Sanhedrin 9 - Reasons for Disagreement on Defamer
Rabbi Meir requires only three judges to judge a husband who defames his wife, but the Sages require twenty three . Here are four out of eight possible reasons for the disagreement.
* The husband comes without the support of the witnesses, but the Sages fear that witnesses to adultery might come forward when gossip spreads;
* The husband claimed to have witnesses of adultery, and the court of twenty three was convened to try this capital case, but then the husband failed to produce witnesses. The Sages rule that the original twenty three judges should be retained for the sake of their honor;
* The witnesses warned the woman that if she commits adultery she will be liable to the death penalty, but did not specify the method of execution;
* The woman was learned, and the witnesses did not give her any warning not to commit adultery.
Art: Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoy - Reading (portrait of the artist's wife)