Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Skip to content

Today's Daf Yomi

February 23, 2015 | ื“ืณ ื‘ืื“ืจ ืชืฉืขืดื”

  • This month's shiurim are sponsored by Shoshana Shur for the refuah Shlema of Meira Bat Zelda Zahava.

Ketubot 21

ืขืœ ื›ืชื‘ ื™ื“ืŸ ื”ื ืžืขื™ื“ื™ื ืœื“ื‘ืจื™ ื—ื›ืžื™ื ืขืœ ืžื ื” ืฉื‘ืฉื˜ืจ ื”ื ืžืขื™ื“ื™ื

the witnesses are testifying about their handwriting and authenticating their own signatures. Therefore, if each witness testifies only with regard to his own handwriting, there is only one witness authenticating each signature. According to the Rabbis, the witnesses are testifying about the sum of one hundred dinars that is in the document and are not authenticating the signatures at all. Therefore, the testimony of the two witnesses who signed the document is sufficient to ratify the document.

ืคืฉื™ื˜ื ืžื”ื• ื“ืชื™ืžื ืœืจื‘ื™ ืกืคื•ืงื™ ืžืกืคืงื ืœื™ื” ืื™ ืขืœ ื›ืชื‘ ื™ื“ื ื”ื ืžืขื™ื“ื™ื ืื• ืขืœ ืžื ื” ืฉื‘ืฉื˜ืจ ื”ื ืžืขื™ื“ื™ื

The Gemara asks: That is obvious. No analysis is necessary to arrive at this explanation of the dispute. The Gemara answers: The analysis is necessary lest you say that according to Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi there is uncertainty whether they are testifying about their handwriting or whether the witnesses are testifying about the sum of one hundred dinars that is in the document, and due to the possibility that the purpose of the testimony is to authenticate their handwriting, he requires two witnesses for each signature.

ื•ื ืคืงื ืžื™ื ื” ื”ื™ื›ื ื“ืžื™ืช ื—ื“ ืžื™ื ื™ื™ื”ื• ืœื‘ืขื™ ืฉื ื™ื ืžืŸ ื”ืฉื•ืง ืœื”ืขื™ื“ ืขืœื™ื•

And the practical difference between whether the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi is based on certainty or uncertainty is in a case where one of the witnesses who signed the document died. If his opinion is based on certainty that they are testifying about the signatures, one other witness testifying to the authenticity of both signatures would suffice, as both that other witness and the surviving signatory would testify to authenticate each signature. However, if his opinion is based on uncertainty, let them require two other witnesses from the street to testify about the signature of the deceased witness.

ื“ืื ื›ืŸ ืงื ืคื™ืง ื ื›ื™ ืจื™ื‘ืขื ื“ืžืžื•ื ื ืืคื•ืžื ื“ื—ื“ ืกื”ื“ื

That is due to the fact that if it is so that the witnesses are testifying about the sum of one hundred dinars that is in the document and only one other witness joined the surviving witness in testifying with regard to that signature, the result would be that the entire sum of money, less one-quarter, is collected based on the testimony of a single witness. The surviving signatory authenticates his signature and thereby facilitates collection of half the sum. In addition, his testimony together with the testimony of the witness from the street authenticating the signature of the deceased signatory facilitates collection of the other half. Based on the verse: โ€œAt the mouth of two witnessesโ€ฆshall a matter be establishedโ€ (Deuteronomy 19:15), each witness is responsible for half the sum.

ื•ื”ื›ื ืœื—ื•ืžืจื ื•ื”ื›ื ืœื—ื•ืžืจื

And one would have thought that Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi would rule stringently here: When both signatories are alive they must add another witness with them to authenticate the signatures of the two witnesses, as perhaps they are testifying about their handwriting; and he would rule stringently here: When one of the signatories died they must add two witnesses, as perhaps the witnesses are testifying about the sum of one hundred dinars that is in the document.

ืงื ืžืฉืžืข ืœืŸ ื“ืจื‘ื™ ืžื™ืคืฉื˜ ืคืฉื™ื˜ื ืœื™ื” ื‘ื™ืŸ ืœืงื•ืœื ื‘ื™ืŸ ืœื—ื•ืžืจื ื“ืืžืจ ืจื‘ ื™ื”ื•ื“ื” ืืžืจ ืจื‘ ืฉื ื™ื ื”ื—ืชื•ืžื™ืŸ ืขืœ ื”ืฉื˜ืจ ื•ืžืช ืื—ื“ ืžื”ืŸ ืฆืจื™ื›ื™ืŸ ืฉื ื™ื ืžืŸ ื”ืฉื•ืง ืœื”ืขื™ื“ ืขืœื™ื• ื‘ื–ื• ืจื‘ื™ ืœืงื•ืœื ื•ืจื‘ื ืŸ ืœื—ื•ืžืจื

Therefore, the Gemara teaches us that the matter was clear to Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, that they are testifying about their handwriting, and he ruled accordingly both leniently, requiring only one additional witness when one of the signatories died, and stringently, requiring an additional witness when both signatories are alive. As Rav Yehuda said that Rav said: With regard to two witnesses who were signatories to a document and one of them died, they require two others from the street to testify about the signature of the one who died, and in this case, Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi rules leniently and requires only one additional witness, and the Rabbis rule stringently and require two additional witnesses.

ื•ืื™ ืœื™ื›ื ืชืจื™ ืืœื ื—ื“ ืžืื™ ืืžืจ ืื‘ื™ื™ ืœื›ืชื•ื‘ ื—ืชื™ืžืช ื™ื“ื™ื” ืื—ืกืคื ื•ืฉื“ื™ ืœื™ื” ื‘ื‘ื™ ื“ื™ื ื ื•ืžื—ื–ืงื™ ืœื™ื” ื‘ื™ ื“ื™ื ื (ื•ื—ื–ื• ืœื™ื”) ื•ืœื ืฆืจื™ืš ืื™ื”ื• ืœืืกื”ื•ื“ื™ ืื—ืชื™ืžืช ื™ื“ื™ื” ื•ืื–ื™ืœ ืื™ื”ื• ื•ื”ืื™ ื•ืžืกื”ื“ื™ ืืื™ื“ืš

The Gemara asks: And if there are not two witnesses capable of authenticating each signature, but only one, what can be done to ratify the document? Abaye said: Let the surviving witness write his signature on an earthenware shard and cast it into the court. And the court then ratifies the document by seeing that it is his signature. And then he does not need to testify and authenticate his signature. But he and this other witness go and testify to authenticate the other signature of the deceased witness. In that case, even according to the Rabbis, one additional witness is sufficient.

ื•ื“ื•ืงื ืื—ืกืคื ืื‘ืœ ืืžื’ืœืชื ืœื ื“ืœืžื ืžืฉื›ื— ืœื” ืื™ื ื™ืฉ ื“ืœื ืžืขืœื™ ื•ื›ืชื‘ ืขื™ืœื•ื™ื” ืžืื™ ื“ื‘ืขื™ ื•ืชื ืŸ ื”ื•ืฆื™ื ืขืœื™ื• ื›ืชื‘ ื™ื“ื• ืฉื”ื•ื ื—ื™ื™ื‘ ืœื• ื’ื•ื‘ื” ืžื ื›ืกื™ื ื‘ื ื™ ื—ื•ืจื™ืŸ

The Gemara notes: And he writes his signature for the purpose of comparison specifically on an earthenware shard, but not on parchment, due to the concern that perhaps an unscrupulous person will find it and write on it whatever he wants, e.g., the undersigned owes him money. And we learned in a mishna (Bava Batra 175b): If a creditor produced a document about another written in the other personโ€™s handwriting, in which it is written that the other person owes him money, even if there are no witnesses he is obligated to pay, and the claimant may collect payment from unsold property. One can collect repayment of a loan that is documented on a promissory note signed by two witnesses even from the borrowerโ€™s land that was sold. With the document signed by the debtor, the creditor may collect payment from unsold property. Due to the potential for deceit with a signature on parchment, one provides a signature sample written on earthenware.

