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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin
1 but did not include [the usual phrase], 'We were in a session of three judges one of whom [subsequently] absented himself.'2 Rabina thought to rule: This is covered by Resh Lakish's dictum;3 but R. Nathan b. Ammi observed: It has been said on the authority of Raba: In all such cases a mistaken Beth din is to be suspected.4 R. Nahman b. Isaac said: If 'Beth din' is mentioned anywhere in the document, no such [fear] is necessary.5 But suppose it was a presumptuous Beth din: for Samuel said: If two tried a case, their decision stands, but they are called, 'A presumptuous Beth din!'6 — No, for the document referred to7 stated: 'The Beth din of Rabbana Ashi.'8  But perhaps the Rabbis of Rabbana Ashi's academy agreed with Samuel?9 — There was written therein, 'Rabbana Ashi told us [to write the document].10 '
Our Rabbis taught: If a man says to them:11 'I saw your father hiding money, [say,] in a strong box, a chest, or a store-room, and he told me that it belonged to so and so, or that it was [for the redemption] of the second tithe:'12  if it [the hiding place] is in the house, his statement is valueless,13 if in a field, his words stand. This is the general rule of the matter: Wherever he has access [to the hiding place] his statement stands;14 but otherwise, it is of no value. If they [the heirs] saw their father hide money in a strong box, chest or store-room, saying, 'It belongs to so and so,' or 'It is for the payment of the second tithe': if it [his statement] was by way of giving directions, his words stand; but if it was in the nature of an evasion,15 his statement is of no value. If one felt distressed over some money which his father had left him,16 and the dispenser of dreams17 appeared to him and named the sum, indicated the place, and specified its purpose, saying that it was [for the redemption] of the second tithe — such an incident once occurred, and they [the Rabbis on that occasion] said: Dreams have no importance for good or ill.18
IF TWO DECLARE HIM NOT LIABLE etc. How is it [the judgment] worded?19 — R. Johanan said: [Thus; 'The defendant is] not liable.' Resh Lakish said: 'So and so [of the judges] acquit; so and so holds him liable.' R. Eleazar said: 'As a result of their [the judges'] discussion, [it is decided that] he is not liable.' Wherein do they [practically] differ? — As to whether he is to share in the payment of compensation, [in case of error,] together with the others.20 On the view [that the verdict is to be worded]: 'He [the defendant] is not liable,'21 he [the dissenting judge] must pay his share;22 while on the view [that the wording should be]: 'So and so acquit, and so and so holds him liable,' he makes no restitution.23 But even on the view [that the wording should be]: 'He is not liable,' he [the dissentient] might argue, 'Had you accepted my opinion, you too would not have to pay!24 — But the difference arises concerning their liability to pay his share in addition to their own. According to the view [that the verdict is framed thus]: 'He is not liable,' they bear [the whole] liability;25 but on the view [that it is worded]: 'So and so [of the judges] acquit, and so and so holds him liable,' they do not pay [the dissentient's share].26 But even according to the opinion [that the wording should be]: 'He [the defendant] is not liable,' why should they pay [the whole amount]? They might surely argue:27 Hadst thou not been with us, the trial would have had no result at all! — The difference must arise therefore with reference to, Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people.28 R. Johanan says: [The verdict is to be framed thus:] He is not liable,' because of this injunction against talebearing.29 Resh Lakish holds [that the wording must be]: 'So and so acquit; so and so holds him liable,' since [otherwise] it [the verdict] would appear a falsehood,30 while R. Eleazar agrees with both; therefore it [the verdict] must be framed thus: 'After a decision by the judges, he was found not liable.'
WHEN THE VERDICT IS ARRIVED AT, etc. Whom [do they admit]? Shall we say, the litigants: but they are there already?31 But [if it refers to] the witnesses: whose view is this? Assuredly it does not agree with R. Nathan, for it has been taught: The evidence of witnesses cannot be combined,32 unless they simultaneously saw what they state in evidence. R. Joshua b. Korha said: Evidence is valid even if they witnessed it consecutively. Again, their evidence is not admissible by the court unless they both testify together. R. Nathan said; The court may hear the evidence of one witness one day, and when the other appears the next day, they may hear his evidence!33 No. In reality, the litigants are meant, and this represents the view of R. Nehemiah. For it has been taught: R. Nehemiah said: This was the custom of the fair-minded34 in Jerusalem; first the litigants were admitted and their statements heard; then the witnesses were admitted and their statements heard. Then they35 were ordered out, and the matter was discussed. [And when the verdict was arrived at etc.]36 But has it not been explicitly taught: When the deliberations come to an end, the witnesses are readmitted?37 That certainly does not agree with R. Nathan.
The above text [reads]: 'The evidence of witnesses cannot be combined unless they simultaneously saw what they state in evidence. R. Joshua b. Korha said: It is valid even if they saw it consecutively.' Wherein do they differ? — If you wish, I might say, in the interpretation of a Biblical verse; alternatively, in a matter of logic. On the latter assumption, [the first Tanna argues,] the [loan of the] maneh to which the one testifies, is not attested by the other, and vice versa.38 Whereas the other [Tanna]39 [argues that, after all,] both testify to a mina in general.40 Alternatively, they differ in respect to a Biblical verse. For it is written, And he is a witness whether he has seen or known of it.41 Now, it has been taught:42 From the implications of the verse, A witness shall not rise up etc.,43 do I not know that one is meant? Why then state 'one'.? — That it may establish the principle that wherever it says A witness, it implies two, unless one is specified by the verse.44 And the Divine Law expressed it in the singular to teach that they must witness [the act in question] both together as one man.45 And the other?46 — He is a witness whether he hath seen or known of it,47 teaches that in all circumstances [the evidence is admissible].48
'Again, their evidence is not admissible by the court unless they both testify together. R. Nathan said: The court may hear the evidence of one witness one day, and when the other witness appears the next day, they may hear his evidence.' Wherein do they differ? — Either in a matter of logic or in [the interpretation of] a Biblical text.
