What are the sources for the laws in the mishna that require a court of 71? There are a few additional details in the mishna regarding a city that all worship idols. These details are explained and the derivation for these details are brought. The debate between Rabbi Yehuda and the tanna kamma about whether the court is 70 or 71 is discussed.
The gemara gives three expalnations what the mishna means when it says valuations of moveable items. Why does Rabbi Yehuda require one kohen? Why in land valuations does it need to be 9 and one kohen? What is the case of a person mentinoed here? What is the status of a person’s hair ready to be cut – is it like moveable items or is it considered part of the person’s body and therefore needs 10 people? What cases are included in the nirba and rovea? An ox who gores a person – from where do we derive this halacha of 23? Abaye questions Rava about this derivation and three potential answers are brought (two are rejected). The case about the wild animals is discussed and several unclear issues from the mishna are resolved. The shevet – what is the case? Three suggestions are brought and analyzed.
How many judges for smicha on the par of the judges? Where are the opinions derived from? How many judges to give smicha to Rabbis? How was smicha done? Where could it be done? Redemption of neta revai and ma’aser shena, as well as consecrated items mentioned in the mishna are discussed.
What are other issues regarding intercalation of the months? What time of year can it be done? What month can be added? Can the people not being pure for the Pesach sacrifice be a consideration? How does the timing of the equinox work? Is it calculated by the autumnal equinox or by the spring equinox? Does all of Sukkot need to be in the autumn or all the days of chol hamoed or is it enough if just one day (the last) is in the autumn season? Is the equinox the last day of the previous season or the first day of the upcoming season?
On what criteria is the decision made to intercalate the month? One of the criteria is that it needs to be done by those who are chosen by the Nasi. A case is brought where one extra came and Rabban Gamliel asked him to leave. Shmuel HaKatan, so as not to embarrass the one who did it, took the blame. From here the gemara digresses to other similar stories.
Eight different interpretations are brought to explain what is the case in the mishna where Rabbi Meir and the rabbis debate whether one who claims his wife was not a virgin when they got married (and that she had relations with someone after the engagement) is done in a court of 3 or 23, and what is the issue of their debate. Can we have a case where false witnesses can incur the death penalty and also incur payment? Can one testify about another while also incriminating himself? What about one’s spouse? What about one’s possessions? What is the root of the debate about lashes whether they are dealt with in a court of 3 or 23? When the mishna says “ibur hachodesh” what is meant by this? Four different interpretations are brought.
The gemara extrapolates the verses at the beginning of sefer devarim when Moshe discusses setting up the court system. The gemara learns from here all sorts of laws relating to judges to ensure fair judgments (not showing favoritism, etc. and that the people listen to the courts (implements used by judges for enforcement purposes). The gemara now goes back to the mishna. double payment is in a court of three. Since it is a payment of a fine, can it be judged by one specialist as in theft and injuries? The debate regarding one who accuses his wife about not being a virgin is disucssed – what is at the root of the debate? A number of explanations are given, most of them narrowing the focus of the debate to more specific cases.
Is compromise/mediation something that is a viable option? Is it ideal? Is it forbidden? If it is allowed, at what point in the course of the case is it too late to use mediation? Various opinions are suggested. Various statements are brought regarding the seriousness with which a judge should have when ruling and the level of responsibility that he bears.
Even though it says in the mishna that a court is made up of three judges, exceptions are made. An expert can judge on one’s own. Rabbi Abahu and Shmuel debate if 2 judges ruled in a case, would their judgment be effective? in what cases does a judge who makes a mistake, need to pay out of pocket to fix the mistake? When mediation is done, how many people are needed to mediate? Is mediation looked upon as a favorable solution or not?
According to Rabbi Yochanan there are five rabbis who all hold that when there is a contradiction between the way the text is read/pronounced and the way it is written, we follow the way it is pronounced. Each case where is it said is brought and explained. Then the gemara questions whether or not anyone holds differently than that – doesn’t everyone follow the pronunciation (proof from cooking milk in meat – it is read as milk – chalev – and not forbidden fat – cheilev). This assumption is disproven and a different explanation is brought to explain why everyone agrees in the milk/meat verse.