Contradictory Meanings In עד נעשה דיין – Part 3


To answer the question we left off with here.

The Rambam writes [עדות ה-ח] 

אבל בדיני ממונות יש לו ללמד עליו זכות או חובה אבל לא ימנה עם הדיינים ולא יעשה דיין שאין עד נעשה דיין אפילו בדיני ממונות:

 With regard to cases involving financial matters, he may, however, offer an opinion leading to the defendant being released from financial liability or held liable. He may not, however, be counted among the judges or serve as a judge. For a witness may not serve as a judge. This applies even in cases involving financial matters.

What does the Rambam mean when he says that “אבל לא ימנה עם הדיינים ולא יעשה דיין”, he may not be counted among the judges or serve as a judge? Aren’t they the same thing? 

It would appear that there are two types of judges. One is to be an actual judge who adjudicates the case. Another is that he is not an actual judge but is counted in the number of people voting about the case because there is no דין without three people. If we have a יחיד מומחה – an individual expert – judging, then he has to be an actual judge. But if you have a court of three regular people [הדיוטות], they don’t all have to be actual judges. They just have to count as members of the court. That is what the Rambam means when he says אבל לא ימנה עם הדיינים ולא יעשה דיין – the witness can’t be an actual judge nor can he be part of the minyan of judges. 

We find that to give סמיכה the Rambam requires 3 and one who himself has סמיכה. The Kesef Mishna writes “אלא חד סמוך סגי ומיהו בעינן עמיה שנים דהוו שלשה”. This seems to be saying what we are saying – One actual judge and two for the counting.

This is all where we don’t require a בית דין and one [a יחיד מומחה] can judge or three הדיוטות can judge. But where we require a proper בית דין then we require three actual judges and not just a minyan of three.

That is why the Rambam in Hilchos Eidus tells us that with respect to the דין that it must be given on behalf of the בית דין, that this עד can be a דיין and not just that he can be a דיין for קיום הגט. Because the Rambam told us in Hilchos Eidus that מן התורה and עד can’t be a דיין so he wants to stress that מדרבנן not only can an עד be a דיין for the counting but he becomes an actual דיין who is considered part of a proper בית דין. If he just would have told us in Hilchos Geirushin that the עד can be a דיין with respect to the דין of קיום שטרות then we might have thought that this עד just counts as a judge for the minyan but is not an actual דיין [because קיום שטרות doesn’t require a proper בית דין – just a minyan of three]. So he tells us in Hilchos Eidus where there is a דין that the גט must be given on behalf of a proper ב”ד which teaches us that he is a bona fide דיין. 

This would also explain the language of the Rambam in Hilchos Geirushin “שלא אמרו בפני שנים אלא בזמן שהשליח כשר לעדות” – He SHOULD have said “בזמן שהשליח כשר לדון” because the issue is that this עד can serve as a דיין! Based on what we said we can explain that the Rambam is telling us that he need not be a proper דיין for the קיום שטרות at hand. Just a kosher עד so he can be counted in the minyan. Only in Hilchos Eidus he tells us that he is a דיין proper.

There is LOADS more to say….

[עפ”י דברי הגרמש”ש]