they1 give evidence with regard to their handwriting.2 according to the Sages they3 give evidence with regard to the maneh4 in the deed.5 This is self-evident! — You might have said that Rabbi was in doubt whether they3 testified to their signature or to the maneh in the deed.6 And the difference7 would be when one of them died. [Here] we need two witnesses8 from the street to testify regarding it,9 because otherwise,10 the whole of the money less a quarter would go out11 by the mouth12 of one witness, and both here and there the stricter rule would prevail.13 Therefore, he teaches that it is clear to Rabbi,14 whether the result is lenient15 or strict.16 For Rab Judah said [that] Rab said: If two [witnesses] are signed on a document and one of them died, two [persons] from the street are required to give evidence with regard to him.17 In this18 it would be lenient19 according to Rabbi and it is strict20 according to the Rabbis. And if there are not two, but there is only one,21 what [then]? — Said Abaye: He22 shall write his signature on a piece of clay23 and place it before the court, and the court confirms it,24 and he need not testify to his own signature,25 and he [then] goes with that one26 and they [together] testify to [the signature of] the other [witness].27 And only on a piece of clay28 but not a scroll,29 lest a bad30 man may find it and write on it whatever he likes,31 and We have learned: If one person produces the handwriting32 of another person33 that he owes him [money], he collects [the debt] from unmortgaged34 property.35 Rab Judah said [that] Samuel said. The halachah is according to the Sages36 This is obvious! [When there is a dispute between] one [authority] and many [authorities] the law is according to the many (authorities]! You might have said: since the halachah is according to Rabbi as against one of his fellow-scholars, it is also against many of his fellow-scholars,37 so be lets us hear38 [otherwise].
(Mnemonic: NaH, NaD, HaD.)39 R. Hinena b. Hiyya said to R. Judah, and some say (that] R. Huna b. Judah [said] to Rab Judah, and some say [that] R. Hiyya b. Judah [said] to Rab Judah: And did Samuel say so? Surely once a deed came out40 from the court of Mar Samuel and there was written in it, 'Whereas R. 'Anan b. Hiyya came and testified to his own signature and to that of his fellow-witness,41 namely,42 R. Hanan b. Rabbah, and whereas R. Hanan b. Rabbah came and testified to his own signature and to that of his fellow-witness, namely R. 'Anan b. Hiyya,' we have verified43 it, and we have confirmed it,43 as it is proper!44 — He said to him: That deed belonged to orphans, and Samuel was afraid of an erring court.45 Samuel thought: There might be someone who held that the halachah is [generally] according to Rabbi as against one fellow-scholar, and not as against many of his fellow-scholars, but [that] in this46 [the halachah is according to Rabbi] even as against many of his fellow-scholars,47 I will make relief,48 so that the orphans should not suffer any loss.
Rab Judah said [that] Samuel said: Witness and judge are joined together.49 Rami b. Hama said: How excellent is this tradition! Said Raba: What is the excellence? What the witness testifies to the judge does not testify to, and what the judge testifies to the witness does not testify to?50 And indeed, when Rami b. Ezekiel came he said: Do not heed those rules which my brother Judah51 laid down in the name of Samuel.
Original footnotes renumbered.
- The witnesses.
- Therefore the handwriting of each witness has to be confirmed by two witnesses.
- The witnesses.
- Maneh is only mentioned as an illustration. It is the transaction recorded in the deed to which they testify. This transaction might have been the loan of a maneh.
- And the two witnesses testify to the transaction by each of them confirming his signature, hence the ruling of the Sages.
- [And being in doubt, he took the more stringent view, and required that both witnesses testify to each other's signature.]
- Whether Rabbi was sure or doubtful in his view.
- Because of Rabbi's doubt whether the witnesses testified to their signature or to the maneh in the deed.
- The signature of the dead witness.
- Lit., 'if so'. I.e., if we should say that one witness from the street would be sufficient.
- I.e., would be given to the claimant.
- I.e., the evidence.