'Either in a matter of logic.' One Master argues: A single witness comes to impose an oath, but not to prove liability.49 The other50 argues: Even if they appear simultaneously, do they testify with one mouth?51 But [nevertheless], their evidence is combined. So here too [where they come separately] their evidence may be combined.
'Or [in interpretation of] a Biblical text.' [And he is a witness whether he has seen or known of it;] If he do not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity.52
1 they differ as to whether the 'uttering' [of the testimony] is assimilated to the 'seeing' [of the fact attested]. One Master2 maintains that 'uttering' is assimilated to 'seeing';3 the other4 holds that they are not assimilated.
R. Simeon b. Eliakim was anxious for R. Jose son of R. Hanina to be ordained, but an opportunity did not present itself.5 One day, as he was sitting before R. Johanan, the latter asked them [the students]: 'Does anyone know whether the halachah rests with R. Joshua b. Korha or not?'6 R. Simeon b. Eliakim replied, 'This man here [R. Jose son of R. Hanina] knows.' 'Let him then answer,' said R. Johanan. Thereupon P. Simeon b. Eliakim said: 'Let the Master first ordain him.'7 So he ordained him and then asked: 'My son, what tradition in the matter have you heard?' — 'I heard,' replied R. Jose son of R. Hanina, 'that R. Joshua b. Korha agreed with R. Nathan [that the evidence need not be given simultaneously].'8 R. Johanan exclaimed: 'Is that what I wanted? If R. Joshua b. Korha maintained that the essential witnessing [of the act need not have been simultaneous, is it necessary [to state this] in reference to the giving of evidence [in court]! However, he concluded, since you have ascended,9 you need not descend.'10 R. Zera said: We may infer from this that once a great man is ordained, he remains so.11
R. Hiyya b. Abin said in Rab's name: The halachah rests with R. Joshua b. Korha in respect to both immovable and movable property.12 'Ulla said: The halachah rests with R. Joshua b. Korha only in respect to immovable,13 but not movable property.14 Said Abaye to him: [Your statement as to the] halachah, implies that they [the Rabbis] dispute [thereon]: but did not Raba say in R. Huna's name in Rab's name: The Sages agree with R. Joshua b. Korha in respect to testimony concerning real estate? Moreover, R. Idi b. Abin learned in Karna's compilation [of Halachoth] on Nezikin:15 'The Sages agree with R. Joshua b. Korha in respect to [evidence regarding] firstborns,16 real estate, Hazakah,17 and [the symptoms of puberty] in males and females likewise'?18 — Would you oppose man to man!19 One Master ['Ulla] holds that they differ: the other [R. Abba or R. Idi] holds that they do not.
What is meant by, 'And [the symptoms of puberty] in males and females likewise'? Does it mean that one [witness] testified to [the appearance of] one hair on the part below [the genitals] and another to one hair on the part above? But that is both half of the necessary fact, and also half of the requisite testimony!20 — But it means that one testified to two hairs on the part below, and the other to two hairs on the part above.
R. Joseph said: I state on the authority of 'Ulla that the halachah is as R. Joshua b. Korha says, in respect to both movable and immovable property. Whilst the Rabbis who came from Mehuza state that R. Zera said in Rab's name: [This ruling holds good only] in the case of movable, but not immovable property. Rab21 follows his own views. For he said: An admission after an admission,22 or an admission after a loan,23 may be combined.24 But a loan after a loan,25 or a loan after an admission cannot be combined.
R. Nahman b. Isaac, on meeting R. Huna the son of R. Joshua, asked him: Wherein does a loan after a loan differ, so that it [the testimony] is not [combined]: because the [loan of a] maneh witnessed by one is not the same as that witnessed by the other? Then the same applies to an admission after an admission: the [debt of a] maneh which he admitted in the presence of one witness may not be the same as that which he admitted before the other witness! — It means that he declared to the latter (witness): 'Regarding the maneh which I have admitted in your presence, I have also made an admission in the presence of so and so.' Yet even then, only the latter would know [this], but not the former? — He [subsequently] went again and said to the first witness: 'The maneh which I admitted receiving in your presence, I also admitted receiving in the presence of so and so.' Thereupon [R. Nahman] said to him [R. Huna the son of R. Joshua]: 'May your mind be at ease as you have made mine.' Said he, 'Why at ease?' Did not Raba — others say, R. Shesheth — hurl a hatchet at this [answer];26 viz., surely it is then identical with the case of an admission after a loan.27 Thereupon he [R. Nahman b. Isaac] said to him: 'This proves what I heard about you folk, that you tear down palm trees and set them up again.'28
The Nehardeans said: [In all cases,] whether of admission after admission, admission after loan, loan after loan, or loan after admission, the testimonies are combined. With whom does this agree? — With R. Joshua b. Korha.
Rab Judah said: Testimony that is contradicted29 under examination,30 is valid in civil suits. Raba said: Logically, Rab Judah's ruling refers to such a case as where one witness says: '[I saw it paid] out of a black bag,' and the other says, 'Out of a white bag.' But if one declares, 'The money was old,'31 and the other says, 'The money was new,'32 their testimonies cannot be combined. But in criminal cases, are not testimonies combined where there are differences such as over the colour of a bag? Did not R. Hisda say: 'If one testifies that it [sc. the murder] was with a sword, and the other maintains, it was with a dagger, it is not valid33 evidence; whereas if one affirms that the colour of his garments was black, and the other that it was white, their evidence is valid'?
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