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24 votes
Accepted

"Anyone who saves a life is as if he saved an entire world": Jewish life or any life?

In the manuscript Parma 3173 there is no "מישראל"; In the manuscript Budapest Kaufman A50 no more. The Mishna of Mechon Mamre, Mishna Sanhedrin 4:5 based on Rambam manuscript idem; לפיכך ...
kouty's user avatar
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16 votes

Sanhedrin/Makkot - One masechta?

A number of Rishonim quote from Makkot but call it Sanhedrin, implying they considered them to be one tractate. See Ramban to Devarim 21:13 and Rashba to Kiddushin 22a who refer to what we have in the ...
Double AA's user avatar
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15 votes
Accepted

What are the parameters of the prohibition against a non-Jew learning Torah?

R. Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg has a responsum that deals with this question. It is a lengthy responsum (and you should read it in it's entirety if you can) but one key point is what he derives from ...
Alex's user avatar
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14 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 "...
Alex's user avatar
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13 votes

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein member of Sanhedrin

This law is codified by Rambam in Hilchot Sanhedrin 2:6: כשם שבית דין מנוקין בצדק כך צריכין להיות מנוקין מכל מומי הגוף וצריך להשתדל ולבדוק ולחפש שיהיו כולן בעלי שיבה בעלי קומה בעלי מראה נבוני לחש ...
Alex's user avatar
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11 votes
Accepted

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 ...
Joel K's user avatar
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10 votes
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Paskening Shlomo out of Shamayim?

R. Yosef Chaim of Baghdad discusses this in his commentary to this Talmudic passage. His answer is that the whole thing was a mere ploy. The Sages actually knew that Shlomo was a worthy person and ...
Alex's user avatar
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9 votes
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Sanhedrin/Makkot - One masechta?

Rambam seen here in his introduction to his pirush on mishnayos seems to be the first who mentions an opinion like this. Rambam himself however disagreed with this. אבל מסכת מכות היא נקשרת בנוסתאות ...
user6591's user avatar
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9 votes

Hillel was a student of Ezra?

Rambam in his introduction to Mishneh Torah provides the chain of transmission from Moses through the end of the Talmud. He lists Hillel as a seventh-generation student of Ezra: בית דינו של עזרא הם ...
Alex's user avatar
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9 votes
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Why will the Galilee be destroyed? - Sanhedrin 97a

Shir haShirim Rabbah (2:61, p. 121), also records the same tradition concerning the destruction of the Galilee. A commentary thereon, באור כנפי יונה (by Rabbi Jonah Etilzohn), cites the Meor Enayim of ...
Deuteronomy's user avatar
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8 votes

Didn't the lottery of Achan make G-d an informant?

This is an excellent question, and is asked in many places such as here, here, here, here, and many other places. By far the best set of answers are found in the second link above, from Daf-yomi.com, ...
רבות מחשבות's user avatar
8 votes

A rebellious elder is executed on the festival? How does that work?

Artscroll answers your questions in their notes to this Mishna In general, once someone has been sentenced to death, the court must execute him on the same day to spare him the emotional agony of ...
mbloch's user avatar
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7 votes

Pekuach nefesh and punishment

We have similar concepts in the Mishna. One is the exiled murderer who is not allowed to leave his city of refuge, even if the entire nation needs him. See Makos פרק ב - משנה ז וַאֲפִלּוּ ...
Danny Schoemann's user avatar
7 votes
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What happens if a Jewish king marries a 19th wife?

Rambam, Hilchos Melachim 3:2: ואם הוסיף אחת ובעלה לוקה If he adds an extra wife and has relations with her, he gets lashed. So that answers question #3. As for the others: On the face of it, ...
Meir's user avatar
  • 9,812
7 votes

Hillel was a student of Ezra?

The gemara says in Berachot 6b: אמר רבי חלבו אמר רב הונא כל הקובע מקום לתפלתו אלהי אברהם בעזרו וכשמת אומרים לו אי עניו אי חסיד מתלמידיו של אברהם אבינו R. Helbo said in the name of Rab Huna : Whoever ...
chessprogrammer's user avatar
7 votes

How can we reconcile the Gemara saying that Daniel was NOT a Navi, with all the Obvious (Very Intense) Prophecies of Daniel written in Sefer Daniel?