ืืžืจ ืจื‘ ื™ื”ื•ื“ื” ืืžืจ ืฉืžื•ืืœ ื”ืœื›ื” ื›ื“ื‘ืจื™ ื—ื›ืžื™ื ืคืฉื™ื˜ื ื™ื—ื™ื“ ื•ืจื‘ื™ื ื”ืœื›ื” ื›ืจื‘ื™ื ืžื”ื• ื“ืชื™ืžื ื”ืœื›ื” ื›ืจื‘ื™ ืžื—ื‘ื™ืจื• ื•ืืคื™ืœื• ืžื—ื‘ื™ืจื™ื• ืงื ืžืฉืžืข ืœืŸ

Rav Yehuda said that Shmuel said: The halakha is in accordance with the statement of the Rabbis in the mishna that each of the two signatories need testify only about his own signature to ratify the document. The Gemara asks: That is obvious, as the principle is: In a dispute between an individual Sage and multiple Sages, the halakha is ruled in accordance with the opinion of multiple Sages. The Gemara answers: Lest you say that just as there is a principle: The halakha is ruled in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi in disputes with his colleague, there is also a principle that the halakha is ruled in accordance with his opinion even when he disagrees with his multiple colleagues; therefore, Rav Yehuda teaches us that Shmuel said that the principle applies only to disputes with an individual colleague.

ืกื™ืžืŸ ื ื— ื ื“ ื—ื“ ืืžืจ ืœื™ื” ืจื‘ ื—ื ื ื ื‘ืจ ื—ื™ื™ื ืœืจื‘ ื™ื”ื•ื“ื” ื•ืืžืจื™ ืœื” ืจื‘ ื”ื•ื ื ื‘ืจ ื™ื”ื•ื“ื” ืœืจื‘ ื™ื”ื•ื“ื” ื•ืืžืจื™ ืœื” ืจื‘ ื—ื™ื™ื ื‘ืจ ื™ื”ื•ื“ื” ืœืจื‘ ื™ื”ื•ื“ื” ื•ืžื™ ืืžืจ ืฉืžื•ืืœ ื”ื›ื™

ยง The Gemara provides a mnemonic for the names and patronyms of the amoraโ€™im associated with the statement cited below: Nun แธฅet for Rav แธคinnana bar แธคiyya, nun dalet for Rav Huna bar Yehuda, and แธฅet dalet for Rav แธคiyya bar Yehuda. Rav แธคinnana bar แธคiyya said to Rav Yehuda, and some say it was Rav Huna bar Yehuda who said it to Rav Yehuda, and some say it was Rav แธคiyya bar Yehuda who said it to Rav Yehuda: And did Shmuel say that the halakha is in accordance with the statement of the Rabbis?

ื•ื”ื ื”ื”ื•ื ืฉื˜ืจื ื“ื ืคื™ืง ืžื‘ื™ ื“ื™ื ื ื“ืžืจ ืฉืžื•ืืœ ื•ื”ื•ื” ื›ืชื™ื‘ ื‘ื™ื” ืžื“ืืชื ืจื‘ ืขื ืŸ ื‘ืจ ื—ื™ื™ื ื•ืืกื”ื™ื“ ืื—ืชื™ืžื•ืช ื™ื“ื™ื” ื•ืื“ื—ื“ ื“ืขืžื™ื” ื•ืžื ื• ืจื‘ ื—ื ืŸ ื‘ืจ ืจื‘ื” ื•ืžื“ืืชื ืจื‘ ื—ื ืŸ ื‘ืจ ืจื‘ื” ื•ืืกื”ื™ื“ ืื—ืชื™ืžื•ืช ื™ื“ื™ื” ื•ืื“ื—ื“ ื“ืขืžื™ื” ื•ืžื ื• ืจื‘ ืขื ืŸ ื‘ืจ ื—ื™ื™ื ืืฉืจื ื•ื”ื™ ื•ืงื™ืžื ื•ื”ื™ ื›ื“ื—ื–ื™

But wasnโ€™t there that document that emerged from the court of Master Shmuel, and it was written with regard to that document: From the fact that Rav Anan bar แธคiyya came before the court and testified about his signature and about the signature of the one who signed the document with him, and who was that other signatory, Rav แธคanan bar Rabba; and from the fact that Rav แธคanan bar Rabba came before the court and testified about his signature and about the signature of the one who signed the document with him, and who was that other signatory, Rav Anan bar แธคiyya; we certified and ratified this document as appropriate. If Shmuel ruled in accordance with the opinion of the Rabbis there would have been no need for each to testify about the signature of his fellow witness.

ืืžืจ ืœื™ื” ื”ื”ื•ื ืฉื˜ืจื ื“ื™ืชืžื™ ื”ื•ื” ื•ื—ืฉ ืฉืžื•ืืœ ืœื‘ื™ืช ื“ื™ืŸ ื˜ื•ืขื™ืŸ ื•ืกื‘ืจ ืฉืžื•ืืœ ื“ืœืžื ืื™ื›ื ื“ืกื‘ื™ืจื ืœื™ื” ื”ืœื›ื” ื›ืจื‘ื™ ืžื—ื‘ื™ืจื• ื•ืœื ืžื—ื‘ื™ืจื™ื• ื•ื‘ื”ื ืืคื™ืœื• ืžื—ื‘ื™ืจื™ื• ืกื‘ืจ ืืขื‘ื™ื“ ืจื•ื•ื—ื ื›ื™ ื”ื™ื›ื™ ื“ืœื ืžืคืกื“ื™ ื™ืชืžื™

Rav Yehuda said to him: That was a document for the benefit of orphans, and Shmuel was concerned about the potential for an error of the court. And Shmuel thought: Perhaps there is a court that holds that in general, the halakha is ruled in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi in disputes with his colleague but not in disputes with his multiple colleagues, and in this case, the halakha is ruled in accordance with his opinion even in disputes with his multiple colleagues, and the court will not ratify the document if each witness testifies only about his own signature. Therefore he thought: I will perform ratification of the document in an expansive manner, in accordance with all opinions, to ensure that the orphans will not lose money to which they are entitled.

ืืžืจ ืจื‘ ื™ื”ื•ื“ื” ืืžืจ ืฉืžื•ืืœ ืขื“ ื•ื“ื™ื™ืŸ ืžืฆื˜ืจืคื™ืŸ

ยง Rav Yehuda said that Shmuel said: If a document came before a court and the court ratified it, and then the document was produced in order to collect the debt, at which time the borrower contested its validity and claimed that it was forged, one witness who was a signatory on the document and a judge who ratified the document join together to testify that the document is valid.

ืืžืจ ืจืžื™ ื‘ืจ ื—ืžื ื›ืžื” ืžืขืœื™ื ื”ื ืฉืžืขืชื ืืžืจ ืจื‘ื ืžืื™ ืžืขืœื™ื•ืชื ืžืื™ ื“ืงื ืžืกื”ื™ื“ ืกื”ื“ื ืœื ืงื ืžืกื”ื™ื“ ื“ื™ื™ื ื ื•ืžืื™ ื“ืงื ืžืกื”ื™ื“ ื“ื™ื™ื ื ืœื ืงื ืžืกื”ื™ื“ ืกื”ื“ื

Rami bar แธคama said: How excellent is this halakha. Rava said: In what way is that excellence manifested? That which the witness testifies, i.e., authenticating his signature and confirming the incident that he witnessed, the judge does not testify, as the judge testifies that the document was ratified. And that which the judge testifies, the witness does not testify. There are not two witnesses testifying to either matter.

