Sanhedrin 57a

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Sanhedrin 57a

for it is written, The earth also was corrupt before God;[1] and a Tanna of the School of R. Ishmael taught: Wherever corruption is mentioned, it must refer to immorality and idolatry.[2] 'Immorality.' as it is written, for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.[3] 'Idolatry,' for it is written, Lest ye corrupt yourselves and make you a graven image, etc.[4] And the other teacher [who deduces this from the verse, and the Lord God commanded etc.]?[5] He maintains that this verse [sc. the earth also etc.] merely describes their way of living.[6] 'Bloodshed', as it is written, Whoso sheddeth man's blood, etc.[7] And the other?[8] — This verse [he will maintain] merely teaches the manner of execution.[9] Robbery, for it is written, As the wild herbs have I given you all things;[10] upon which R. Levi commented: as the wild herbs, but not as the cultivated herbs.[11] And the other?[12] — He will hold that this verse is written to permit animal flesh,[13] [but not to prohibit robbery]. Flesh cut from the living animal, as it is written, But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.[14] And the other?[15] — He may hold that this verse teaches that flesh cut from live reptiles is permitted.[16] Emasculation, for it is written, Bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.[17] And the other?[18] — He may regard this merely as a blessing.[19] Forbidden mixture, as it is said, Of fowls after their kind.[20] And the other?[21] — He will maintain that this was merely for the sake of mating.[22]
דכתיב (בראשית ו) ותשחת הארץ לפני האלהים ותנא דבי רבי ישמעאל בכל מקום שנא' השחתה אינו אלא דבר ערוה <ועבודת כוכבים> {ועבודה זרה} דבר ערוה שנא' (בראשית ו) כי השחית כל בשר את דרכו <עבודת כוכבים> {עבודה זרה} דכתיב (דברים ד) פן תשחיתון ועשיתם וגו' ואידך אורחייהו דקא מגלי שפיכות דמים דכתיב (בראשית ט) שופך דם האדם וגו' ואידך קטלייהו הוא דקמגלי גזל דכתיב (בראשית ט) כירק עשב נתתי לכם את כל וא"ר לוי כירק עשב ולא כירק גנה ואידך ההוא למישרי בשר הוא דאתא אבר מן החי דכתיב (בראשית ט) אך בשר בנפשו דמו לא תאכלו ואידך ההוא למישרי שרצים הוא דאתא סירוס דכתיב (בראשית ט) שרצו בארץ ורבו בה ואידך לברכה בעלמא כלאים דכתיב (בראשית ז) מהעוף למינהו ואידך ההוא לצותא בעלמא
R. Joseph said, The scholars[23] stated: A heathen is executed for the violation of three precepts — Mnemonic G Sh R—[24] viz., adultery, bloodshed, and blasphemy. R. Shesheth objected: Now bloodshed is rightly included, since it is written, Whoso sheddeth the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed;[25] but whence do we know the others? If they are derived from bloodshed,[26] the other four should also be included; whilst if their inclusion is taught by the extending phrase any man,[27] should not idolatry too be included?[28] But R. Shesheth said thus: The scholars stated, A heathen is executed for the violation of four precepts [including idolatry]. But is a heathen executed for idolatry? Surely it has been taught: With respect to idolatry, such acts for which a Jewish court decrees sentence of death [on Jewish delinquents] are forbidden to the heathen. This implies that they are merely forbidden, but their violation is not punished by death! — R. Nahman b. Isaac answered: Their prohibition is their death sentence.[29]
