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הסבב ה-14 - באיזה סבב של דף יומי אתה?
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Steinsaltz

From the fact that the latter clause of the baraita states a ruling with regard to a case in which the second set of witnesses both reverses the order of events and renders the first pair as conspiring witnesses, it may be inferred that the first case as well, in parallel fashion, states a ruling with regard to a case in which the second set of witnesses both reverses the order of events and renders the first pair as conspiring witnesses.

This is as it teaches in the latter clause of the baraita, that if witnesses say: We testify with regard to so-and-so that he knocked out his Canaanite slave’s tooth and afterward blinded his eye, which requires the master to emancipate him and compensate him for the value of his eye, as that is what the slave says, i.e., this testimony is advantageous to the slave, and subsequently they were found to be conspiring witnesses, they pay the value of an eye to the master.

Abaye analyzes this clause of the baraita: What are the circumstances of this case? If it is speaking of a situation where the latter set of witnesses, who attested that the first set of witnesses were conspiring witnesses, do not concede that there was any injury at all inflicted on the slave by his master, then there is no testimony to confirm that those injuries were inflicted other than that given by the witnesses who were shown to be conspiring witnesses. Consequently, they should be required to pay the entire value of the slave to the master, as this is the amount of monetary damage the master stood to incur as a result of their false testimony.

Rather, it is obvious that all of them, i.e., both the first set of witnesses and the latter set, concede with regard to the injury inflicted on the slave by the master. They both agree that the master both blinded the slave’s eye and knocked out his tooth and therefore is obligated to emancipate him. They disagree concerning only the order of events. The first set of witnesses said that the tooth injury occurred first and the eye injury occurred afterward. Consequently, they sought to require the master to emancipate the slave and compensate him for the eye injury.

And the second set of witnesses reversed the order of events in their testimony, saying that the eye injury took place first, and in the same testimony, they rendered the first pair conspiring witnesses, by testifying that they were not present when the events occurred. Since the latter clause of the baraita must be interpreted in this manner, it stands to reason that the first case should be explained similarly.

The Gemara analyzes Abaye’s interpretation of the baraita: And what are the circumstances of the case? The second set of witnesses, who are deemed credible, have established that the injuries did not take place on the date reported by the first set of witnesses. According to their testimony, when did the injuries take place? If the latter witnesses postdated the events, by testifying that the injuries were actually inflicted at a later stage than that mentioned by the first set of witnesses, the first set of witnesses should still be required to pay the full value of a slave to the master.

The reason the first set of witnesses should be liable is that when they sought to impose liability upon the man, i.e., the master, this man was not yet burdened with any liability. When the first set of witnesses testified about the injuries, the master was not yet obligated to emancipate his slave or pay damages. Therefore, these conspiring witnesses should be required to pay these sums, which they had sought to impose on the master. Rather, it must be that the latter set of witnesses predated the time of the injuries, by testifying that they were inflicted at an earlier date than that attested to by the first set of witnesses.

The Gemara continues to analyze the case: And if the baraita is referring to a case where the master had not yet stood trial for having injured his slave when the first set of witnesses submitted their testimony, those witnesses should still be required to pay the entire value of the slave to the master, as at the time of their testimony the man, i.e., the master, was not yet liable. The first set of witnesses sought to render the master liable at a time when he was exempt from liability, and therefore they should be obligated to pay him the full value of the slave.

Rather, it must be that the master had already stood trial for having inflicted these injuries, and had been sentenced by the court to emancipate the slave for the first injury and pay him for the second injury. Then, the master evaded payment, and was subsequently brought before another court, where witnesses testified that the first court had established liability for knocking out the tooth first and then blinding the slave’s eye. This testimony was subsequently rendered conspiring testimony by a second set of witnesses, who testified both that the first set of witnesses was not at the scene of the first trial and that the results of the trial were actually reversed, i.e., the master’s liability was for blinding the eye first and then for knocking out the tooth. Since the first set of witnesses, who were rendered conspiring witnesses, sought to increase the master’s liability payment from that of the value of a tooth to that of an eye, they must pay the value of an eye to the master.