ืืœื ื›ื™ ืืชื ืจืžื™ ื‘ืจ ื™ื—ื–ืงืืœ ืืžืจ ืœื ืชืฆื™ืชื™ื ื”ื• ืœื”ื ื™ ื›ืœืœื™ ื“ื›ื™ื™ืœ ื™ื”ื•ื“ื” ืื—ื™ ืžืฉืžื™ื” ื“ืฉืžื•ืืœ

Rather, when Rami bar Yeแธฅezkel came, he said: Do not listen to those principles that my brother Rav Yehuda bar Yeแธฅezkel established in the name of Shmuel with regard to a witness and a judge joining together to testify.

ืื™ืงืœืข ืจื‘ื ืื™ ืื—ื•ื” ื“ืจื‘ื™ ื—ื™ื™ื ื‘ืจ ืื‘ื ืœืžื–ื‘ืŸ ืฉื•ืžืฉืžื™ ื•ืืžืจ ื”ื›ื™ ืืžืจ ืฉืžื•ืืœ ืขื“ ื•ื“ื™ื™ืŸ ืžืฆื˜ืจืคื™ืŸ ืืžืจ ืืžื™ืžืจ ื›ืžื” ืžืขืœื™ื ื”ื ืฉืžืขืชื ืืžืจ ืœื™ื” ืจื‘ ืืฉื™ ืœืืžื™ืžืจ ืžืฉื•ื ื“ืงืœืกื” ืื‘ื•ื” ื“ืืžืš ืืช ื ืžื™ ืžืงืœืกืช ืœื” ื›ื‘ืจ ืคืจื›ื” ืจื‘ื

The Gemara relates: Ravnai, brother of Rabbi แธคiyya bar Abba, happened to come and sell sesame, and he said that this is what Shmuel said: A witness and a judge join together to testify. Ameimar said: How excellent is this halakha. Rav Ashi said to Ameimar: Due to the fact that Rami bar แธคama, father of your mother, praised it, you also praise [mekallesat] it? Rava already refuted that statement and proved it incorrect.

ืืžืจ ืจื‘ ืกืคืจื ืืžืจ ืจื‘ื™ ืื‘ื ืืžืจ ืจื‘ ื™ืฆื—ืง ื‘ืจ ืฉืžื•ืืœ ื‘ืจ ืžืจืชื ืืžืจ ืจื‘ ื”ื•ื ื ื•ืืžืจื™ ืœื™ื” ืืžืจ ืจื‘ ื”ื•ื ื ืืžืจ ืจื‘ ืฉืœืฉื” ืฉื™ืฉื‘ื• ืœืงื™ื™ื ืืช ื”ืฉื˜ืจ ืฉื ื™ื ืžื›ื™ืจื™ืŸ ื—ืชื™ืžื•ืช ื™ื“ื™ ืขื“ื™ื ื•ืื—ื“ ืื™ื ื• ืžื›ื™ืจ ืขื“ ืฉืœื ื—ืชืžื• ืžืขื™ื“ื™ืŸ ื‘ืคื ื™ื• ื•ื—ื•ืชื ืžืฉื—ืชืžื• ืื™ืŸ ืžืขื™ื“ื™ืŸ ื‘ืคื ื™ื• ื•ื—ื•ืชื

ยง Rav Safra said that Rabbi Abba said that Rav Yitzhak bar Shmuel bar Marta said that Rav Huna said; and some say that Rav Huna said that Rav said: With regard to three judges who convened to ratify a document, and two of them recognize the signatures of the witnesses on the document, and one does not recognize them; as long as the two judges did not yet sign to ratify the document, they testify and authenticate the signatures before the third judge, and based on that testimony, the third judge signs the document of ratification together with the first two judges. However, once the two judges signed the ratification, they may not testify before him and have him sign the ratification. The formula of the ratification is: We verified and ratified this document in a forum of three. Since when the first two judges signed the ratification, they were not a forum of three, the ratification is invalid.

ื•ืžื™ ื›ืชื‘ื™ื ืŸ ื•ื”ืืžืจ ืจื‘ ืคืคื™ ืžืฉืžื™ื” ื“ืจื‘ื ื”ืื™ ืืฉืจืชื ื“ื“ื™ื™ื ื™ ื“ื ื™ื›ืชื‘ ืžืงืžื™ื” ื“ื ื™ื—ื•ื• ืกื”ื“ื™ ืื—ืชื™ืžืช ื™ื“ื™ื™ื”ื• ืคืกื•ืœื” ื“ืžืชื—ื–ื™ ื›ืฉืงืจื ื”ื›ื ื ืžื™ ืžืชื—ื–ื™ ื›ืฉืงืจื

The Gemara asks: And do we write the ratification of a document before all of the judges verify the signatures of the witnesses? But didnโ€™t Rav Pappi say in the name of Rava: This ratification of judges that was written before the witnesses related testimony about their signatures is invalid, even if the witnesses later authenticate their signatures, as it seems like a lie, since when they drafted the ratification they were not yet aware that they would be able to ratify the document? Here too, when the judges drafted the ratification before the third judge can verify the signatures, it seems like a lie.

ืืœื ืื™ืžื ืขื“ ืฉืœื ื›ืชื‘ื• ืžืขื™ื“ื™ืŸ ื‘ืคื ื™ื• ื•ื—ื•ืชื ืžืฉื›ืชื‘ื• ืื™ืŸ ืžืขื™ื“ื™ืŸ ื‘ืคื ื™ื• ื•ื—ื•ืชื

The Gemara answers: Rather, emend the statement and say: As long as the two judges did not yet write the ratification of the document, they testify and authenticate the signatures before the third judge, and based on that testimony, the third judge signs the ratification together with the first two judges. However, once the two judges have written the ratification, they may not testify before him and have him sign the ratification.

ืฉืžืข ืžื™ื ื” ืชืœืช ืฉืžืข ืžื™ื ื” ืขื“ ื ืขืฉื” ื“ื™ื™ืŸ ื•ืฉืžืข ืžื™ื ื” ื“ื™ื™ื ื™ืŸ ื”ืžื›ื™ืจื™ืŸ ื—ืชื™ืžื•ืช ื™ื“ื™ ืขื“ื™ื ืื™ื ืŸ ืฆืจื™ื›ื™ืŸ ืœื”ืขื™ื“ ื‘ืคื ื™ื”ื ื•ืฉืžืข ืžื™ื ื” ื“ื™ื™ื ื™ืŸ ืฉืื™ืŸ ืžื›ื™ืจื™ืŸ ื—ืชื™ืžื•ืช ื™ื“ื™ ืขื“ื™ื ืฆืจื™ื›ื™ืŸ ืœื”ืขื™ื“ ื‘ืคื ื™ ื›ืœ ืื—ื“ ื•ืื—ื“

The Gemara notes: Conclude from the statement of Rav Huna three halakhot: Conclude from it that a witness can become a judge, as the two judges who testified to authenticate the signatures signed the ratification as judges and were not disqualified due to a conflict of interest. And conclude from it that judges who recognize the signatures of the witnesses do not require other witnesses to testify before them. And conclude from it that in cases involving judges who do not recognize the signatures of the witnesses, witnesses are required to testify before each and every one of them, and no judge may issue a ruling based on testimony brought before the other judges.

