As I already asked in this answer, based on the Mishna in Makkos 1:5, that Rabbi Yehuda says that only the first set of Eidim Zomemim are put to death.

If the same 2 witnesses disqualify further sets of witnesses by saying "but you were with us - far away - when the crime happened" they are not put to death.

In the original:

בָּאוּ אֲחֵרִים וְהִזִּימוּם, בָּאוּ אֲחֵרִים וְהִזִּימוּם, אֲפִלּוּ מֵאָה, כֻּלָּם יֵהָרֵגוּ. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר, אִסְטָסִית הִיא זוֹ, וְאֵינָהּ נֶהֱרֶגֶת אֶלָּא כַת הָרִאשׁוֹנָה בִלְבָד :‏

If other witnesses came, and they charged them [with perjury]: then [again] others came, and they [again] charged them [with perjury], even a hundred, they are all to be executed. Rabbi Judah says: “This is a conspiracy and the first set alone is [to be] executed.”

What puzzles me is why Rabbi Yehuda is worried that it's a conspiracy.

Surely the disqualifying witnesses aren't believed without being cross-examined.

If they get through the rather grueling cross-examination needed in capital offenses - as described in the 5th chapter of Sanhedrin - then why aren't they believed for subsequent sets of witnesses?

Is this some type of Gezarat HaKatuv (i.e. does Rabbi Yehuda have a Pasuk or Mesora for this)? Or are these disqualifying witnesses not cross-examined? (Since the cross-examination is not mentioned anywhere.)

I can't find anybody who discusses this.

  • Maybe that’s why the Halacha is does not follow him.
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 12:46
  • @DrShmuel He thought the halakha does follow him. Why?
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 12:48
  • Maybe they just have a really elaborate scheme which R Yehuda is concerned about.
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 13:26
  • "the rather grueling cross-examination needed in capital offenses" - the required basic cross-examination is not terribly grueling, and it would be the exact questions they already answered regarding the first set, which they already answered successfully. Further cross-examination is at the court's prerogative.
    – simyou
    Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 14:44


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