Monday, July 09, 2007


Shmuel once said to Rav Chana Bagdasaah (from Baghdath, or an Aggada expert), “Go out and bring me ten people (so that the ruling should be publicized) in order for me to say to you before them that one who gives something to a fetus, the fetus has acquired it.”

It would seem form this Gemora that if something should be publicized, ten people are required.

This is also evident from the Gemora Sanhedrin (74b) which states that a person who is in public must be martyred even for a minor precept rather than violate it. Rabbi Yaakov said in the name of Rabbi Yochanan: The minimum for publicity is ten. This is derived from the verse [Vayikra 22:32]: And you shall not profane My holy name; but I will be holy among the children of Israel.

It is written [Bamidbar 16:21]: Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment. An analogy is drawn from the use of congregation (edah) in two passages; one, just quoted, and the second, [ibid 14:27]: How long shall I bear with this evil congregation. ‘Congregation’ there refers to the Spies sent out by Moshe. As Yehoshua and Calev had dissociated themselves from their evil report, ten were left, all Israelites. Thus we see, that ten Israelites creates a quorum.

This applies to desecrating the Shabbos in public as well. The Peri Megadim (Sifsei Daas Y”D 2:17) states in the name of the Rashba: If there are ten men present when one violates the Shabbos, one is regarded as a desecrator of Shabbos in public.

This would seemingly be inconsistent with a Gemora in Bava Basra (39b) which states according to one opinion: A protest must be lodged in the presence of three people because this way, we are certain that the protest will become known.

The Gemora in Gittin (33a) also states that three people make a matter public. The Gemora rules that if a husband wishes to nullify a get, he must do so in front of three people. This is to ensure that the matter becomes known, and his wife will not mistakenly get married.

The Sdei Chemed (V p. 260) answers: Three people are sufficient when we wish to make something public knowledge; once three people know about the matter, we are certain that the public will become aware of this. However, when something must be performed in public, it is only regarded as being public, if ten Jews are present at the moment it occurred.


Berel said...

Aren't there some who say that one is regarded as a mechalel shabbos b'farhesya when ten people know?

Volvie said...

The Gemora that states "Esther b'pharhesya," wasn't that ten people knowing?

Avromi said...

Both of those issues are discussed by the poskim; the sdei chemed does bring them in a later piece. He does say his tirutz is a dochek.

Aryeh Shore said...

It is clear from the mishneh in gitin that two people are not public but three people are public, i.e. that if he makes some sort of declaration it will become known generally. The public you are referring to is pharhasia which is 10 people. This requires 10 kosher jews.

Avromi said...

Yes, that is correct, but we still see that we don't need ten people to start with. The matter will be made public if it's done in the presence of three.

Thank you