Mishnah/Seder Nezikin/Tractate Sanhedrin/Chapter 1/1
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Seder Nezikin, Tractate Sanhedrin
Chapter 1, Mishnah 1
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Sanhedrin deals primarily with court procedure. It presents three courts, a bet din of three judges, a minor sanhedrin of twenty-three, and the Grand Sanhedrin made up of senventy-one judges. A sanhedrin was required to judge capital cases. The first chapter of Sanhedrin is focused on how many judges are needed for different types of cases, capital and non-capital.
- דיני ממונות, בשלשה.
- גזלות וחבלות, בשלשה.
- נזק וחצי נזק, תשלומי כפל ותשלומי ארבעה וחמשה,
- האונס, והמפתה, והמוציא שם רע, בשלשה —
- דברי רבי מאיר.
- וחכמים אומרים: מוציא שם רע, בעשרים ושלשה; מפני שיש בו דיני נפשות.
- Monetary judgments, [are judged] by three.
- Theft and personal injury, by three.
- Damages and half-damages, [crimes with the penalty of] double payments, or quadruple or quintuple payments,
- rape, seduction, and the defamer [on account of premarital relations], with three —
- these are the words of Rabbi Meir.
- And the sages say: defamation, with twenty-three; because it has in it [aspects of] capital judgements.
The opening mishnah of Tractate Sanhedrin is a very quick rundown of cases that require three judges in order to render a verdict: monetary cases, theft, personal injury, damage, and various forms of theft/repayment as well as rape and otherwise violation. Rabbi Meir also includes in this category defamation (giving a bad name), but the sages include this in capital crimes, and therefore require 23 judges in such a case.