21 votes
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(Why) May a Beit Din refuse to bury a body in order to coerce a man into giving a divorce?

In this particular case R. Lau was upholding the UOR’s ruling. The latter’s ruling (viewable here) was based on Rema (EH 154:21), citing earlier authorities, who permits to withhold any aid to a “...
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15 votes

Can conversion be revoked?

See https://judaism.stackexchange.com/a/48512/21 for more. If we have some magical machine that can tell us that a person is completely sincere about their conversion, then it can't be revoked by ...
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13 votes
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Why does a small sanhedrin have 23 judges rather than 21?

My understanding of the Mishnah is as follows: The court must contain at least 20 members because the court must be able to simultaneously contain an "assembly" of convicters and an "...
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12 votes

Napoléon's Sanhedrin

According to Rabbi Noson Auerbach, Napoleon's Sanhedrin had no halakhic importance whatsoever. The greatest scholar to be part of the Sanhedrin was R' David Zinsheim, whose works on Shas are edited by ...
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12 votes

Etymology of the word sanhedrin

From TheSanhedrin.org: Etymologically, Sanhedrin is a late Hebrew representation of the Greek word synedrion συνέδριον meaning "sitting together" as a legislative assembly or Senate.
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11 votes

Etymology of the word sanhedrin

Jastrow supports Yishai's answer, that "סנהדרין" derives from the Greek συνέδριον: ‎‫סַנְהֶדְרִין,‬ ‫סַנְהֶדְרֵי‬ f. (also pl.) (συνέδριον) Sanhedrin, the supreme council of the Jews; ס‫'‬ גדולה ...
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11 votes

"She may marry any Jewish man"

They meant "other than a Kohen, she can marry any Jewish man that a born-Jewess can marry"; her status as a convert poses no additional issues. (In fact, she can marry more men than a born-Jewess, as ...
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11 votes
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Eidim Zomemim in a case of seeing a new moon

According to Rabbi Akiva Eiger, (Shu"t RA"E Mahadura Kama 176, cited here) they are not punished by the hand of man: וגם משום מלקות, נראה דלא לקו, דלא שייך בזה 'לא תענה ברעך' דהא לא העידו ...
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10 votes
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What are the chief sources for requiring Jews to litigate in a beis din rather than in a civil court?

There's a whole article by Rabbi Yaacov Feit about this in the Journal of Beth Din of America, vol. I called, unsurprisingly, "The Prohibition Against Going to Secular Courts." It begins: The Torah ...
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10 votes
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What should a conversion candidate expect in a Reform three-judge rabbinic court (Bet Din)?

I'm a layperson (not a rabbi) who's spoken with and helped teach Reform conversion candidates. This answer is based on that experience; see also the CCAR's guidelines for conversion. The beit din ...
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10 votes
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Why is the talmud concerned about judges being swayed by each other only for capital cases?

Tosafot on Sanhedrin 36a s.v. dinei nefashot is bothered by your question as to why we're not concerned that junior judges can't argue on the senior judge in monetary cases. They suggest two possible ...
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9 votes

Does the Torah ever mention jail as a punishment for a crime?

Rambam Hilchot Rotzeach 4:3: הַמַּכֶּה אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ בְּאֶבֶן אוֹ בְּאֶגְרוֹף וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן אוֹמְדִין אוֹתוֹ. אִם אֲמָדוּהוּ לְחַיִּים נוֹתֵן חֲמִשָּׁה דְּבָרִים וְנִפְטָר. וַאֲפִלּוּ חָלָה ...
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9 votes

Is one liable for murdering after being sentenced to death?

The Mishna in Sanhedrin 9:4 says that one can be obligated in a more severe death penalty for a second offence that occurred after being sentenced to a less severe death penalty for a different action....
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9 votes
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How should the 23rd judge vote?

As noted in this question, Ohr HaChaim to Shemot 23:2 writes that the 23rd judge must vote guilty, as he believes, even though that will result in the accused going free. He explains the reason ...
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8 votes

Which beis din can declare items Hefker?

