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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin
The Nehardeans said: Even if one testified that it was an old maneh, and the other declares that it was new, we combine [their testimony]. With whom does this agree: with R. Joshua b. Korha?2 But tell me! when did you learn that R. Joshua b. Korha ruled thus? Only where they are not contradictory:3 Yet did he rule so even where they contradict each other? — But they [i.e., the Nehardeans] agree with the following Tanna: For it has been taught:4 R. Simeon b. Eleazar said: Beth Shammai and Beth Hillel5 do not differ with respect to two sets of witnesses, [of which] one attests a debt of two hundred [zuz] and the other of one hundred [a maneh]: since one hundred is included in two hundred.6 They differ only where there is but one set.7 Beth Shammai say, Their testimony is sundered,8 but Beth Hillel maintain, Two hundred include one hundred.9
If one witness attests [the loan of] a barrel of wine, and the other, of a barrel of oil: — such a case happened, and it was brought before R. Ammi, who ordered him [the defendant] to repay a barrel of wine out of [the value of] the barrel of oil.10 In accordance with whom? With R. Simeon b. Eleazar [as above]! But might it not be said that R. Simeon b. Eleazar ruled so only [of a case such as the former,] where a hundred zuz is certainly included in two hundred.11 Did he however rule thus in such a case as this?12 — This holds good only in respect to the value thereof.13
If one deposes, It [e.g., the loan] was given in the upper storey, and the other declares, In the lower storey, — R. Hanina said: It happened that such a case was brought before Rabbi and he combined their evidence.
AND WHENCE DO WE KNOW etc. Our Rabbis taught: Whence do we know that when he goes out he must not say: I was for acquittal, whilst my colleagues were for condemnation; but what could I do, seeing that they were in the majority? — Scripture states: Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people,14 and further, He that goeth about talebearing revealeth secrets.15
It was rumoured of a certain disciple that he revealed a matter stated [as a secret] in the Beth ha-Midrash twenty-two years before. So R. Ammi expelled him from the Beth ha-Midrash saying: This man revealeth secrets.
MISHNAH. WHENEVER HE16 BRINGS PROOF, IT17 CAN UPSET THE VERDICT. BUT IF THEY18 HAVE TOLD HIM: 'ALL THE PROOFS WHICH YOU MAY HAVE YOU MUST PRODUCE WITHIN THIRTY DAYS:' IF HE DIES SO WITHIN THIRTY DAYS, IT UPSETS [THE DECISION]. AFTER THIRTY DAYS, IT DOES NOT. BUT RABBAN SIMEON B. GAMALIEL SAID: WHAT IS HE TO DO WHO DID NOT FIND [FAVOURABLE EVIDENCE] WITHIN THE THIRTY DAYS, BUT ONLY THEREAFTER?19
IF THEY18 HAVE SAID TO HIM, 'BRING WITNESSES,' AND HE ANSWERED, 'I HAVE NONE,' OR, 'BRING PROOF,'20 AND HE REPLIED, 'I HAVE NONE:' YET SUBSEQUENTLY HE PRODUCED PROOF, OR FOUND WITNESSES, IT IS OF NO VALUE.21 SAID RABBAN SIMEON B. GAMALIEL: WHAT IS HE TO DO WHO DID NOT KNOW THAT WITNESSES WERE AVAILABLE, BUT FOUND THEM AFTERWARDS; OR THAT THERE WAS PROOF, YET DISCOVERED IT LATER?22
GEMARA. Rabbah son of R. Huna said: The halachah rests with Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel.25 Rabbah son of R. Huna also said: The halachah does not rest with the Sages. But is this not obvious; since he says that the halachah rests with Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel it automatically follows that the halachah is not as the Sages? — I might have thought that his ruling26 holds good only at the outset;27 but once it [i.e., the reverse] has been done,28 it is correct: therefore he informs us29 that even then, it [the decision] is reversed.
