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SANHEDRIN 37
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SANHEDRIN 37 (30 Av) - Today's study material has been dedicated by Al and Sophie Ziegler of Har Nof, Yerushalayim, in honor of the Yahrzeit of Al's father, Bernard B. Ziegler - Binyamin Baruch ben Avraham (and Miryam), which occurs on 30 Menachem Av.

SUMMARY

1. Three rows of students, each row containing twenty-three students, sit in front of the Sanhedrin.
 
2. When judges are added to a Sanhedrin, the Talmidim who are sitting at the beginning of the front row are the ones who are appointed.
 
3. The judges on the Sanhedrin sit in a semicircle.
 
4. There may never be fewer than twenty-three judges sitting in the Lishkas Ha'Gazis.
 
5. The judges attempt to frighten witnesses who come to testify that a person is Chayav Misah.
 
6. Taking a person's life is tantamount to destroying the world.
 
7. Even though the Sanhedrin has been disbanded ever since the Beis ha'Mikdash was destroyed, the Din of the four Misos of Beis Din is still in effect.
 
8. Even in a case of Dinei Mamonos, witnesses may not testify on something that they estimate to have occurred or on something that they merely heard from the actual eyewitnesses.
 
9. Even if a person admits to the witnesses that he owes money, he is still Patur.
 
10. Galus atones for a person's Aveiros.

A BIT MORE

1. In order for Beis Din to sentence a person to Misas Beis Din, the judges who maintain that he is Chayav must outnumber the judges who maintain that he is Zakai by at least two judges. If only one additional judge rules that the defendant is Chayav Misah, more judges must be added to the Beis Din in order to determine the correct ruling. Consequently, rows of Talmidim are seated before the Sanhedrin so that additional judges can be appointed to the Sanhedrin from within those rows. Up to forty-eight judges can be added to a Beis Din of twenty-three judges, since a Beis Din may consist of no more than seventy-one judges.
 
2. The Talmidim who sit before the Sanhedrin are seated in order of prominence. Therefore, when some of the Talmidim are appointed to the Sanhedrin, the Talmidim at the beginning of the front row are selected because they are the most prominent Talmidim, and the rest of the Talmidim are all moved forward. The new students who come to replace those who were added to the Sanhedrin are then seated at the end of the third row.
 
3. The judges on a Sanhedrin sit in a semicircle so that they can all face each other; if they were to sit in a straight line, they would not all be able to see each other. They do not sit in a complete circle because the witnesses and Ba'alei Dinim must stand facing all the judges.
 
4. The Sanhedri Gedolah of seventy-one judges sits in the Lishkas ha'Gazis in the Beis ha'Mikdash. If one of the judges needs to leave, he must first ascertain that there will be at least twenty-three other judges remaining in the Lishkas ha'Gazis. If there will be fewer than twenty-three judges remaining, the judge is not permitted to leave.
 
5. When witnesses come to testify in cases of Dinei Nefashos, the judges try to intimidate them to prevent them from giving false testimony. The judges warn the witnesses that if they think that they can testify on something that they did not actually see but only estimate that it occurred, or on something that they heard about from other people but did not witness personally, or if they do not realize that Beis Din will interrogate them with Derishos and Chakiros, they should be aware that the sin of testifying falsely in Dinei Nefashos is more severe than the sin of testifying falsely in Dinei Mamonos. Witnesses who testify falsely in Dinei Mamonos can atone for their misdeed by compensating the damaged party for the money he lost, but witnesses who testify falsely on Dinei Nefashos and cause a person to be put to death unjustly cannot rectify their sin, for a life can never be given back.
 
6. Adam ha'Rishon was created alone in order to convey the message that the life of one person is so valuable that taking a life is tantamount to destroying the entire world and sustaining a life is tantamount to sustaining the entire world. Since every individual's life is as valuable as the entire world, each person should feel as if the entire world was created for his sake. A person who understands his own importance will not commit Aveiros which would cause him to be removed from the world.
 
7. Now that the Sanhedrin no longer exists and capital punishments cannot be meted out, a person who commits an Aveirah for which there is a Chiyuv Misas Beis Din will be Divinely punished with the same form of Misah that Beis Din would have administered. A person who would have been Chayav Sekilah will fall off a roof or will be torn apart by a wild animal. A person who would have been Chayav Sereifah will be burned in a fire or will be bitten by a snake whose venom will burn him. A person who would have been Chayav Sayif will be killed by the king or by bandits. A person who would have been Chayav Chenek will drown or will choke to death.
 
8. Rebbi Acha maintains that witnesses may testify in Dinei Mamonos about something that they estimate to have occurred. However, the Chachamim maintain that even in Dinei Mamonos, witnesses may testify only on something that they personally saw, not on something that they deduced from estimation or that they heard about from someone else.
 
9. A person does not become obligated by his own admission that he owes money unless the claimant is present when he makes the admission.
 
10. Rebbi Yehudah Brei d'Rebbi Chiya maintains that Galus atones for half of a person's Aveiros. Rebbi Yehudah maintains that Galus saves a person from the punishments of sword, hunger and plague. Rebbi Yochanan maintains that Galus atones for everything.

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