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Treatise X. The Sanhedrin Chapter V, The Talmud

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The Talmud, by Joseph Barclay, [1878] 1. The witnesses were examined with seven investigations. "In what Sabbatical year?" "In what year?" "In what month?" "What date in the month?" "What day?" What hour?" "What place?" R. José said, "What day?" "What hour?" "What place?" "Did you know him?" "Did you warn him?" In a case of idolatry, "whom did he serve?" "And with what did he serve?" 2. Every judge who extends examinations is praiseworthy. It happened that the son of Zacchai examined (even) on the stems of figs. And what difference is there between investigations and examinations? In investigations if one say, "I don't know," their witness is worthless. In examinations, if one say "I don't know," and even two say, "we don't know," their witness stands. Whether in investigations or examinations, when they contradict each other, their witness is worthless. 3. One witness said, "on the second of the month," and another witness said, "the third of the month." Their witness stands. Because one knows of the intercalary month, and another does not know of the intercalary month. One said, "on the third," and another said, "on the fifth;" their witness is worthless. One said, "at the second hour," and another said "at the third hour;" their witness stands. One said, "at the third," and another said, "at the fifth;" their witness is worthless. R. Judah said "it stands." One said, "on the fifth," and another said, "on the seventh;" their witness is worthless, because at the fifth (hour) the sun is in the east, and at the seventh hour the sun is in the west. 4. And afterwards they introduce the second (witness) and examine him. If both their statements agree, they open the case with clearing. One of the witnesses says, "I possess information to clear him." Or one of the disciples of the Sanhedrin says, "I possess information for condemning." They order him to keep silence. One of the disciples of the Sanhedrin says, "I possess information to clear him." They bring him up, and seat him between the judges, and he did not go down during the whole day. If there be substantial information, they give him a hearing. And even when he (the accused) says, "I possess information for clearing myself," the judges give him a hearing; only there must be substantial information in his words. 5. If the judges found him clear, they released him, but if not they deferred his judgment till the morrow. They conversed in pairs, and reduced their eating, and they drank no wine all the day, and discussed the matter the whole night. And on the morrow they came very early to the judgment hall. He who was for clearing said, "I was for clearing, and I am for clearing in my place." And he who was for condemning said, "I was for condemning, and I am for condemning in my place." He who pronounced for condemning, could pronounce for clearing, but he who pronounced for clearing, could not turn round and pronounce for condemning. If the judges erred in a matter, the two scribes of the judges recalled it to their memory. If they found him clear, they released him: but if not, they stood to be counted. "Twelve cleared him, and eleven condemned?" "He is clear." "Twelve condemned him, and eleven cleared him, and even eleven cleared, and eleven condemned," and one said, "I don't know." And even twenty-two cleared or condemned, and one said, "I don't know?" "They must add judges." "How many do they add as judges two by two?" "Up to seventy-one." "Thirty-six cleared him, and thirty-five condemned him?" "He is clear." "Thirty-six condemned him, and thirty-five cleared him?" "They disputed with each other until one of the condemning party acknowledged the statement of the clearing party."

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1 Ahmed M = "Zacchai was one of the tannaim, an important Jewish sage in the era of the Second Temple, and a primary contributor to the core text of Rabbinical Judaism, the Mishnah. "
2 Ahmed M = "Zacchai is widely regarded as one of the most important Jewish figures of his time. His tomb is located in Tiberias, within the Maimonides burial compound."
3 Ahmed M = "The Talmud reports that, in the mid first century, Zacchai was particularly active in opposing the Sadducees' interpretations of Jewish law."