IF THEY SAID TO HIM: 'BRING WITNESSES,' etc. … SAID RABBAN SIMEON B. GAMALIEL etc. — Rabbah son of R. Huna said in R. Johanan's name: The halachah rests with the Sages. Rabbah son of R. Huna also said in R. Johanan's name: The halachah does not rest with Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel. But is this not obvious; since he said that the halachah rests with the Sages it follows automatically that the halachah does not rest with Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel? What he teaches us is this: Only in this case is the halachah not as Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel holds; whereas in all other cases,30 the halachah rests with him. Thus he opposes the dictum of Rabbah b. Bar Hana in the name of R. Johanan, viz., Wherever Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel's view is taught in our Mishnah, the halachah rests with him, except in [the following three cases]: 'Areb,31 Zidon32 and 'the latter proof'.33
A lad34 was once summoned for a [civil] suit before R. Nahman. The latter asked him: 'Have you any witnesses?' He answered: 'No.' 'Have you any [documentary] proof?' 'No,' was the reply. Consequently, R. Nahman ruled him to be liable. As he went along weeping, some people heard him and said to him, 'We know your father's affairs.'35 Said R. Nahman: In such a case even the Rabbis36 agree that the youth is not expected to know his father's affairs.37 A certain woman38 produced a note of a debt,39 but said to him:40 'I know that this bill was discharged.' R. Nahman41 believed her.42 Said Raba to him: According to whose view [did you act]? According to Rabbi who said: [Ownership of] 'letters' is acquired through delivery?43 This case is different, he replied, since she could have burnt it, had she desired.44 Others say, R. Nahman did not believe her. Thereupon Raba objected: But had she desired,
Sanhedrin 31bshe could have burnt it! — Since it had been proved at Court,1 we cannot say that she could have destroyed it had she desired.
Raba refuted R. Nahman: A witnessed receipt2 must be authenticated by the signatories. If unwitnessed, but produced by a trustee, or if written on the note of indebtedness, under the signatures of the witnesses, it is also valid.3 Hence we see that the trustee is believed! This refutation of R. Nahman remains unanswered.
When R. Dimi came [from Palestine] he said in R. Johanan's name: One may always adduce proof to upset [the decision unless he declares his arguments closed, and [immediately thereafter] says: Admit so and so to testify on my behalf.4 But is not this selfcontradictory? First you say, 'Unless he declares his arguments closed,' — which agrees with the Rabbis;5 then you say, 'and [immediately thereafter] says, Admit so and so to testify on my behalf' — which agrees with Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel!6 And should you answer, The whole agrees with Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel, and that [the latter clause is] merely elucidatory [of the first] viz., What is meant by, 'Unless he declares his arguments closed'? That means he says, Admit so and so that he may give evidence for me:'7 but did not Rabbah b. Bar Hana say in R. Johanan's name: Wherever Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel's view is taught in our Mishnah, the halachah rests with him, save in the cases of 'Areb, Zidon, and the 'latter proof'?8 — But when R. Samuel b. Judah came [from Palestine], he said in R. Johanan's name: One may always produce evidence to upset [a decision], unless he declares his case closed and they say unto him, 'Bring witnesses,' and he answers, 'I have no witnesses;' 'Bring proof,' and he replies, 'I have no proof.'9 If, however, witnesses arrive from overseas, or if his father's despatch case10 had been deposited with a stranger, he can produce the evidence and upset [the decision].
When R. Dimi came [from Palestine], he said in R. Johanan's name: If a man, known as a difficult adversary in court, [has a trial,]11 and one of them12 says: Let us be tried here; while the other says: Let us go to the place of Assembly,13 he is compelled to go to the place of Assembly. R. Eleazar, however, said in his presence: Rabbi, if a man claims a maneh from his fellow, must he spend another maneh14 on top of the first? Nay, he is compelled to attend the local court.15 It has been stated likewise: R. Safra said [in R. Johanan's name]:16 If two litigants are in obstinate disagreement with respect to [the venue of] a lawsuit, and one says: Let us be tried here; and the other says: Let us go to the place of Assembly;17 he [the defendant] must attend the court in his18 home town. And if it is necessary to consult [the Assembly], the matter is written down and forwarded to them. And if the litigant19 says 'Write down the grounds on which you made your decision and give them to me,20 they must write them down and give him the document.
The Yebamah21 is bound to follow the Yabam [to his own town] that he may release her.22 How far? — R. Ammi answered: Even from Tiberias to Sepphoris.23 R. Kahana said: What verse proves it? — Then the elders of his city shall call him;24 but not the elders of her city.
Amemar said: The law is that he is compelled to go to the place of the Assembly.25 R. Ashi said to him: Did not R. Eleazar say, He is compelled to attend court in his [opponent's] town? — That is only where the debtor demands it26 of the creditor; but if the creditor [demands, it, the debtor must submit, for] The borrower is servant to the lender.27
A message was once sent28 to Mar 'Ukba:29 'To him whose lustre is like that of the son of Bithia,30 Peace be with thee. 'Ukban the Babylonian has complained to us, saying: "My brother Jeremiah has obstructed my way."31 Speak therefore to him, and see that he meets us in Tiberias.' But is this not self-contradictory? First you say, 'Speak to him,'i.e., judge him;32 and then you add, 'See that he meets us in Tiberias,' shewing [that they told him], Send him hither! — What they meant was: Speak to him and judge him;33 if he accepts your decision, well and good; if not, see to it that he appears before us in Tiberias.34
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