Mishnah/Seder Nezikin/Tractate Sanhedrin/Chapter 3/4
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Seder Nezikin, Tractate Sanhedrin
Chapter 3, Mishnah 4
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Sanhedrin deals primarily with the court and with court cases. The third chapter of Sanhedrin is focused on witnesses and court proceedings.
The fourth mishnah of this chapter deals with people that are invalid to serve as witnesses because of their relation to the litigants.
- ואלו הן הקרובין, אחיו ואחי אביו ואחי אמו ובעל אחותו ובעל אחות אביו ובעל אחות אמו ובעל אמו וחמיו וגיסו, הן ובניהן וחתניהן, וחורגו לבדו.
- אמר רבי יוסי, זו משנת רבי עקיבא, אבל משנה ראשונה, דודו ובן דודו.
- וכל הראוי לירשו, וכל הקרוב לו באותה שעה.
- היה קרוב ונתרחק, הרי זה כשר.
- רבי יהודה אומר, אפלו מתה בתו ויש לו בנים ממנה, הרי זה קרוב.
And these are the relations: his brother, brother of his father, brother of his mother, husband of his sister, husband of the sister of his father, husband of the sister of his mother, his step-father, his father-in-law, and his brother-in-law [specifically the brother of his wife], these and their children, and the spouses of their children, and his step-son alone [not the step-son's children]. Rabbi Yose says, this is the ruling of Rabbi Akiva. But the original ruling (said): his uncle and the son of his uncle. And anyone who is seen to be his potential heir and anyone related to him at that time. Those that used to be related to him but are no longer - behold, they are acceptable. Rabbi Yehuda says, even if his daughter dies, and she had children - behold, he [the daughter's widowed husband] is a relation.
This could be viewed as a continuation of the previous mishnah. It is an explanation of what disqualifies a person from serving as a witness or judge, based on their relationship to the litigants, rather than by their profession. Obviously, these people could serve as a witness or judge in another case, unlike the people described in the previous mishnah, who are illegitimate for any monetary case. This list of relations is easy to understand, with the only conflict being whether or not the uncle and first cousin are to be included in the list or not.