Aug 312017

Study Guide Sanhedrin 46

Those who were stoned were also hung – does this include all or only some of those who were stoned?  How did the hanging process work?   Were women also hung?   Many of these laws are derived from 2 verses in Devarim regarding the death penalty.  The dead body must be buried by nightfall.   It is further derived from this verse that anyone who has a relative who dies must bury them by nightfall, unless there is an important reason to delay that would relate to respect for the dead.

Aug 302017

Study Guide Sanhedrin 45

If after the person is convicted, the witnesses claim that they were lying, we do not accept their testimony and the person is killed.  Likewise, if the convicted person himself makes it clear that he/she is innocent, they are still sent to be killed as there is reason to believe that they are not telling the truth and therefore the court’s original ruling stands.  How was the stoning ceremony done?  A man is stripped of his clothing but was the woman also?  This is a subject of debate and seems to contradict a similar argument by the same rabbis regarding the Sotah.  One who is stoned is thrown from a building by one of the witnesses and then a rock is thrown on him by another. Where is this derived from?  In all of these laws, there is an underlying concept that one should choose the quickest method of death.

Aug 292017

The one who is taken out to be stoned is asked to confess.  The importance of confession is learned from Achan.   The story of Achan is analyzed and verses are extrapolated to teach various halachot as well as moral messages.  To what extent are the Jewish people responsible for others?   Can children be killed for the sins of their parents?  Is it OK for Yehoshua to complain to God when 36 people were killed in the battle of Ai?  Are angels allowed to complain to God?  What role do angels play in our prayers?  Are we allowed to pray to angels?

Aug 282017

Study Guide Sanhedrin 42-43

Once convicted of stoning, there were a number of processes instituted in order to allow for a chance that new evidence may be brought forward to acquit.  A whole section of the gemara about Yeshu the Nazarene was censored and does not appear in the standard printed edition of the gemara.   The missing text can be found on the attached sheet.

Aug 252017

Study Guide Sanhedrin 40

How many questions do they ask the witnesses?  What are the different types of questions that they ask – what is the difference between chakirot and bedikot?  Where are the number of chakirot derived from?  What is the derivation for the law relating to warning the accused before he committed the crime?

Aug 202017

Why must capital cases only be judged during the day?  If the court wants to convict in a capital case, they need to wait until the following day.  Where is that law derived from?  Based on that law, cases can’t begin on a Friday – the gemara explains why.  In the context of that discussion the gemara explains that capital punishment doesn’t override Shabbat.  Several kal vachomers are suggested regarding what types of things could possibly override Shabbat, and whether or not they do is clarified.