There have been various rabbinic interpretations on this issue. In addition to Tamir's note on Rashi's commentary (to Megillah 3a) - that Daniel was not technically considered a prophet since he didn'...
Aryeh's user avatar
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6 votes

Creating things with the Sefer Yetzira?

It is documented in the R' Aryeh Kaplan translation of the sefer yetzeira regarding forming a humanoid from earth/clay (Golem) and engraving the name of God on his forehead then there are specific ...
rikitikitembo's user avatar
6 votes

Why does the Gemara go through each death penalty?

Ever play scissor paper rock...? Sometimes if A is greater than B and B is greater than C then certainly A is greater than C. This is true if we compare something like mathematical amounts (like ...
David Kenner's user avatar
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6 votes

Why the Sanhedrin has a Greek name?

The book - The Great Sanhedrin (Sidney B. Hoenig) suggests that the original term was Bais Din Hagadol, which is a Hebrew term. However, he notes that due to Greek influence the term synedrion was ...
sam's user avatar
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6 votes

How was the Mekalel given the death penalty if the punishment wasn’t known?

The Chasam Sofer Kovetz Teshuvos 85 says that even though they did not know whether the Mekalel (blasphemer) was Chayav Misa(liable to death) or not, they still warned him that transgressing could ...
user15464's user avatar
  • 11.5k
6 votes

How many Jews were in Egypt before the Exodus?

R. Judah Loewe explains in his commentary to this passage that the Talmud is referring to all the people who died in Egypt over the entire course of time the Israelites were there: והם כל הדורות ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 49.6k
5 votes

Whose life comes first? Apparently contradictory Rabbinical statements

I just learned this in two different classes. In the case of the two people in the desert, the one who drinks the water will live and the one who doesn't will die, but the one who drinks the water is ...
Monica Cellio's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

Sorcerers, wizards, warlocks... what are the differences?

בעל אוב וידעוני Art Scroll 53a2 note 21 says that these are two different ways of communicating with the dead. This will be more fully described on 65a (Rashi) מכשף Art Scroll 53a2 note 29 ...
sabbahillel's user avatar
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5 votes

Why is one not obligated to give up his life rather than violate Lashon Hara?

As I noted in my answer to a very similar question, R. Isaac Ben Sheshet has a responsum in which he asserts that the Sages often exaggerated the severity of sins in order to prevent people from ...
Alex's user avatar
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5 votes
Accepted

Can a Judge Issue a Ruling After his Death?

The Mishna in Sanhedrin 5/4 writes (copied from Sefaria) אָמַר אֶחָד מִן הַתַּלְמִידִים יֶשׁ לִי לְלַמֵּד עָלָיו זְכוּת, מַעֲלִין אוֹתוֹ וּמוֹשִׁיבִין אוֹתוֹ בֵינֵיהֶן, וְלֹא הָיָה יוֹרֵד מִשָּׁם ...
פרי זהב's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

Legally speaking, do we really have so few friends?

The mishna is indeed speaking of one's best friend since they were the ones to be grooms in the time. R Adin Steinsaltz explains here The example that Rabbi Yehuda offered for someone who is a very ...
mbloch's user avatar
  • 53.1k
5 votes

Understanding the reasoning for "be killed rather than kill"

The definition you present for svara is incorrect; it is not arguable. Mahartz Chayus (Mavo Hatalmud, Ch. 4) states and proves that svara has the same status as the aforementioned methods. Therefore, ...
Dr. Shmuel's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

Why does a "hung jury" have to go through the motions of persuading someone to change his vote, instead of just acquitting?

The Gemara is Sanhedrin 34a explains that the rule that an acquitting judge cannot change his mind is limited to the time when the judges are still discussing the case. However, when they take their ...
Joel K's user avatar
  • 43.9k
5 votes

Why is וחי בהם taught in the context of one of its exceptions?

Adapting from here: Panim Yafos (by the Baal Hahaflaah) and Pnei Dovid (by the Chida): to teach us that (according to Tosafos) even with arayos, where there's no maaseh, יהרג ואל יעבור doesn't apply. ...
Meir's user avatar
  • 9,812
5 votes

Hillel was a student of Ezra?

According to the Ben Yehoyada commentary, being a disciple of Ezra was not meant as a literal student, but as one who learned from the positive traits of Ezra the Sofer, in that he was meshamesh (...
josh waxman's user avatar

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