- If Rabbi was in doubt we should require two other witnesses to give evidence regarding the signature of the dead witness. One other witness, added to the surviving witness, would not do, because the evidence of the witnesses may be (since Rabbi is in doubt) with regard to the maneh In the deed, and not to the signatures, in which case half of the evidence regarding the transaction would be given when the surviving witness confirms his own signature. His own confirmation of his signature is sufficient, as fat as his evidence is concerned, if the object of the evidence is the transaction recorded in the deed. half of the sum mentioned in the deed would then go to the claimant by his confirmation of his signature, in other words, by his evidence. And when be testifies, with the other new witness, regarding the signature of the dead witness, half of the other half of the sum is testified to by him, so that altogether three-quarters of the sum mentioned in the deed would go to the claimant through the evidence of one, the surviving witness, and this is not according to the law, which demands that no more than one half should 'go out' by the evidence of one single witness. (V. Git. (Sonc. ed.) p. 57, n. 9.) Therefore, through Rabbi's doubt, we should require two other witnesses when one witness died. And when both witnesses who signed the deed are alive, each signature must be testified to by both witnesses, because there would be Rabbi's doubt that the evidence may be regarding the signatures. The result would be that in both cases, whether both witnesses are alive or one witness is dead, each signature would have to be testified to by two witnesses.
- That the evidence is regarding the signatures.
- As in the case of the death of one witness. Being certain in his view that the evidence is with regard to the signatures. and not with regard to the maneh in the deed, Rabbi would hold that one witness from the street, added to the surviving witness, is sufficient. The surviving witness and the new witness would both testify to both signatures. There would be no question of three-quarters of the sum mentioned going out by the mouth of one witness, because in Rabbi's certain view, the evidence is with regard to the signatures and not with regard to the maneh in the deed.
- In the case when both the witnesses are alive. They must testify to both signatures.
- This is according to the Sages.
- I.e., in this case.
- V. n. 2.
- As the Rabbis (the Sages) hold the view that the evidence is regarding the maneh in the deed, two new witnesses are required to testify to the signature of the dead witness. If there would be only one new witness and he would be added to the surviving witness, three-fourths of the sum mentioned in the deed would go out by the mouth of one witness, v. p. 114, n. 14.
- Person from the street who recognizes the handwriting of the dead witness.
- The surviving witness.
- [H] 'clay', or 'a piece of clay' is reminiscent of the Babylonian clay-tablets.
- By comparing the signature on the piece of clay with the signature in the deed.
- In the deed.
- The person from the street.
- Of the dead witness.
- Shall he (the surviving witness) write his signature.
- We would say 'but not on a sheet of paper'. It is interesting to note the use of 'piece of clay', together with the use of 'scroll'. It may be that [H] was also used, later, in the sense of 'a small piece of paper'.
- He may write over the signature that the signatory borrowed a certain sum of money from him.
- A note of indebtedness signed by the other person.
- Lit., 'he produced against him his handwriting.'
- Lit., 'free'.
- V. B.B. 175b. The surviving witness must, therefore, be careful and write his signature only on a piece of clay, or on a small piece of papers on which there is room only for his signature.
- In our Mishnah.
- Lit., his fellow and even from his fellows'.
- That the halachah is according to scholars.
- Nah stands for Hinenah b. Hiyya; Nad for Hunah b. Judah; Had for Hiyya b. Judah. the names of the Amoraim that follow.
- Declared as valid.
- Lit., 'and to the one of (the person) with him'.
- Lit., 'and who is it?'
- The deed.
- We thus see that Samuel acted according to the opinion of Rabbi.
- Of judges who might mistakenly think that in this matter the law is according to Rabbi.
- In the matter of confirming witnesses' signatures.
- And he will not accept the confirmation.
- I.e., I will do more than is necessary.
- For the purpose of confirming the validity of the document, the witness testifies to his signature, and the judge to his signature endorsing the document which had been presented to court for confirmation. V. infra.
- The witness testifies to the transaction (to the maneh in the deed according to the Sages), and the judge testifies to his own signature.
- Rab Judah was a brother of Rami.
Rabbanai, the brother of R. Hiyya b. Abba, came to buy sesame and he said: Thus Samuel said: Witness and judge are joined together. Amemar said: How excellent is this tradition! Said R. Ashi to Amemar: Because the father of your mother1 praised it, you also praise it! Raba has already refuted it.
