Sanhedrin, Chapter Three, Mishnah Seven

 

Introduction

Mishnah seven describes the court procedures at the end of the trial.

 

Mishnah Seven

1)                     When the judges reached their decision they would bring in the litigants.

2)                     The chief among the judges says:  “You, so-and-so are not obligated”, or “You, so-and-so are obligated”.

3)                     And from where do we know that after one of the judges has gone out that he may not say, “I declared him not obligated and my colleagues declared him obligated, so what can I do since they outvoted me?”

a)                                           Of such a one it says, “Do not go about as a talebearer amongst your people” (Lev. 19:16) and it also says, “He that goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets” (Proverbs 11:13).

 

Explanation

At the end of the trial, when the judges have reached their verdict the most important of them would announce whether or not the defendant was obligated to pay the plaintiff.  In addition the mishnah warns judges that when the trial is completed the judge who disagreed with the verdict of the majority may not walk out and announce to the public his disagreement.  Such a person is considered to be the type of “talebearer” censured by the Torah.

 

Questions for Further Thought:

·                      Why shouldn’t a judge let the public know that he dissented from the majority opinion?  Compare this to modern law.

 

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