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SANHEDRIN 32 (25 Av) - Dedicated by Rabbi Dr. Eli Turkel of Raanana, l'Iluy Nishmas his mother, Golda bas Chaim Yitzchak Ozer (Mrs. Gisela Turkel) who passed away on 25 Av 5760. Mrs. Turkel accepted Hashem's Gezeiros with love; may she be a Melitzas Yosher for her offspring and for all of Klal Yisrael.


1. Both Dinei Mamonos (monetary cases) and Dinei Nefashos (capital cases) require Derishah and Chakirah.
2. A Beis Din may rule on Dinei Mamonos on the same day that they hear the case. A guilty verdict in a case of Dinei Nefashos, however, must be postponed.
3. Dinei Nefashos may not be judged on Erev Shabbos and Erev Yom Tov.
4. When Beis Din judges Dinei Mamonos and cases of Temei'os and Taharos, the discussions begin from the Gadol, but in Dinei Nefashos the discussions begin from the Katan.
5. Dinei Mamonos may be adjudicated by any judge, regardless of his lineage, but Dinei Nefashos must be adjudicated by judges whose lineage is considered Kosher.
6. If the witnesses on a Shtar are Huzam, the Shtar is still valid even if it is dated on the first day of Nisan in a Shemitah year.
7. A Shtar that is predated is Pasul, but a postdated Shtar is valid.
8. A Din Merumah requires Derishah and Chakirah.
9. Judges should make an equal effort to pursue Din and Pesharah (compromise).
10. It is a Mitzvah to pursue the best Beis Din available.
11. Beis Din is required to open their discussions in a case of Dinei Nefashos with a statement for the Zechus of the defendant.


1. Although the Torah does require Derishah and Chakirah even for Dinei Mamonos, the Rabanan waived that requirement. They were concerned that potential lenders might be deterred from lending money because the need for Derishah and Chakirah would make it difficult for them to recoup their money in Beis Din (since their witnesses might make a mistake in the Derishah and Chakirah and thereby become disqualified). However, the Rabanan did not eliminate the requirement for Derishah and Chakirah in Dinei Kenasos and in a Din Merumah.
2. Dinei Mamonos are judged during the day, and Beis Din may issue its ruling on the same day or even that night. A verdict in a case of Dinei Nefashos may be issued only during the day. If Beis Din finds the defendant guilty, they must postpone their verdict until the next day because the Torah requires the judges to deliberate a guilty verdict overnight.
3. It is forbidden for Beis Din to begin hearing a case of Dinei Nefashos on Erev Shabbos or Erev Yom Tov, because if the defendant is found guilty, it would be forbidden to carry out the death sentence on Shabbos or Yom Tov. Due to the prohibition of Inuy Din, Beis Din also cannot issue the verdict on Erev Shabbos and delay the death penalty until after Shabbos.
4. When Beis Din judges cases of Dinei Mamonos or of Tum'ah and Taharah, the Gadol (the most experienced judge) states his opinion first. In cases of Dinei Nefashos, however, the opinion of the Katan (the least experienced of the judges) is heard first. This procedure was enacted because it is prohibited to dissent with the Rav of the Beis Din, so if the Gadol rules first and finds the defendant guilty, the other judges will not be able to disagree even if they feel that he is innocent.
5. Even a Mamzer is permitted to judge Dinei Mamonos, but Dinei Nefashos may be judged only by Kohanim, Leviyim, and Yisraelim whose daughters are permitted to marry Kohanim.
6. If a Shtar attests that two witnesses saw a loan take place in a specific location on a certain date but two other witnesses testify in Beis Din that the witnesses on the Shtar were in a different place on that date, the Shtar remains valid. Beis Din assumes that the Shtar was written on an earlier date in the place written in the Shtar, and it was simply postdated. Beis Din does not invalidate the Shtar even if it was dated on the first day of Nisan in a Shemitah year. Even though such a Shtar would appear to be falsified, since all debts must be forfeited at the end of the Shemitah year and a lender therefore would not be likely to agree to postdate his Shtar to such a date, Beis Din nevertheless does assume that the Shtar was postdated.
7. If witnesses write a Shtar that is dated earlier than the date the loan took place, the Shtar is Pasul. A predated Shtar would enable the lender to unlawfully collect land that was purchased from the borrower after the date of the Shtar, even though in truth the debt was incurred at a later date. Consequently, the Rabanan decreed that a predated Shtar is completely invalid.
8. The Rabanan decreed that Dinei Mamonos do not require Derishah and Chakirah. However, if the judges sense that the claimant is a dishonest person or is making dishonest claims, they must conduct Derishah and Chakirah anyway.
9. If two boats are heading toward each other in a narrow river where there is no room for both to pass, the boat with the lighter load should give way to the boat with the heavier load. That is the practice of Din. If both boats are carrying equally heavy freight, they should make a Pesharah. One of the boats should be permitted to pass, but the other should be compensated for the delay.
10. A person should make an effort to bring his case to the best Beis Din. For example, a person should go to Lod in order to bring a case before Rebbi Eliezer's Beis Din or to Baror Chayil in order to have a case heard by Rebbi Yochanan Ben Zakai's Beis Din.
11. Rabah explains that after a Beis Din listens to the incriminating testimony in a case of Dinei Nefashos, they should ask the defendant if he has any witnesses who can contradict the testimony. Rav Kahana maintains that Beis Din should say that it seems from the witnesses' testimony that the defendant will be Zakai. Abaye and Rava maintain that Beis Din should tell the defendant that if he did not really commit the transgression for which he is on trial, he has nothing to fear. Rav Ashi maintains that Beis Din should announce that anyone who can testify in the defendant's Zechus should come and testify.

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