סקר
מסכת שבת






 

Steinsaltz

or: You gave him to me as a gift, if he then adds: Although I owe you nothing, as the slave is mine, if it is your desire, take an oath that he is yours and take him; and the claimant takes an oath that the slave is his, the one in possession of the slave cannot retract his offer, although he was not obligated to make the offer.

The Gemara asks: What is Rabbi Abba teaching us? We already learned in a mishna (Sanhedrin 24a) that if one of the litigants said to the other: My father is trusted to adjudicate for me, or: Your father is trusted to adjudicate for me, or: These three cattle herders who are not experts in halakha are trusted to adjudicate for me, and all of the individuals this litigant mentioned are legally disqualified from serving as judges, Rabbi Meir says that the one who stated this can retract his statement, and the Rabbis say that he cannot retract it, and he is obligated to have them serve as judges if the other litigant so desires. Since this halakha is already stated in the mishna, what novel halakha did Rabbi Abba teach?

The Gemara in tractate Sanhedrin records a dispute between amora’im as to the circumstances of the case of that mishna, with one amora holding that the dispute pertains only to a case where the one accepting the disqualified judge will need to forgive a debt if the judge rules in accordance with his opponent, while another amora holds that the dispute pertains even to a case where he will need to pay the other litigant if the judge rules in accordance with his opponent. By stating his ruling in a case where the litigant will have to give the slave to the other, Rabbi Abba teaches us this, that the dispute between Rabbi Meir and the Rabbis is even in a case where the litigant said: I will give you what you claim if that is the ruling of these judges, and the Rabbis hold that if he subsequently wishes to retract his suggestion, he cannot do so. And Rabbi Abba also teaches that the halakha is in accordance with the statement of the Rabbis.

§ Rabbi Abba also sent a ruling to Rav Yosef bar Ḥama that the halakha is that the creditors of one who died collect the debts from the Canaanite slaves the deceased left his heirs, i.e., they take the slaves, as slaves have the same status as land in this regard. And Rav Naḥman says that they do not collect the debt by taking the slaves.

§ Rabbi Abba also sent a ruling to Rav Yosef bar Ḥama that with regard to people with a common ancestor, the halakha is that the testimony of members of the third generation with regard to members of the second generation whose closest familial connection is through that ancestor is valid. For example, one can testify about his first cousin once removed, and is not disqualified as a relative. Rava says: Even the testimony of members of the third generation with regard to members of the first generation is valid; e.g., one can testify about his great-uncle.

Mar bar Rav Ashi deemed one’s testimony with regard to his father’s father valid, as he considered it a case of testimony of a member of the third generation with regard to a member of the first generation, which Rava deemed valid. But the halakha is not in accordance with the opinion of Mar bar Rav Ashi.

§ Rabbi Abba also sent a ruling to Rav Yosef bar Ḥama concerning testimony: If one knew information that could serve as testimony about the boundary of another’s land before he became blind, and then he became blind, he is disqualified from bearing witness in a dispute as to the boundaries of that person’s properties.

And Shmuel said: He is fit to bear witness, as it is possible for him to determine the boundaries of the fields despite his blindness. But he is not fit to identify a movable item, e.g., a cloak, as he cannot see it. And Rav Sheshet said: He can identify even a cloak, as it is possible for him to determine its length and its width. But he is not fit to identify a piece of silver. And Rav Pappa said: He can identify even a piece of silver, as it is possible for him to determine its weight.

The Gemara raises an objection from a baraita (Tosefta, Sanhedrin 3:5): If one knew information that could serve as testimony about another before he became his son-in-law, and then he became his son-in-law, thereby becoming a relative who is disqualified from bearing witness concerning him; or if he was able to hear at the time he witnessed an incident and then he became deaf; or if he was able to see at the time he witnessed an incident and then became blind; or if he was halakhically competent and then became insane, in all these cases, he is disqualified from bearing witness.

The baraita continues: But if he knew information about him that could serve as testimony before he became his son-in-law, and then he became his son-in-law, and then his daughter died, so that they are no longer related; or if he was able to hear, and then became deaf, and then again became able to hear; or if he was able to see, and then became blind, and then again became able to see; or if he was halakhically competent, and then became insane, and then again became halakhically competent, in all these cases, he is fit to bear witness.

The baraita concludes: This is the principle: Anyone whose initial state or his ultimate state, i.e., his state at the time of the incident or at the time of his testimony in court, is one of disqualification for bearing witness is disqualified from bearing witness. But any-one whose initial state and his ultimate state is one of fitness to bear witness is fit to bear witness, even if he was disqualified in the interim. This baraita clearly states that one who is blind is disqualified from bearing witness.

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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