R. Safra said [that] R. Abba said [that] R. Isaac b. Samuel b. Martha said [that] R. Huna said, and some say [that] R. Huna said [that] Rab said: If three2 sit together to confirm a deed, and two [of them] know3 the signatures of the witnesses and one does not know,4 before they sign,5 they may testify6 before him,7 and he8 [then] signs9 [with them]; after they have signed, they may not testify before him and he may not sign. But do we write [the attestation]?10 Did not R. Papi say in the name of Raba: The judge's attestation which is written before the witnesses give evidence as to their signatures is invalid, because it looks like a lie? [And] here also it looks like a lie! — But say: Before they have written [the attestation] they may testify before him and he [then] signs [with them]; after they have written [the attestation], they may not testify before him and he may not sign. We may infer from this three things.11 We may infer that a witness may be12 a judge;13 we may [also] infer that, if the judges know the signatures of the witnesses, there is no need to testify14 before them;15 and [again] we may infer that, if the judges do not know the signatures of the witnesses, it is necessary to give evidence before every one.16 R. Ashi demurred to this: Agreed17 that we may infer from it that a witness may be a judge, but [how can we infer from it that], if the judges know the signatures of the witnesses, there is no need to testify before them? Perhaps, indeed, I can say to you [that] this is necessary, but it is different here, because the telling18 has been fulfilled before one.19 And [further, how can we infer from It that], if the judges do not know the signatures of the witnesses, it is necessary to give evidence before every one?20 Perhaps, indeed, I can say to you [that] this is not necessary, but it is different here, because the telling21 would not have been fulfilled at all.22
R. Abba sat and reported23 this law, that a witness may be a judge. R. Safra [then] objected to R. Abba: If three24 saw it25 and they are [of] the court, two26 shall stand up and set [two] of their fellows27 beside the one, and they28 shall testify before them,29 and [then] they say: Hallowed is the new moon, hallowed; for one person is not believed by himself. Now, if you assume that a witness may be a judge, what do we want all this for? Let them sit in their places30 and proclaim31 [the new moon] is hallowed! — He said to him: That was also difficult to me, and I asked R. Isaac b. Samuel b. Martha. and R. Isaac [asked] R. Huna, and R. Huna [asked] Hiyya b. Rab, and Hiyya b. Rab [asked] Rab, and he said to them: Leave alone the testimony as to the new moon, [for it is] Biblical, and the confirmation of documents is Rabbinic.32
R. Abba said [that] R. Huna said [that] Rab said: If three sit to confirm a document and an objection is raised33 against one of them,34 they35 may, before they have signed [the attestation], give evidence regarding him,36 and he may [then] sign; after they have signed, they may not give evidence regarding him37 and he may not sign. On what ground was that objection raised? If the objection was on the ground of robbery,38
Original footnotes renumbered.
- Rami b. Hama.
- Three laymen may constitute themselves into a court.
- Lit., 'recognize'.
- The signatures.
- A declaration that the signatures of the witnesses have been confirmed.
- To the signatures of the witnesses.
- Before the third judge.
- The third judge.
- The attestation confirming the signatures. As to the form of the attestation, v. Rashi.
- Before the signatures of the witnesses have been testified to by the signatories or by other witnesses.
- Lit., 'heat from this three'.
- Lit., 'be made'.
- [The two who first testify to the signatures of the witnesses may then act as judges, endorsing the document.]
- To the signatures.
- Before the judges, since no provision is made for any testimony being made before the two judges who know the signatures.
- Of the judges, since in this case the two judges have to testify before the third judge.
- Lit.,'it is all tight'.
- The giving of evidence.
- Before the third judge.
- Of the judges.
- The giving of evidence.
- If the two judges had not testified before the third judge.
- Lit., 'said'.
- Of the Sanhedrin.
- The new moon.
- Of them.
- Of the Sanhedrin.
- The two.
- The three who form the court.
- After they have given evidence as to the new moon.
- Together with the third person.
- [Whereas in a Biblical matter a witness cannot act as judge, in a Rabbinic measure, e.g., the attestation of documents, no such stringency applies.]
- Lit., 'and one calls a protest'. [This protest was made by two, v. infra 26a.]
- It is said that he is unfit to act as judge.
- The other two persons.
- That he is a fit person.
- As they are then interested patties, it being to their discredit to have acted as judges with an unfit person.
- On account of a robbery which he is alleged to have committed.