ืžืชืงื™ืฃ ืœื” ืจื‘ ืืฉื™ ื‘ืฉืœืžื ืขื“ ื ืขืฉื” ื“ื™ื™ืŸ ืฉืžืขื™ื ืŸ ืžื™ื ื” ืืœื ื“ื™ื™ื ื™ืŸ ื”ืžื›ื™ืจื™ืŸ ื—ืชื™ืžื•ืช ื™ื“ื™ ืขื“ื™ื ืื™ืŸ ืฆืจื™ื›ื™ืŸ ืœื”ืขื™ื“ ื‘ืคื ื™ื”ื ื“ืœืžื ืœืขื•ืœื ืื™ืžื ืœืš ืฆืจื™ื›ื™ืŸ ื•ืฉืื ื™ ื”ื›ื ื“ืงื ืžืงื™ื™ืžื ื”ื’ื“ื” ื‘ื—ื“

Rav Ashi strongly objects to the conclusions drawn by the Gemara. Granted, the fact that a witness can become a judge we can conclude from the statement of Rav Huna. However, the fact that judges who recognize the signatures of witnesses do not require other witnesses to testify before them cannot be concluded from the statement of Rav Huna. Perhaps, I will say to you that actually judges require witnesses to testify before them; and here, in this case, it is different, as the requirement of the statement of testimony is fulfilled with the testimony of the two judges before the one judge who did not recognize the signatures. However, in a case where there is no statement of testimony at all, there could be no ratification of the document.

ื•ื“ื™ื™ื ื™ืŸ ืฉืื™ืŸ ืžื›ื™ืจื™ืŸ ื—ืชื™ืžื•ืช ื™ื“ื™ ืขื“ื™ื ืฆืจื™ื›ื™ืŸ ืœื”ืขื™ื“ ื‘ืคื ื™ ื›ืœ ืื—ื“ ื•ืื—ื“ ื“ืœืžื ืœืขื•ืœื ืื™ืžื ืœืš ืื™ืŸ ืฆืจื™ื›ื™ืŸ ื•ืฉืื ื™ ื”ื›ื ื“ืœื ืงื ืžืงื™ื™ืžื ื”ื’ื“ื” ื›ืœืœ

And furthermore, with regard to the conclusion that in cases of judges who do not recognize the signatures of the witnesses, witnesses are required to testify before each and every one of them, perhaps, I will say to you that actually, in general, witnesses are not required to testify before each and every judge; and here, in this case, it is different, as were it not for the testimony of the two judges before the third judge, the requirement of the statement of testimony would not be fulfilled at all. In a case where there is other testimony, perhaps one may rely on the knowledge of others in order to ratify the document.

ื™ืชื™ื‘ ืจื‘ื™ ืื‘ื ื•ืงืืžืจ ืœื” ืœื”ื ืฉืžืขืชื ื“ืขื“ ื ืขืฉื” ื“ื™ื™ืŸ ืื™ืชื™ื‘ื™ื” ืจื‘ ืกืคืจื ืœืจื‘ื™ ืื‘ื ืจืื•ื”ื• ืฉืœืฉื” ื•ื”ืŸ ื‘ื™ืช ื“ื™ืŸ ื™ืขืžื“ื• ืฉื ื™ื ื•ื™ื•ืฉื™ื‘ื• ืžื—ื‘ืจื™ื”ื ืืฆืœ ื”ื™ื—ื™ื“ ื•ื™ืขื™ื“ื• ื‘ืคื ื™ื”ื ื•ื™ืืžืจื• ืžืงื•ื“ืฉ ื”ื—ื“ืฉ ืžืงื•ื“ืฉ ืฉืื™ืŸ ื”ื™ื—ื™ื“ ื ืืžืŸ ืขืœ ื™ื“ื™ ืขืฆืžื• ื•ืื™ ืกืœืงื ื“ืขืชืš ื“ืขื“ ื ืขืฉื” ื“ื™ื™ืŸ ืœืžื” ืœื™ ื›ื•ืœื™ ื”ืื™ ืœื™ืชื‘ื• ื‘ื“ื•ื›ืชื™ื™ื”ื• ื•ืœื™ืงื“ืฉื™

The Gemara relates: Rabbi Abba sat and stated this halakha that a witness can become a judge. Rav Safra raised an objection to the opinion of Rabbi Abba from a mishna (Rosh HaShana 25b): If three people saw the new moon and they constitute a court, two of them should stand and seat two of their colleagues to sit near the remaining individual judge. And the two should testify before the three judges, and they should then recite the standard formula for sanctifying the month: Sanctified is the month, sanctified. Two others must join the original judge to form a tribunal of three judges, as an individual judge is not deemed credible to sanctify the month by himself. And if it enters your mind to say that a witness can become a judge, why do I need all this? Let the three judges remain seated in their place and sanctify the month, as they can be both witnesses and judges.

ืืžืจ ืœื™ื” ืืฃ ืœื“ื™ื“ื™ ืงืฉื™ื ืœื™ ื•ืฉืื™ืœืชื™ื” ืœืจื‘ ื™ืฆื—ืง ื‘ืจ ืฉืžื•ืืœ ื‘ืจ ืžืจืชื ื•ืจื‘ ื™ืฆื—ืง ืœืจื‘ ื”ื•ื ื ื•ืจื‘ ื”ื•ื ื ืœื—ื™ื™ื ื‘ืจ ืจื‘ ื•ื—ื™ื™ื ื‘ืจ ืจื‘ ืœืจื‘ ื•ืืžืจ ืœื”ื• ื”ื ื— ืœืขื“ื•ืช ื”ื—ื“ืฉ ื“ืื•ืจื™ื™ืชื ื•ืงื™ื•ื ืฉื˜ืจื•ืช ื“ืจื‘ื ืŸ

Rabbi Abba said to Rav Safra: That mishna was difficult for me to understand as well, and I asked Rav Yitzแธฅak bar Shmuel bar Marta about it, and Rav Yitzแธฅak asked Rav Huna, and Rav Huna asked แธคiyya bar Rav, and แธคiyya bar Rav asked Rav, and Rav said to them: Leave the case of testimony to sanctify the month, as it is mandated by Torah law, and the guidelines are more stringent, and the requirement of ratification of documents is mandated by rabbinic law, where the guidelines are more lenient. In that case a witness can become a judge.

ืืžืจ ืจื‘ื™ ืื‘ื ืืžืจ ืจื‘ ื”ื•ื ื ืืžืจ ืจื‘ ืฉืœืฉื” ืฉื™ืฉื‘ื• ืœืงื™ื™ื ืืช ื”ืฉื˜ืจ ื•ืงืจื ืขืจืขืจ ืขืœ ืื—ื“ ืžื”ืŸ ืขื“ ืฉืœื ื—ืชืžื• ืžืขื™ื“ื™ืŸ ืขืœื™ื• ื•ื—ื•ืชื ืžืฉื—ืชืžื• ืื™ืŸ ืžืขื™ื“ื™ืŸ ืขืœื™ื• ื•ื—ื•ืชื

ยง Rabbi Abba said that Rav Huna said that Rav said: In the case of three judges who convened as a tribunal to ratify a document, and a person raised a challenge with regard to the fitness of one of them to serve as a judge, thereby preventing ratification of the document, as long as they did not yet sign the ratification, the other two judges may testify about the acceptability of the judge whose fitness was challenged, and he then signs the ratification. However, once they signed the ratification, they may no longer testify about his fitness and thereby enable him to sign the ratification. Once they sign, their testimony is no longer impartial because there is a conflict of interest as they seek to avoid being associated with a tribunal tainted by an unfit judge.

ืขืจืขืจ ื“ืžืื™ ืื™ ืขืจืขืจ ื“ื’ื–ืœื ื•ืชื

The Gemara elaborates: With regard to a challenge of what sort was this halakha stated? If it was a challenge based on an allegation of theft,

  • This month's shiurim are sponsored by Shoshana Shur for the refuah Shlema of Meira Bat Zelda Zahava.

