If so [if the mishna intended to tell us that non-expert judges can rule in cases of loans why did R. Abahu find it necessary to interpret the "monetary cases" in the mishna as a general category that included robbery and pesonal injury, but not loans and admissions)? He should simply have read it as follows]. (There are) two (categories): monetary cases (judged) by three laymen, and robbery and personal injury (judged by) three expert judges.
Furthermore, why "three ... three?" [I the term "monetary cases" is explained as robbery and personal injury, why does the mishna state that three judges were required for monetary cases and three were required for robbery and personal injury? Why not simply: "Monetary cases involving robbery and personal injury require a court of three?"]
Instead, Rava said, there are two [independent cases requiring three judges, listed separately] for reasons like those of R. Hanina. [R. Hanina, in San 2b, taught that biblical requirements for full examination of witnesses by expert judges was eased in order to encourage people to lend money to others.]
Rav Acha b. Rav Ika sad: Biblically, one judge can rule [on loans], as it says (Lev 19:15) "in righteousness shalt thou [singlar, not plural] judge thy neighbor. "But because of "corner-dwellers" [Rashi: merchants unfamiliar with laws applying to loans who might be asked to serve as judges, so the rabbis required three judges.]
But can't there be a group of three corner-dwellers? [In other words, the requirement of three judges still does not guarantee a competent court.]
[The gemara answers:] It's impossible that there not be one knowlegeable person among a group of three.
But this implies that if they made a mistake they should not be liable? [As we noted in the previous installment, expert judges are protected from liability if they rule erroneously. It is suggested that laymen whose status as judges are rabbinically approved should also be protected].
[The gemara answers:] That (the exemption from liability) would increase the number of corner-dwellers (serving as judges) all the more. [Rashi: In that case lay judges would have no incentive to learn.]
[Rava and Rav Acha both explain the mishna the same way: The phrase "monetary matters" refers to loans (judged by non-experts), and cases of robbery and personal injury are distinct, and require expert judges. This sets up the gemara's next question.]
What is the practical difference between Rava and Rav Acha b. Rav Ika?
The difference between them is what Shmuel said: If two judges ruled [on a loan], their ruling is binding, but they are called "an insolent court." [The term "hatsuf", translated as "insolent", is a form of the familiar word "hutzpa."] Rava [who says that three judges are biblically required] would not agree with Shmuel. But Rav Acha b. Rav Ika [who says that only one judge is biblically required] would agree with Shmuel [that the ruling of a two-judge court is binding].
[Our mishna:] Damage and half-damage [are judged by a court of three]. [If an ox has a history of goring, the owner is liable for the full damage that the ox causes, but if the ox does not have such a history, the owner is liable for only half of the damage. The biblical rule (Ex. 21:35-36), referring to damage to livestock is extended by analogy on Baba Kama 31a to non-lethal damage to humans.]
[The gemara asks:] Doesn't damage fall under the rubric of personal injury [which were already specified in our mishna]?
[It is assumed that damage to property is covered by "monetary cases", so here we are dealing with damage to humans. The question implies that "damage" refers to the first of the five components of indemnity for personal injury (Baba Kama 83b): damage, suffering, medical expenses, enforced idleness, shame.]
The gemara answers:] Since the mishna wanted to specify half damage [reduced liability] it also mentioned (full) damage.
But partial damage is also under the rubric of personal injury!
[The gemara answers:] The mishna distinguishes between compensatory liability and penalties.
[Biblical penalties, such as the double payment that is imposed on a thief that is caught in the act (Ex. 22:3) and the five- or fourfold payment for stealing and slaughtering an ox or a lamb (Ex. 21:37) must be tried by expert judges and are not enforcible outside of Eretz Yisrael.]
[The gemara questions this:] This is acceptable to those who hold that half-damage liability is a penalty [which is why it must be explicitly stated], but according to those who hold that half-damage liability is compensatory, what is there to say? [Rashi explains that the reference is to a dispute on Baba Kama 15a. One authority holds that the damage is unexpected, and that the partial liability is a biblical penalty. The other holds that every ox is a potential gorer, so that the partial liability is compensatory, and _should_ be full liability were it not for the Torah's leniency.]
[The gemara answers:] Instead, because the mishna wants to state double, four- and five-fold liability, which is an indemnity that is not commensurate with the damage, it also states half-damage which is an indemnjity that is not commensurate with the damage. And since the mishna specifies half-damage, it also specifies (full) damage.
[We end on the third line of 3b.]
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