Rava sought to infer from this baraita to his opinion that contradiction of testimony is the start of determining that testimony is conspiring testimony. Rav Aḥa, son of Rav Ika, said to Rav Ashi: From which case in the baraita is the inference of Rava? If we say that his inference is from the first clause, this is difficult. In the case of the first clause, if it involves three sets of witnesses, as claimed by Rava, is the intermediate set of witnesses contradicted and rejected before they are established as conspiring witnesses? The first set of witnesses testified that the eye injury took place after the tooth injury, whereas the intermediate set of witnesses reversed the order. If so, the intermediate set of witnesses sought to lower the master’s payment from the value of an eye to that of a tooth.

Rav Aḥa continues: Since if the second set of witnesses would not have been rendered conspiring witnesses, the testimony would have been established in accordance with their statement, as the judgment would have been decided in accordance with their testimony. The reason their testimony would have determined the ruling is that one hundred dinars is subsumed within two hundred, i.e., testimony concerning a large sum includes testimony concerning a smaller sum.

Rav Aḥa continues: Therefore, it is the first set of witnesses, who testified that the eye injury occurred last, whose testimony would be considered contradicted and rejected, whereas the testimony of the intermediate set of witnesses would not be considered contradicted at all, as it is accepted in full. If so, this is not a case of witnesses who were rejected due to contradiction and then subsequently rendered conspiring witnesses.

Rav Ashi said to Rav Aḥa in response: Rava maintains that from the fact that the ruling of the first clause of the baraita is stated with regard to a case involving three sets of witnesses, it is logical to assume that the ruling of the latter clause is also stated with regard to a case involving three sets of witnesses, and Rava infers his ruling from the latter clause.

Rava explains that the latter clause is referring to a case where two witnesses, i.e., the ones mentioned in the baraita, come and say: The master knocked out the slave’s tooth and afterward blinded his eye, and the court ruled its judgment in accordance with their statement, obligating the master to emancipate his slave and compensate him for the value of his eye.

And subsequently two other witnesses, who were not mentioned in the baraita, come and say that the events were reversed: First the master blinded his slave’s eye and then he knocked out his tooth, so that they contradict the testimony of those first witnesses. At this point the master is obligated to emancipate his slave and pay him only the value of his tooth, as this much was required of him according to both sets of witnesses. And then the first pair were found to be conspiring witnesses. Therefore, as the baraita states, the first set of witnesses pays the value of an eye to the master, less the value of a tooth.

Rava reaches his conclusion based on the following reasoning: And if it enters your mind that the contradiction of testimony is not the start of determining that testimony is conspiring testimony, and witnesses who were first contradicted and then rendered conspiring witnesses are not punished as conspiring witnesses, why must these witnesses pay? They were already contradicted from the outset, before they were shown to be conspiring witnesses. Rather, conclude from the latter clause of the baraita that the contradiction of testimony is the start of determining that testimony is conspiring testimony.

And how could Abaye, who disagrees with Rava, refute this proof? He could say to you: Granted, it is impossible to interpret the first clause without the supposition that there are three sets of witnesses involved. The reason is that it is taught with regard to that first clause: As that is what the master says, i.e., this testimony is satisfactory to the master. The only testimony recorded in the baraita is that the master blinded the slave’s eye and then knocked out his tooth. Why would this be considered satisfactory to the master? It must therefore be assumed that this testimony was preceded by another one that was even less advantageous to the master. That testimony confirmed the injuries but placed the eye injury after the tooth injury, which involves greater liability for the master. Finally, a third set of witnesses must have arrived and rendered the intermediate set as conspiring witnesses, so that there are a total of three sets of witnesses.

But with regard to the latter clause, why do I need to explain it as referring to three sets of witnesses? If you say that it is because the baraita states concerning this case: As that is what the slave says, i.e., this testimony is satisfactory to the slave, this does not prove that there is another testimony, not mentioned in the baraita, that is less favorable to the slave than this one.

The reason is that a slave would say anything, i.e., any form of testimony would be favorable to him, as it is satisfactory for him that he should be emancipated. The court’s acceptance of testimony confirming either order of events would result in his emancipation from slavery, and therefore both testimonies are satisfactory to him. Although there is a compelling reason to posit the existence of three sets of witnesses in the first clause, there is no justification to do so in the second clause, and therefore it should be explained as did Abaye, as discussing only two sets of witnesses.

Rabbi Zeira objects to the basic assumption of the baraita that when a master inflicts two injuries upon his Canaanite slave he must indemnify the slave for the second injury. One can say instead that if the master blinded his slave’s eye,

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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