Want to explore more about the Daf?

See insights from our partners, contributors and community of women learners

talking talmud_square

Ketubot 21: Witnesses, Judges, and Stumped Amoraim

Starting with the mishnah on the bottom of the previous daf - the case of witnesses who testify to their...

Ketubot 21

The William Davidson Talmud | Powered by Sefaria

Ketubot 21

ืขืœ ื›ืชื‘ ื™ื“ืŸ ื”ื ืžืขื™ื“ื™ื ืœื“ื‘ืจื™ ื—ื›ืžื™ื ืขืœ ืžื ื” ืฉื‘ืฉื˜ืจ ื”ื ืžืขื™ื“ื™ื

the witnesses are testifying about their handwriting and authenticating their own signatures. Therefore, if each witness testifies only with regard to his own handwriting, there is only one witness authenticating each signature. According to the Rabbis, the witnesses are testifying about the sum of one hundred dinars that is in the document and are not authenticating the signatures at all. Therefore, the testimony of the two witnesses who signed the document is sufficient to ratify the document.

ืคืฉื™ื˜ื ืžื”ื• ื“ืชื™ืžื ืœืจื‘ื™ ืกืคื•ืงื™ ืžืกืคืงื ืœื™ื” ืื™ ืขืœ ื›ืชื‘ ื™ื“ื ื”ื ืžืขื™ื“ื™ื ืื• ืขืœ ืžื ื” ืฉื‘ืฉื˜ืจ ื”ื ืžืขื™ื“ื™ื

The Gemara asks: That is obvious. No analysis is necessary to arrive at this explanation of the dispute. The Gemara answers: The analysis is necessary lest you say that according to Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi there is uncertainty whether they are testifying about their handwriting or whether the witnesses are testifying about the sum of one hundred dinars that is in the document, and due to the possibility that the purpose of the testimony is to authenticate their handwriting, he requires two witnesses for each signature.

ื•ื ืคืงื ืžื™ื ื” ื”ื™ื›ื ื“ืžื™ืช ื—ื“ ืžื™ื ื™ื™ื”ื• ืœื‘ืขื™ ืฉื ื™ื ืžืŸ ื”ืฉื•ืง ืœื”ืขื™ื“ ืขืœื™ื•

And the practical difference between whether the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi is based on certainty or uncertainty is in a case where one of the witnesses who signed the document died. If his opinion is based on certainty that they are testifying about the signatures, one other witness testifying to the authenticity of both signatures would suffice, as both that other witness and the surviving signatory would testify to authenticate each signature. However, if his opinion is based on uncertainty, let them require two other witnesses from the street to testify about the signature of the deceased witness.

ื“ืื ื›ืŸ ืงื ืคื™ืง ื ื›ื™ ืจื™ื‘ืขื ื“ืžืžื•ื ื ืืคื•ืžื ื“ื—ื“ ืกื”ื“ื

That is due to the fact that if it is so that the witnesses are testifying about the sum of one hundred dinars that is in the document and only one other witness joined the surviving witness in testifying with regard to that signature, the result would be that the entire sum of money, less one-quarter, is collected based on the testimony of a single witness. The surviving signatory authenticates his signature and thereby facilitates collection of half the sum. In addition, his testimony together with the testimony of the witness from the street authenticating the signature of the deceased signatory facilitates collection of the other half. Based on the verse: โ€œAt the mouth of two witnessesโ€ฆshall a matter be establishedโ€ (Deuteronomy 19:15), each witness is responsible for half the sum.

ื•ื”ื›ื ืœื—ื•ืžืจื ื•ื”ื›ื ืœื—ื•ืžืจื

And one would have thought that Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi would rule stringently here: When both signatories are alive they must add another witness with them to authenticate the signatures of the two witnesses, as perhaps they are testifying about their handwriting; and he would rule stringently here: When one of the signatories died they must add two witnesses, as perhaps the witnesses are testifying about the sum of one hundred dinars that is in the document.

ืงื ืžืฉืžืข ืœืŸ ื“ืจื‘ื™ ืžื™ืคืฉื˜ ืคืฉื™ื˜ื ืœื™ื” ื‘ื™ืŸ ืœืงื•ืœื ื‘ื™ืŸ ืœื—ื•ืžืจื ื“ืืžืจ ืจื‘ ื™ื”ื•ื“ื” ืืžืจ ืจื‘ ืฉื ื™ื ื”ื—ืชื•ืžื™ืŸ ืขืœ ื”ืฉื˜ืจ ื•ืžืช ืื—ื“ ืžื”ืŸ ืฆืจื™ื›ื™ืŸ ืฉื ื™ื ืžืŸ ื”ืฉื•ืง ืœื”ืขื™ื“ ืขืœื™ื• ื‘ื–ื• ืจื‘ื™ ืœืงื•ืœื ื•ืจื‘ื ืŸ ืœื—ื•ืžืจื

Therefore, the Gemara teaches us that the matter was clear to Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, that they are testifying about their handwriting, and he ruled accordingly both leniently, requiring only one additional witness when one of the signatories died, and stringently, requiring an additional witness when both signatories are alive. As Rav Yehuda said that Rav said: With regard to two witnesses who were signatories to a document and one of them died, they require two others from the street to testify about the signature of the one who died, and in this case, Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi rules leniently and requires only one additional witness, and the Rabbis rule stringently and require two additional witnesses.

ื•ืื™ ืœื™ื›ื ืชืจื™ ืืœื ื—ื“ ืžืื™ ืืžืจ ืื‘ื™ื™ ืœื›ืชื•ื‘ ื—ืชื™ืžืช ื™ื“ื™ื” ืื—ืกืคื ื•ืฉื“ื™ ืœื™ื” ื‘ื‘ื™ ื“ื™ื ื ื•ืžื—ื–ืงื™ ืœื™ื” ื‘ื™ ื“ื™ื ื (ื•ื—ื–ื• ืœื™ื”) ื•ืœื ืฆืจื™ืš ืื™ื”ื• ืœืืกื”ื•ื“ื™ ืื—ืชื™ืžืช ื™ื“ื™ื” ื•ืื–ื™ืœ ืื™ื”ื• ื•ื”ืื™ ื•ืžืกื”ื“ื™ ืืื™ื“ืš

The Gemara asks: And if there are not two witnesses capable of authenticating each signature, but only one, what can be done to ratify the document? Abaye said: Let the surviving witness write his signature on an earthenware shard and cast it into the court. And the court then ratifies the document by seeing that it is his signature. And then he does not need to testify and authenticate his signature. But he and this other witness go and testify to authenticate the other signature of the deceased witness. In that case, even according to the Rabbis, one additional witness is sufficient.

ื•ื“ื•ืงื ืื—ืกืคื ืื‘ืœ ืืžื’ืœืชื ืœื ื“ืœืžื ืžืฉื›ื— ืœื” ืื™ื ื™ืฉ ื“ืœื ืžืขืœื™ ื•ื›ืชื‘ ืขื™ืœื•ื™ื” ืžืื™ ื“ื‘ืขื™ ื•ืชื ืŸ ื”ื•ืฆื™ื ืขืœื™ื• ื›ืชื‘ ื™ื“ื• ืฉื”ื•ื ื—ื™ื™ื‘ ืœื• ื’ื•ื‘ื” ืžื ื›ืกื™ื ื‘ื ื™ ื—ื•ืจื™ืŸ

The Gemara notes: And he writes his signature for the purpose of comparison specifically on an earthenware shard, but not on parchment, due to the concern that perhaps an unscrupulous person will find it and write on it whatever he wants, e.g., the undersigned owes him money. And we learned in a mishna (Bava Batra 175b): If a creditor produced a document about another written in the other personโ€™s handwriting, in which it is written that the other person owes him money, even if there are no witnesses he is obligated to pay, and the claimant may collect payment from unsold property. One can collect repayment of a loan that is documented on a promissory note signed by two witnesses even from the borrowerโ€™s land that was sold. With the document signed by the debtor, the creditor may collect payment from unsold property. Due to the potential for deceit with a signature on parchment, one provides a signature sample written on earthenware.

