סקר
הסבב ה-14 - באיזה סבב של דף יומי אתה?
ראשון
שני
שלישי
רביעי ומעלה


 

Steinsaltz

It is due to the potential monetary loss for purchasers, whose acquisitions had been validated by these witnesses between the time of the witnesses’ first testimony and when they were rendered conspiring witnesses. If the disqualification of the witnesses were applied retroactively, as by right it should, all these transactions would be nullified, which would cause a loss to these purchasers.

The Gemara asks: What is the practical difference between these two explanations of Rava’s opinion? After all, according to both explanations Rava did not apply the disqualification of conspiring witnesses retroactively. The Gemara explains that there is a difference in a case where two witnesses testify about one of the witnesses that he was not at the scene of the supposed crime, and two other witnesses testify about the other one witness in a similar manner. Alternatively, there is a practical difference between the two explanations in a case where two witnesses disqualified the first set of witnesses by testifying that they had once committed robbery and are therefore unfit to give testimony.

The Gemara elaborates: According to this version in which you say that Rava’s rejection of retroactive disqualification was because it is a novelty, in these two circumstances there is no novelty, and therefore he would agree that the disqualification should be retroactive. According to that version in which you say that Rava’s concern was due to a potential loss for purchasers, in these two circumstances there is a concern for a potential loss for purchasers. Consequently, in these circumstances as well Rava would reject retroactive disqualification.

Rabbi Yirmeya of Difti related: Rav Pappa once took action, i.e., ruled in a case, in accordance with the opinion of Rava, and rejected retroactive disqualification of conspiring witnesses. Rav Ashi said: The halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Abaye with regard to retroactive disqualification of conspiring witnesses. The Gemara provides a principle: And in disputes between Abaye and Rava the halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Rava, except for six cases in which the halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Abaye. They are: In the cases represented by the mnemonic yod-ayin-lamed kuf-gimmel-mem. These halakhot are the following: Unknown despair [ye’ush]; conspiring witness [eidim] who are disqualified retroactively; a side post [leḥi] standing alone; betrothal [kiddushin] that is not given to consummation; revealing intent with a bill of divorce [get]; and an apostate [mumar] who sins rebelliously.

The Gemara asks a question with regard to Abaye’s opinion from that which we learned in the mishna: If one stole an ox or a sheep, as established based on the testimony of two witnesses, and he slaughtered the animal or sold it, also based on the testimony of the same witnesses, and these witnesses were found to be conspiring witnesses, these conspiring witnesses pay everything, including the fourfold or fivefold payment.

The Gemara explains the question: What, is it not referring to a case in which the events occurred in the following sequence: The witnesses testified concerning the theft of the animal, and then testified concerning the animal’s slaughter. And subsequently they were rendered conspiring witnesses for their testimony concerning the theft, and then they were rendered conspiring witnesses for their testimony concerning the slaughter.

And if it enters your mind to say, in accordance with the opinion of Abaye, that a conspiring witness is disqualified retroactively from the time he provided his testimony, then with regard to these witnesses, once they are rendered conspiring witnesses concerning the theft, the matter becomes clarified retroactively that when they testified concerning the slaughter they were disqualified to serve as witnesses. Consequently, that testimony should be rejected. Why, then, must they pay the fourfold or fivefold payment for their testimony concerning the animal’s slaughter?

The Sages say in response: With what are we dealing here? We are dealing with a case where the events did not happen in this sequence. Rather, the witnesses were first rendered conspiring witnesses with regard to their testimony concerning the animal’s slaughter, and only afterward were they rendered conspiring witnesses with regard to the theft.

The Sages say, in rejection of this answer: Ultimately, when they are subsequently rendered conspiring witnesses with regard to their testimony concerning the theft, the matter becomes clarified retroactively that when they testified concerning the slaughter they were disqualified from providing testimony. Why, then, must they pay the fourfold or fivefold payment for their testimony concerning the animal’s slaughter?

The Gemara gives its final answer: And the halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Abaye, since the mishna can be explained as discussing a case where the witnesses testified concerning the theft of the animal and its slaughter at the same time, and afterward they were rendered conspiring witnesses with regard to testimony about both matters. Therefore, even if the disqualification of these witnesses is established retroactively, they were not disqualified when they provided their single testimony concerning the theft and the slaughter.

The Gemara proposes: Let us say that the dispute between Abaye and Rava is parallel to a dispute between tanna’im. As it is taught in a baraita: In a case where there were two witnesses testifying against someone, claiming that he stole an animal, and they subsequently testify against him that he slaughtered the animal, and they were rendered conspiring witnesses only with regard to their testimony concerning the theft, the halakha is in accordance with the principle that testimony that was partially invalidated is entirely invalidated. In other words, the testimony concerning the slaughter of the animal is null and void, as there is no longer any testimony that the animal was ever stolen. Therefore, the witnesses pay the double payment for having attempted to cause the alleged thief to pay that amount, while the accused is entirely exempt.