אמר רב יוסף אמרי בי רב על שלש מצות בן נח נהרג: גש"ר סימן: על גילוי עריות ועל שפיכות דמים ועל ברכת השם מתקיף לה רב ששת בשלמא שפיכות דמים דכתיב (בראשית ט) שופך דם האדם וגו' אלא הנך מנא להו אי גמר משפיכות דמים אפילו כולהו נמי אי משום דאיתרבאי מאיש איש <עבודת כוכבים> {עבודה זרה} נמי איתרבי מאיש איש אלא אמר רב ששת אמרי בי רב על ארבע מצות בן נח נהרג ועל <עבודת כוכבים> {עבודה זרה} בן נח נהרג והתניא <בעבודת כוכבים> {בעבודה זרה} דברים שב"ד של ישראל ממיתין עליהן בן נח מוזהר עליהן אזהרה אין מיתה לא אמר רב נחמן בר יצחק אזהרה שלהן זו היא מיתתן
R. Huna, Rab Judah, and all the disciples of Rab maintained: A heathen is executed for the violation of the seven Noachian laws; the Divine Law having revealed this of one [murder], it applies to all. Now is a heathen executed for robbery? Has it not been taught: 'With respect to robbery — if one stole or robbed[30] or [seized] a beautiful woman,[31] or [committed] similar offences,[32] if [these were perpetrated] by one Cuthean[33] against another, [the theft, etc.] must not be kept, and likewise [the theft] of an Israelite by a Cuthean, but that of a Cuthean by an Israelite may be retained'?[34] But if robbery is a capital offence, should not the Tanna have taught: He incurs a penalty? — Because the second clause wishes to state, 'but that of a Cuthean by an Israelite may be retained,' therefore the former clause reads, '[theft of an Israelite by a Cuthean] must not be kept.'[35] But where a penalty is incurred, it is explicitly stated, for the commencing clause teaches: 'For murder, whether of a Cuthean by a Cuthean, or of an Israelite by a Cuthean, punishment is incurred; but of a Cuthean by an Israelite, there is no death penalty'?[36] — How else could that clause have been taught? Could he state, 'forbidden' … 'permitted'? Surely it has been taught; A Cuthean and a [Jewish] shepherd of small cattle [sheep, goats, etc.][37] need neither be rescued [from a pit] nor may they be thrown [therein]![38] 'And similar acts.' To what can this apply in the case of robbery? — R. Aha b. Jacob answered: To a worker in a vineyard [who eats of the grapes]. When so? If his is the finishing work, it is permitted?[39] If it is not the finishing work, is it not actual robbery?[40] — But R. Papa said: This applies to [the theft of] an article worth less than a perutah.[41] But if so, why say that such robbery of a Jew by a Cuthean must not be kept: does he not forgive him?[42] — Though he later forgives him, he is grieved when it occurs [therefore it is prohibited] — But how can you say that such robbery by one Cuthean from another is but a 'similar act' [i.e., bordering on robbery]: since a Cuthean does not forgive,[43] is it not actual theft? — But R. Aha, the son of R. Ika answered; It applies to the withholding of a labourer's wage.[44] One Cuthean from another, or a Cuthean from an Israelite is forbidden, but an Israelite from a Cuthean is permitted.[45] To what can 'a similar act' apply in the case of a beautiful woman? — When R. Dimi came,[46] he said in the name of R. Eleazar in the name of R. Hanina: To a heathen who allotted a bondwoman to his slave [for concubinage] and then took her for himself, for this he is executed.[47]