ืืžืจ ืจื‘ ื™ื”ื•ื“ื” ืืžืจ ืฉืžื•ืืœ ื”ืœื›ื” ื›ื“ื‘ืจื™ ื—ื›ืžื™ื ืคืฉื™ื˜ื ื™ื—ื™ื“ ื•ืจื‘ื™ื ื”ืœื›ื” ื›ืจื‘ื™ื ืžื”ื• ื“ืชื™ืžื ื”ืœื›ื” ื›ืจื‘ื™ ืžื—ื‘ื™ืจื• ื•ืืคื™ืœื• ืžื—ื‘ื™ืจื™ื• ืงื ืžืฉืžืข ืœืŸ

Rav Yehuda said that Shmuel said: The halakha is in accordance with the statement of the Rabbis in the mishna that each of the two signatories need testify only about his own signature to ratify the document. The Gemara asks: That is obvious, as the principle is: In a dispute between an individual Sage and multiple Sages, the halakha is ruled in accordance with the opinion of multiple Sages. The Gemara answers: Lest you say that just as there is a principle: The halakha is ruled in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi in disputes with his colleague, there is also a principle that the halakha is ruled in accordance with his opinion even when he disagrees with his multiple colleagues; therefore, Rav Yehuda teaches us that Shmuel said that the principle applies only to disputes with an individual colleague.

ืกื™ืžืŸ ื ื— ื ื“ ื—ื“ ืืžืจ ืœื™ื” ืจื‘ ื—ื ื ื ื‘ืจ ื—ื™ื™ื ืœืจื‘ ื™ื”ื•ื“ื” ื•ืืžืจื™ ืœื” ืจื‘ ื”ื•ื ื ื‘ืจ ื™ื”ื•ื“ื” ืœืจื‘ ื™ื”ื•ื“ื” ื•ืืžืจื™ ืœื” ืจื‘ ื—ื™ื™ื ื‘ืจ ื™ื”ื•ื“ื” ืœืจื‘ ื™ื”ื•ื“ื” ื•ืžื™ ืืžืจ ืฉืžื•ืืœ ื”ื›ื™

ยง The Gemara provides a mnemonic for the names and patronyms of the amoraโ€™im associated with the statement cited below: Nun แธฅet for Rav แธคinnana bar แธคiyya, nun dalet for Rav Huna bar Yehuda, and แธฅet dalet for Rav แธคiyya bar Yehuda. Rav แธคinnana bar แธคiyya said to Rav Yehuda, and some say it was Rav Huna bar Yehuda who said it to Rav Yehuda, and some say it was Rav แธคiyya bar Yehuda who said it to Rav Yehuda: And did Shmuel say that the halakha is in accordance with the statement of the Rabbis?

ื•ื”ื ื”ื”ื•ื ืฉื˜ืจื ื“ื ืคื™ืง ืžื‘ื™ ื“ื™ื ื ื“ืžืจ ืฉืžื•ืืœ ื•ื”ื•ื” ื›ืชื™ื‘ ื‘ื™ื” ืžื“ืืชื ืจื‘ ืขื ืŸ ื‘ืจ ื—ื™ื™ื ื•ืืกื”ื™ื“ ืื—ืชื™ืžื•ืช ื™ื“ื™ื” ื•ืื“ื—ื“ ื“ืขืžื™ื” ื•ืžื ื• ืจื‘ ื—ื ืŸ ื‘ืจ ืจื‘ื” ื•ืžื“ืืชื ืจื‘ ื—ื ืŸ ื‘ืจ ืจื‘ื” ื•ืืกื”ื™ื“ ืื—ืชื™ืžื•ืช ื™ื“ื™ื” ื•ืื“ื—ื“ ื“ืขืžื™ื” ื•ืžื ื• ืจื‘ ืขื ืŸ ื‘ืจ ื—ื™ื™ื ืืฉืจื ื•ื”ื™ ื•ืงื™ืžื ื•ื”ื™ ื›ื“ื—ื–ื™

But wasnโ€™t there that document that emerged from the court of Master Shmuel, and it was written with regard to that document: From the fact that Rav Anan bar แธคiyya came before the court and testified about his signature and about the signature of the one who signed the document with him, and who was that other signatory, Rav แธคanan bar Rabba; and from the fact that Rav แธคanan bar Rabba came before the court and testified about his signature and about the signature of the one who signed the document with him, and who was that other signatory, Rav Anan bar แธคiyya; we certified and ratified this document as appropriate. If Shmuel ruled in accordance with the opinion of the Rabbis there would have been no need for each to testify about the signature of his fellow witness.

ืืžืจ ืœื™ื” ื”ื”ื•ื ืฉื˜ืจื ื“ื™ืชืžื™ ื”ื•ื” ื•ื—ืฉ ืฉืžื•ืืœ ืœื‘ื™ืช ื“ื™ืŸ ื˜ื•ืขื™ืŸ ื•ืกื‘ืจ ืฉืžื•ืืœ ื“ืœืžื ืื™ื›ื ื“ืกื‘ื™ืจื ืœื™ื” ื”ืœื›ื” ื›ืจื‘ื™ ืžื—ื‘ื™ืจื• ื•ืœื ืžื—ื‘ื™ืจื™ื• ื•ื‘ื”ื ืืคื™ืœื• ืžื—ื‘ื™ืจื™ื• ืกื‘ืจ ืืขื‘ื™ื“ ืจื•ื•ื—ื ื›ื™ ื”ื™ื›ื™ ื“ืœื ืžืคืกื“ื™ ื™ืชืžื™

Rav Yehuda said to him: That was a document for the benefit of orphans, and Shmuel was concerned about the potential for an error of the court. And Shmuel thought: Perhaps there is a court that holds that in general, the halakha is ruled in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi in disputes with his colleague but not in disputes with his multiple colleagues, and in this case, the halakha is ruled in accordance with his opinion even in disputes with his multiple colleagues, and the court will not ratify the document if each witness testifies only about his own signature. Therefore he thought: I will perform ratification of the document in an expansive manner, in accordance with all opinions, to ensure that the orphans will not lose money to which they are entitled.

ืืžืจ ืจื‘ ื™ื”ื•ื“ื” ืืžืจ ืฉืžื•ืืœ ืขื“ ื•ื“ื™ื™ืŸ ืžืฆื˜ืจืคื™ืŸ

ยง Rav Yehuda said that Shmuel said: If a document came before a court and the court ratified it, and then the document was produced in order to collect the debt, at which time the borrower contested its validity and claimed that it was forged, one witness who was a signatory on the document and a judge who ratified the document join together to testify that the document is valid.

ืืžืจ ืจืžื™ ื‘ืจ ื—ืžื ื›ืžื” ืžืขืœื™ื ื”ื ืฉืžืขืชื ืืžืจ ืจื‘ื ืžืื™ ืžืขืœื™ื•ืชื ืžืื™ ื“ืงื ืžืกื”ื™ื“ ืกื”ื“ื ืœื ืงื ืžืกื”ื™ื“ ื“ื™ื™ื ื ื•ืžืื™ ื“ืงื ืžืกื”ื™ื“ ื“ื™ื™ื ื ืœื ืงื ืžืกื”ื™ื“ ืกื”ื“ื

Rami bar แธคama said: How excellent is this halakha. Rava said: In what way is that excellence manifested? That which the witness testifies, i.e., authenticating his signature and confirming the incident that he witnessed, the judge does not testify, as the judge testifies that the document was ratified. And that which the judge testifies, the witness does not testify. There are not two witnesses testifying to either matter.