But if they were rendered conspiring witnesses only with regard to their testimony concerning the slaughter, their testimony about the theft remains valid. Consequently, the thief pays the double payment, and the witnesses pay a twofold or threefold payment for having attempted to cause the thief to pay this amount, which is the fine for slaughter or sale beyond his double payment.

The baraita continues: Rabbi Yosei said: In what case is this statement said? It is said when the theft and the slaughter were established by two separate testimonies. But if these matters were established by one single testimony, then even if they were rendered conspiring witnesses with regard to the testimony concerning the slaughter, the halakha is in accordance with the principle that testimony that was partially invalidated is entirely invalidated. When the testimony concerning the slaughter is invalidated the testimony concerning the theft is likewise negated, and the alleged thief is not required to pay the double payment. This concludes the baraita.

The Gemara analyzes Rabbi Yosei’s statement. What did Rabbi Yosei mean when he said: By two separate testimonies, and what did he mean when he said: By one single testimony? If we say that the phrase: By two separate testimonies, means literally by two separate testimonies, i.e., by two separate sets of witnesses, one of which testifies concerning the theft while the other testifies concerning the slaughter, this would mean that the expression: By one single testimony, means by one set of witnesses that testifies to both the theft and the slaughter, one matter after the other.

And if so, when Rabbi Yosei then says that the facts are established by one testimony, he meant one set of witnesses testifying about both matters, one matter after the other, i.e., that they testify concerning the theft and then testify concerning the slaughter. Therefore, when they are rendered conspiring witnesses only with regard to the slaughter, the halakha is determined in accordance with the principle that testimony that was partially invalidated is entirely invalidated. And consequently Rabbi Yosei would maintain that they are considered to have been rendered conspiring witnesses concerning the theft as well. The Gemara asks: From where would this be derived? Why should the earlier testimony about the theft be negated by their status as conspiring witnesses from the later testimony concerning the slaughter?

Rather, is it not the case that when Rabbi Yosei said: By two testimonies, he meant: By a single testimony that is similar to two testimonies. And what is that? It is one set of witnesses who testify about both the theft and the slaughter, one matter after the other, at two separate times. But if these matters were established by one single testimony, when the witnesses testified about both matters at the same time, Rabbi Yosei concedes that these are not considered two separate testimonies, despite the fact that they refer to two different events.

The Gemara continues to analyze the dispute between Rabbi Yosei and the Rabbis: The amora’im discussing this matter assumed that according to everyone, i.e., both Rabbi Yosei and the Rabbis, if a witness pauses briefly in his testimony and then continues to testify, it is considered one long testimony. This is in accordance with the principle that the legal status of a pause or retraction within the time required for speaking a short phrase is like that of continuous speech. Therefore, the two testimonies, the one concerning the theft and the one concerning the slaughter, are considered a single testimony.

The Gemara asks with regard to the above: What, is it not with regard to this that Rabbi Yosei and the Rabbis disagree? As the Rabbis maintain, like Rava, that a conspiring witness is disqualified from here on, i.e., from when he is rendered a conspiring witness. And since it was only from that time, when the other witnesses testify about them, that they are rendered conspiring witnesses, it is only with regard to their testimony concerning the animal’s slaughter that they are rendered conspiring witnesses, whereas concerning the theft itself they are not rendered conspiring witnesses.

And Rabbi Yosei holds, like Abaye, that a conspiring witness is disqualified retroactively, from when he provided his testimony. And consequently, since they are disqualified immediately when they testify, if they are rendered conspiring witnesses concerning the slaughter they are rendered conspiring witnesses concerning the theft as well, as the legal status of a pause or retraction within the time required for speaking a short phrase is like that of continuous speech, i.e., the two testimonies are considered one unit.

The Sages say, in rejection of this opinion: If it were accepted that the legal status of a pause or retraction within the time required for speaking a short phrase is like that of continuous speech, everyone would agree that the witnesses are disqualified retroactively, and their testimony with regard to the theft would also be negated. But here they disagree about that very issue, i.e., whether the legal status of a pause or retraction within the time required for speaking a short phrase is like that of continuous speech. The Rabbis maintain that if the pause is within the time required for speaking a short phrase, then the two aspects of the testimony provided by the witnesses

Talmud - Bavli - The William Davidson digital edition of the Koren No=C3=A9 Talmud
with commentary by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz Even-Israel (CC-BY-NC 4.0)
אדם סלומון
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