The mishna states that one who first thought to acquit cannot later bring an argument to convict. Rav explains that this is only meant during the time of the deliberations but when making the final decision, one can switch positions even to convict. Several attempts are made to contradict Rav’s opinion but all are resolved. From where do we derive that monetary cases must begin during the day but can continue in the night? Rabbi Meir disagrees with this opinion and the derivation for his opinion is brought.
A contradiction is brought between our mishna that indicates that monetary cases can be overturned and a mishna in bechorot that indicates that when a mistake is made, the ruling stays and the judge pays the difference. Several answers are brought. The gemara then discusses why in capital cases the judgement can only be overturned to acquit. The gemara derives that there are other categories that are treated like capital cases in this regard.
In both monetary and capital cases, the judges question the witnesses in a thorough manner. The gemara questions this based on a braita and gives a number of potential solutions. The mishna delineates many differences between monetary and capital cases. The gemara begins by explaining details of things that are unique to capital cases that were mentioned in the mishna.
If the witnesses contradict each other regarding certain details, their testimony is still admissible but regarding other details it is not. Which details are those that are able to be contradicted and which are not? Is this the case both in monetary cases and in capital cases or only in monetary cases? At what point is it too late to bring further evidence? Can one side force the other to be judged in a larger court in another city?
If there is a disagreement among the judges, the majority is followed but what is written in the court verdict? Does it mention that there was a disagreement and if so, are the judges who disagreed mentioned by name? Do the two witnesses need to see the event they are testifying against together? What if they both corroborate the same facts (i.e. the person took out a loan of a particular amount from the same person) but they were talking about 2 separate instances? Do the two witnesses need to testify together in the court or can they appear in court separately? Both of these issues are subjects of debate. According to whom do we hold and is the halacha different in the first argument if the issue of land or movable property?
What exactly happens in the court? How are the witnesses questioned? How is the majority decided? If one admits to another he/she owes the other money, are there circumstances under which that person can later claim that he/she was joking or doesn’t remember ever saying that and doesn’t owe the money? Do the witnesses need to be designated by the debtor or not?
More derivations of laws regarding relatives are brought as well as more detailed descriptions of relationships that are problematic. General principles are also discussed – can one testify for his brother’s grandchild (1st generation to third generation)? Can a 2nd generation testify for a third (a person on one’s uncle’s grandchildren). Different versions from the tannaim are brought regarding the categories mentioned in the mishna – which relations include also their sons and sons in-law and which do not?
If someone is convicted as a false witness (ed zomem), is any testimony of his from the time he testified falsely, inadmissible or is it only from the time he is convicted? If one eats non kosher meat to express insolence but not for financial reasons or because he desires it, is one disqualified from being a witness? Both these cases are debates between Rava and Abaye. Which relatives are disqualified from being witnesses? Where are the laws of relatives derived from?
What was originally the situation with collectors of shviit and what changed? An interesting story about Reish Lakish tagging along two rabbis is mentioned and in the context of that, stories about Shevna, Hizkiyahu’s steward, are brought. Are people who are wrongdoers in areas that do not involve money also prohibited from testifying?
If someone repents, how does the community/society know that he repented and can allow him to testify for others in court? What were other categories of people that were originally allowed to testify but ultimately were not accepted as witnesses.