were commanded to enter the Mishkan first, to wrap up and prepare the vessels for transport. Only then were the Bnei Kehas permitted to begin their task (Bamidbar 4; 7:9).

(b)This verse commands the Kohanim to wrap the vessels used for the offering of the Ketores. The future tense, "that they shall use," implies that after the Mishkan's initial inauguration, any new vessel that is introduced to the service becomes sanctified by its first use.

55)[line 29] MOSHE B'MAKOM SHIV'IM V'CHAD KA'I- Moshe was the equivalent of seventy-one [judges, as he was authorized to judge by HaSh-m] (RASHI)

56)[line 30]" ' - , ; ""SHOFETIM V'SHOTERIM TITEN LECHA B'CHOL SHE'ARECHA, ASHER HASH-M E-LOKECHA NOSEN LECHA, LI'SHVATECHA; V'SHAF'TU ES HA'AM MISHPAT TZEDEK"- "Judges and enforcers you shall appoint in all of your gates that HaSh-m your G-d shall give you, for your tribes; and they shall judge the nation with justice" (Devarim 16:18).

57)[line 31]SHOTRIM- officers who physically enforce obedience to the judges

58)[line 31] L'CHOL SHEVET V'SHEVET- if a city is inhabited by members of two different tribes, we appoint two Sanhedri Ketanah in that city, one for each tribe (TOSFOS)

59)[line 34] ECHAD MEMUNEH AL KULAN- (a) The Sanhedri Gedolah is appointed over all of the lower courts (RASHI); (b) A "Mufla" of Beis Din, or Av Beis Din, is appointed in each court over all of the other judges (TOSFOS)

60)[line 35] MITZVAH B'SHEVET LA'DUN ES SHIVTO- the Torah commands that members of a tribe present their case before a court of their own tribe (and not before a different tribe -RASHI)

61)[line 39]"[ ] [ ' - , ] , [ ...]""[KI SISHMA] B'ACHAS ARECHA... [YATZE'U ANASHIM BENEI VELIYA'AL] MI'KIRBECHA, [VA'YADICHU ES YOSHEVEI IRAM...]" - "[If you hear in] one of your cities [that HaSh-m your G-d is giving you to dwell there, saying: Lawless men have emerged] from among you, [and have led astray the inhabitants of their city...]" (Devarim 13: 13-14) (IR HA'NIDACHAS)

(a)A city that was led astray (Nidach) to the extent that its inhabitants willfully committed idolatry, must be destroyed. All of those who were led astray must be killed and the city burned, along with all of the possessions of its inhabitants, as stated in Devarim 13:13-19. The righteous people who were not led astray are not killed, but their possessions are burned. The Madichim, those who influenced the city to commit idolatry, are punished with Sekilah (stoning). (RAMBAM Hilchos Avodas Kochavim 4:1)

(b)Other requirements to classify a city as an Ir ha'Nidachas is that the Madichim must be male residents of the city and must be from the same tribe to which the city belongs. There must be at least two Madichim, who must influence the majority of the city.

62)[line 39]SEFAR- the border

63a)[line 41] ...ATAH OMER...- you would interpret...

b)[line 41] , ..O EINO, ELA...- or [perhaps] it is not so, but rather...

64)[line 43]ZIMNIN- at times

65)[line 45] MI'SHUM KORCHA- because it leaves a barren area

66)[line 47] AYAROS MENUDACHOS- plural of "Ir ha'Nidachas"

67)[line 51] REBBI SHIMON HI, D'DARISH TA'AMA DI'KRA- This Beraisa follows the opinion of Rebbi Shimon, who derives Halachos from the reasons of the Torah's commandments (i.e., he suggests logical reasons for the Torah's commandments, and consequently, rules that the commandments apply only when those reasons apply). For examples, see Bava Metzia 115a and Sanhedrin 21a.

68)[last line]"[ ' , , ; ,] ""[VA'YOMER HASH-M EL MOSHE, ESFAH LI SHIV'IM ISH MI'ZIKNEI YISRAEL... V'LAKACHTA OSAM EL OHEL MO'ED,] V'HISYATZEVU SHAM IMACH'"- "And HaSh-m said to Moshe, gather for Me seventy men of the elders of Yisrael, whom you know as the elders and officers of the nation; and you shall lead them to the Tent of Meeting,] and they shall stand there with you " (Bamidbar 11:16).