ืืœื ื›ื™ ืืชื ืจืžื™ ื‘ืจ ื™ื—ื–ืงืืœ ืืžืจ ืœื ืชืฆื™ืชื™ื ื”ื• ืœื”ื ื™ ื›ืœืœื™ ื“ื›ื™ื™ืœ ื™ื”ื•ื“ื” ืื—ื™ ืžืฉืžื™ื” ื“ืฉืžื•ืืœ

Rather, when Rami bar Yeแธฅezkel came, he said: Do not listen to those principles that my brother Rav Yehuda bar Yeแธฅezkel established in the name of Shmuel with regard to a witness and a judge joining together to testify.

ืื™ืงืœืข ืจื‘ื ืื™ ืื—ื•ื” ื“ืจื‘ื™ ื—ื™ื™ื ื‘ืจ ืื‘ื ืœืžื–ื‘ืŸ ืฉื•ืžืฉืžื™ ื•ืืžืจ ื”ื›ื™ ืืžืจ ืฉืžื•ืืœ ืขื“ ื•ื“ื™ื™ืŸ ืžืฆื˜ืจืคื™ืŸ ืืžืจ ืืžื™ืžืจ ื›ืžื” ืžืขืœื™ื ื”ื ืฉืžืขืชื ืืžืจ ืœื™ื” ืจื‘ ืืฉื™ ืœืืžื™ืžืจ ืžืฉื•ื ื“ืงืœืกื” ืื‘ื•ื” ื“ืืžืš ืืช ื ืžื™ ืžืงืœืกืช ืœื” ื›ื‘ืจ ืคืจื›ื” ืจื‘ื

The Gemara relates: Ravnai, brother of Rabbi แธคiyya bar Abba, happened to come and sell sesame, and he said that this is what Shmuel said: A witness and a judge join together to testify. Ameimar said: How excellent is this halakha. Rav Ashi said to Ameimar: Due to the fact that Rami bar แธคama, father of your mother, praised it, you also praise [mekallesat] it? Rava already refuted that statement and proved it incorrect.

ืืžืจ ืจื‘ ืกืคืจื ืืžืจ ืจื‘ื™ ืื‘ื ืืžืจ ืจื‘ ื™ืฆื—ืง ื‘ืจ ืฉืžื•ืืœ ื‘ืจ ืžืจืชื ืืžืจ ืจื‘ ื”ื•ื ื ื•ืืžืจื™ ืœื™ื” ืืžืจ ืจื‘ ื”ื•ื ื ืืžืจ ืจื‘ ืฉืœืฉื” ืฉื™ืฉื‘ื• ืœืงื™ื™ื ืืช ื”ืฉื˜ืจ ืฉื ื™ื ืžื›ื™ืจื™ืŸ ื—ืชื™ืžื•ืช ื™ื“ื™ ืขื“ื™ื ื•ืื—ื“ ืื™ื ื• ืžื›ื™ืจ ืขื“ ืฉืœื ื—ืชืžื• ืžืขื™ื“ื™ืŸ ื‘ืคื ื™ื• ื•ื—ื•ืชื ืžืฉื—ืชืžื• ืื™ืŸ ืžืขื™ื“ื™ืŸ ื‘ืคื ื™ื• ื•ื—ื•ืชื

ยง Rav Safra said that Rabbi Abba said that Rav Yitzhak bar Shmuel bar Marta said that Rav Huna said; and some say that Rav Huna said that Rav said: With regard to three judges who convened to ratify a document, and two of them recognize the signatures of the witnesses on the document, and one does not recognize them; as long as the two judges did not yet sign to ratify the document, they testify and authenticate the signatures before the third judge, and based on that testimony, the third judge signs the document of ratification together with the first two judges. However, once the two judges signed the ratification, they may not testify before him and have him sign the ratification. The formula of the ratification is: We verified and ratified this document in a forum of three. Since when the first two judges signed the ratification, they were not a forum of three, the ratification is invalid.

ื•ืžื™ ื›ืชื‘ื™ื ืŸ ื•ื”ืืžืจ ืจื‘ ืคืคื™ ืžืฉืžื™ื” ื“ืจื‘ื ื”ืื™ ืืฉืจืชื ื“ื“ื™ื™ื ื™ ื“ื ื™ื›ืชื‘ ืžืงืžื™ื” ื“ื ื™ื—ื•ื• ืกื”ื“ื™ ืื—ืชื™ืžืช ื™ื“ื™ื™ื”ื• ืคืกื•ืœื” ื“ืžืชื—ื–ื™ ื›ืฉืงืจื ื”ื›ื ื ืžื™ ืžืชื—ื–ื™ ื›ืฉืงืจื

The Gemara asks: And do we write the ratification of a document before all of the judges verify the signatures of the witnesses? But didnโ€™t Rav Pappi say in the name of Rava: This ratification of judges that was written before the witnesses related testimony about their signatures is invalid, even if the witnesses later authenticate their signatures, as it seems like a lie, since when they drafted the ratification they were not yet aware that they would be able to ratify the document? Here too, when the judges drafted the ratification before the third judge can verify the signatures, it seems like a lie.

ืืœื ืื™ืžื ืขื“ ืฉืœื ื›ืชื‘ื• ืžืขื™ื“ื™ืŸ ื‘ืคื ื™ื• ื•ื—ื•ืชื ืžืฉื›ืชื‘ื• ืื™ืŸ ืžืขื™ื“ื™ืŸ ื‘ืคื ื™ื• ื•ื—ื•ืชื

The Gemara answers: Rather, emend the statement and say: As long as the two judges did not yet write the ratification of the document, they testify and authenticate the signatures before the third judge, and based on that testimony, the third judge signs the ratification together with the first two judges. However, once the two judges have written the ratification, they may not testify before him and have him sign the ratification.

ืฉืžืข ืžื™ื ื” ืชืœืช ืฉืžืข ืžื™ื ื” ืขื“ ื ืขืฉื” ื“ื™ื™ืŸ ื•ืฉืžืข ืžื™ื ื” ื“ื™ื™ื ื™ืŸ ื”ืžื›ื™ืจื™ืŸ ื—ืชื™ืžื•ืช ื™ื“ื™ ืขื“ื™ื ืื™ื ืŸ ืฆืจื™ื›ื™ืŸ ืœื”ืขื™ื“ ื‘ืคื ื™ื”ื ื•ืฉืžืข ืžื™ื ื” ื“ื™ื™ื ื™ืŸ ืฉืื™ืŸ ืžื›ื™ืจื™ืŸ ื—ืชื™ืžื•ืช ื™ื“ื™ ืขื“ื™ื ืฆืจื™ื›ื™ืŸ ืœื”ืขื™ื“ ื‘ืคื ื™ ื›ืœ ืื—ื“ ื•ืื—ื“

The Gemara notes: Conclude from the statement of Rav Huna three halakhot: Conclude from it that a witness can become a judge, as the two judges who testified to authenticate the signatures signed the ratification as judges and were not disqualified due to a conflict of interest. And conclude from it that judges who recognize the signatures of the witnesses do not require other witnesses to testify before them. And conclude from it that in cases involving judges who do not recognize the signatures of the witnesses, witnesses are required to testify before each and every one of them, and no judge may issue a ruling based on testimony brought before the other judges.