Encyclopedia Talmudit discusses this question, at the entry "הפקר בית דין," section ד. Some ראשונים hold1, based on the gemara Gittin 36b, that הפקר בית דין can only be done with a בית דין of the ...
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8 votes

Etymology of the word sanhedrin

In maseches Sanhedrin chapter one, mishna 6, the word is presented as sanhedrei. The Tiferes Yisroel #43 quotes the Aruch who writes this is the Latin version of the name. He also quotes the Maharil ...
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Etymology of the word sanhedrin

I too was always bothered as to the origins of this word, until I saw the following Midrash Lekach Tov on Parshas Beha'aloscha: ומהו לשון סנהדרין, סין זה תורה שניתנה מהר סיני, הדרין שמהדרין התורה ...
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8 votes

Why do Jews use lawyers in beis din?

You happen to have a very good point,in fact the Shulchan Aruch CM 13:3 and the Sma 12 write that the dayanim should really only hear from the person himself and not from a toein. In this article ...
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8 votes
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Killing someone with Shem or kishuf(magic)

--Part 1: Aggadah/Kabbalah As explained in Who says Moshe sinned for killing the Egyptian and why, the Zohar (Raayah Meheimna, Parshas Mishpatim) explains that one who kills in this way is liable for ...
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7 votes

What is Otzar Beis Din?

The Otzar Beit Din is when the Beit Din pays the farmer to collect their produce for the community. The farmer is then a shaliach, and you are not buying the fruit. You're paying him for his effort. ...
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7 votes

Etymology of the word sanhedrin

Other answers have already noted that this comes from the Greek συνέδριον ("synedrion"). I'll add more detail: That word comes from the Greek σύνεδρος ("sitting together"), from σύν ("with", also ...
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7 votes
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Were there any Sadducees on the Sanhedrin?

There was a Tzeduki Sanhedrin in the times of Shimon ben Shatach, but he got them to disband, and the day this happened (28th of Teves) was declared a Yom Tov. (Megillas Taanis) According to the ...
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  • 1,657
7 votes
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Could a Jewish court try and execute a non-Jew?

Rambam writes in Hilchot Melachim uMilchamoteihem 9:14 that non-Jews are commanded to establish courts to try those that transgress the seven Noachide commandments (which include murder). A non-Jew ...
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  • 38.5k
7 votes

Yeshiva University RIETS Semicha Yorei and Yadin

My personal experience in the program gives me the following perspective: Overall, it's an incredible program which empowers the Talmid with tons of time to learn and grow in his Torah and leadership ...
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7 votes
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Can halacha of Eidim Zomemim be applied in today's times? (ex: $ cases)

Yes. Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 38:1 שנים שהעידו באחד שחייב לפלוני מנה ובאו שנים והכחישום או הזימום ה"ז פטור if the witnesses he needs to pay 100 ($) are zomemim, he needs not to pay. ...
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  • 22.3k
6 votes

How do you "take someone to beis din"?

According to Beth Din of America, Reuvain can end up with Shimon in Beit Din in three ways: Parties may end up before a beth din either: under a preexisting contractual provision that ...
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6 votes
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Must a beit din be exactly 3 people?

אף על פי שבית דין של שלושה, בית דין שלם הוא, כל זמן שהן רבים, הרי זה משובח Although a court of three is considered as a complete entity, whenever there are more judges, it is praiseworthy. Rambam ...
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6 votes

When Eidim Zomemim are found guilty who do they pay if it was a monetary case?

This is an argument in Rishonim. The answer is not directly stated anywhere in the Talmud. The Sefer Yereim in Siman 178 says that it is comparable to the fifth added to Teruma, where it is paid to ...
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6 votes
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Can an affidavit be used in Beit Din?

Sending an "affidavit" it is a dispute between Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam. Devarim 19:15: לא יקום עד אחד באיש לכל עון ולכל חטאת בכל חטא אשר יחטא על פי שני עדים או על פי שלשה עדים יקום דבר ...
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6 votes

Where is the story from (I believe in the Talmud ) about a Rebbe who was head of a beis din in regards to a widow and his sentencing to death?

You're probably thinking of the story in tractate Semachos, one of the minor tractates וכשבאו רשב״ג ורבי ישמעאל גזרו עליהם שיהרגו והיה רבי ישמעאל בוכה ור״ש אמר אברך בשתי פסיעות אתה נתן בחיקם של ...
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