ืžืชืงื™ืฃ ืœื” ืจื‘ ืืฉื™ ื‘ืฉืœืžื ืขื“ ื ืขืฉื” ื“ื™ื™ืŸ ืฉืžืขื™ื ืŸ ืžื™ื ื” ืืœื ื“ื™ื™ื ื™ืŸ ื”ืžื›ื™ืจื™ืŸ ื—ืชื™ืžื•ืช ื™ื“ื™ ืขื“ื™ื ืื™ืŸ ืฆืจื™ื›ื™ืŸ ืœื”ืขื™ื“ ื‘ืคื ื™ื”ื ื“ืœืžื ืœืขื•ืœื ืื™ืžื ืœืš ืฆืจื™ื›ื™ืŸ ื•ืฉืื ื™ ื”ื›ื ื“ืงื ืžืงื™ื™ืžื ื”ื’ื“ื” ื‘ื—ื“

Rav Ashi strongly objects to the conclusions drawn by the Gemara. Granted, the fact that a witness can become a judge we can conclude from the statement of Rav Huna. However, the fact that judges who recognize the signatures of witnesses do not require other witnesses to testify before them cannot be concluded from the statement of Rav Huna. Perhaps, I will say to you that actually judges require witnesses to testify before them; and here, in this case, it is different, as the requirement of the statement of testimony is fulfilled with the testimony of the two judges before the one judge who did not recognize the signatures. However, in a case where there is no statement of testimony at all, there could be no ratification of the document.

ื•ื“ื™ื™ื ื™ืŸ ืฉืื™ืŸ ืžื›ื™ืจื™ืŸ ื—ืชื™ืžื•ืช ื™ื“ื™ ืขื“ื™ื ืฆืจื™ื›ื™ืŸ ืœื”ืขื™ื“ ื‘ืคื ื™ ื›ืœ ืื—ื“ ื•ืื—ื“ ื“ืœืžื ืœืขื•ืœื ืื™ืžื ืœืš ืื™ืŸ ืฆืจื™ื›ื™ืŸ ื•ืฉืื ื™ ื”ื›ื ื“ืœื ืงื ืžืงื™ื™ืžื ื”ื’ื“ื” ื›ืœืœ

And furthermore, with regard to the conclusion that in cases of judges who do not recognize the signatures of the witnesses, witnesses are required to testify before each and every one of them, perhaps, I will say to you that actually, in general, witnesses are not required to testify before each and every judge; and here, in this case, it is different, as were it not for the testimony of the two judges before the third judge, the requirement of the statement of testimony would not be fulfilled at all. In a case where there is other testimony, perhaps one may rely on the knowledge of others in order to ratify the document.

ื™ืชื™ื‘ ืจื‘ื™ ืื‘ื ื•ืงืืžืจ ืœื” ืœื”ื ืฉืžืขืชื ื“ืขื“ ื ืขืฉื” ื“ื™ื™ืŸ ืื™ืชื™ื‘ื™ื” ืจื‘ ืกืคืจื ืœืจื‘ื™ ืื‘ื ืจืื•ื”ื• ืฉืœืฉื” ื•ื”ืŸ ื‘ื™ืช ื“ื™ืŸ ื™ืขืžื“ื• ืฉื ื™ื ื•ื™ื•ืฉื™ื‘ื• ืžื—ื‘ืจื™ื”ื ืืฆืœ ื”ื™ื—ื™ื“ ื•ื™ืขื™ื“ื• ื‘ืคื ื™ื”ื ื•ื™ืืžืจื• ืžืงื•ื“ืฉ ื”ื—ื“ืฉ ืžืงื•ื“ืฉ ืฉืื™ืŸ ื”ื™ื—ื™ื“ ื ืืžืŸ ืขืœ ื™ื“ื™ ืขืฆืžื• ื•ืื™ ืกืœืงื ื“ืขืชืš ื“ืขื“ ื ืขืฉื” ื“ื™ื™ืŸ ืœืžื” ืœื™ ื›ื•ืœื™ ื”ืื™ ืœื™ืชื‘ื• ื‘ื“ื•ื›ืชื™ื™ื”ื• ื•ืœื™ืงื“ืฉื™

The Gemara relates: Rabbi Abba sat and stated this halakha that a witness can become a judge. Rav Safra raised an objection to the opinion of Rabbi Abba from a mishna (Rosh HaShana 25b): If three people saw the new moon and they constitute a court, two of them should stand and seat two of their colleagues to sit near the remaining individual judge. And the two should testify before the three judges, and they should then recite the standard formula for sanctifying the month: Sanctified is the month, sanctified. Two others must join the original judge to form a tribunal of three judges, as an individual judge is not deemed credible to sanctify the month by himself. And if it enters your mind to say that a witness can become a judge, why do I need all this? Let the three judges remain seated in their place and sanctify the month, as they can be both witnesses and judges.

ืืžืจ ืœื™ื” ืืฃ ืœื“ื™ื“ื™ ืงืฉื™ื ืœื™ ื•ืฉืื™ืœืชื™ื” ืœืจื‘ ื™ืฆื—ืง ื‘ืจ ืฉืžื•ืืœ ื‘ืจ ืžืจืชื ื•ืจื‘ ื™ืฆื—ืง ืœืจื‘ ื”ื•ื ื ื•ืจื‘ ื”ื•ื ื ืœื—ื™ื™ื ื‘ืจ ืจื‘ ื•ื—ื™ื™ื ื‘ืจ ืจื‘ ืœืจื‘ ื•ืืžืจ ืœื”ื• ื”ื ื— ืœืขื“ื•ืช ื”ื—ื“ืฉ ื“ืื•ืจื™ื™ืชื ื•ืงื™ื•ื ืฉื˜ืจื•ืช ื“ืจื‘ื ืŸ

Rabbi Abba said to Rav Safra: That mishna was difficult for me to understand as well, and I asked Rav Yitzแธฅak bar Shmuel bar Marta about it, and Rav Yitzแธฅak asked Rav Huna, and Rav Huna asked แธคiyya bar Rav, and แธคiyya bar Rav asked Rav, and Rav said to them: Leave the case of testimony to sanctify the month, as it is mandated by Torah law, and the guidelines are more stringent, and the requirement of ratification of documents is mandated by rabbinic law, where the guidelines are more lenient. In that case a witness can become a judge.

ืืžืจ ืจื‘ื™ ืื‘ื ืืžืจ ืจื‘ ื”ื•ื ื ืืžืจ ืจื‘ ืฉืœืฉื” ืฉื™ืฉื‘ื• ืœืงื™ื™ื ืืช ื”ืฉื˜ืจ ื•ืงืจื ืขืจืขืจ ืขืœ ืื—ื“ ืžื”ืŸ ืขื“ ืฉืœื ื—ืชืžื• ืžืขื™ื“ื™ืŸ ืขืœื™ื• ื•ื—ื•ืชื ืžืฉื—ืชืžื• ืื™ืŸ ืžืขื™ื“ื™ืŸ ืขืœื™ื• ื•ื—ื•ืชื

ยง Rabbi Abba said that Rav Huna said that Rav said: In the case of three judges who convened as a tribunal to ratify a document, and a person raised a challenge with regard to the fitness of one of them to serve as a judge, thereby preventing ratification of the document, as long as they did not yet sign the ratification, the other two judges may testify about the acceptability of the judge whose fitness was challenged, and he then signs the ratification. However, once they signed the ratification, they may no longer testify about his fitness and thereby enable him to sign the ratification. Once they sign, their testimony is no longer impartial because there is a conflict of interest as they seek to avoid being associated with a tribunal tainted by an unfit judge.

ืขืจืขืจ ื“ืžืื™ ืื™ ืขืจืขืจ ื“ื’ื–ืœื ื•ืชื

The Gemara elaborates: With regard to a challenge of what sort was this halakha stated? If it was a challenge based on an allegation of theft,

Scroll To Top