רב הונא ורב יהודה וכולהו תלמידי דרב אמרי על שבע מצות בן נח נהרג גלי רחמנא בחדא והוא הדין לכולהו ועל הגזל בן נח נהרג והתניא על הגזל גנב וגזל וכן יפת תואר וכן כיוצא בהן <כותי בכותי וכותי> {נכרי בנכרי ונכרי} בישראל אסור וישראל <בכותי> {בנכרי} מותר ואם איתא ניתני חייב משום דקבעי למיתני סיפא ישראל <בכותי> {בנכרי} מותר תנא רישא אסור והא כל היכא דאית ליה חיובא מיתנא קתני דקתני רישא על שפיכות דמים נכרי <בכותי וכותי> {בנכרי ונכרי} בישראל חייב ישראל <בכותי> {בנכרי} פטור התם היכי ליתני ליתני אסור ומותר והתניא <כותי> {הגוים} ורועי בהמה דקה לא מעלין ולא מורידין כיוצא בו בגזל מאי היא אמר רב אחא בר יעקב לא נצרכה אלא לפועל בכרם פועל בכרם אימת אי בשעת גמר מלאכה התירא הוא אי לאו בשעת גמר מלאכה גזל מעליא הוא אלא אמר רב פפא לא נצרכה אלא לפחות משוה פרוטה אי הכי <כותי> {נכרי} בישראל אסור הא בר מחילה הוא נהי דבתר הכי מחיל ליה צערא בשעתיה מי לית ליה <כותי בכותי> {נכרי בנכרי} כיוצא בהן כיון דלאו בני מחילה נינהו גזל מעליא הוא אלא אמר רב אחא בריה דרב איקא לא נצרכה אלא לכובש שכר שכיר <כותי בכותי וכותי> {נכרי בנכרי ונכרי} בישראל אסור ישראל בנכרי מותר כיוצא ביפת תואר מאי היא כי אתא רב דימי א"ר אלעזר א"ר חנינא בן נח שייחד שפחה לעבדו ובא עליה נהרג עליה
'A similar act', however, is not taught with reference to murder.[48] Abaye said: If it should be, however, that it is so taught, it would be in accordance with R. Jonathan b. Saul. For it has been taught; If one was pursuing his neighbour to slay him, and the latter could have saved himself by maiming a limb [of the pursuer, e.g., his foot], and did not thus save himself [but killed him instead],
כיוצא בו דשפיכות דמים לא תניא אמר אביי אי משכחת דתניא רבי יונתן בן שאול היא דתניא רבי יונתן בן שאול אומר רודף אחר חבירו להורגו ויכול להצילו באחד מאבריו ולא הציל

See Also


  1. Gen. VI, II
  2. And once they were punished for these offences, they must first have been admonished against them.
  3. Ibid. 'Corrupted his way' connotes immorality; cf. the way of a man with a maid. Prov. XXX, 19.
  4. Deut. IV, 16.
  5. How does he utilize this latter verse?
  6. But is not intended to imply a prohibition.
  7. Gen. IX, 6.
  8. I.e., who deduces it from the verse, all the Lord commanded.
  9. I.e., by the sword, v. p. 380 n. 5; but the fact of execution is taught elsewhere.
  10. Ibid. 3.
  11. I.e., only as that which grows wild, without any owners; but not as that which is cultivated, hence owned by someone. This proves that robbery was forbidden them.
  12. V. n. 8.
  13. Which was prohibited to Adam, v. infra 59b.
  14. Ibid. 4. 'Flesh with the blood thereof' means flesh cut from the living animal.
  15. V. n. 8.
  16. V. infra 59a, b.
  17. Ibid. This, of course, is a direct negation of emasculation.
  18. V. p. 386, n. 8,
  19. But it is not intended to convey any prohibition.
  20. Ibid. VI, 20; hence different species are not to be crossed.
  21. V. p. 386, n. 8.
  22. It being easier to mate with the same species than with another; but no prohibition is implied thereby.
  23. The term be Rab does not necessarily mean the school presided over by Rab, though it may have that meaning occasionally. In one sense, it connotes the school founded by him, but lasting many generations after his lifetime. In another, it denotes schools in general. In this very instance, the views attributed to be Rab conflict with the teaching of Rab, Rab Judah, and all his disciples (Weiss. Dor II, p. 206.)
  24. [H]: a mnemonic is given to facilitate the remembering of the subjects of a discussion. Here it stands for Gilluy 'Arayoth — adultery; Shefikuth damin — murder; and birkath ha-shem — blasphemy.
  25. Gen. IX, 6.
  26. That as bloodshed was forbidden on pain of death, so were the others too.
  27. Heb. [H]. Lev. XXIV, 15: Any man ([H]) that curseth his God shall bear his sin. Ibid. XVIII, 6: No man ([H]) shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness. In both cases one referring to blasphemy, and the other to incest, the repetition of ish extends the law to embrace heathens too.
  28. Lev. XX, 2: Whosoever he be (ish ish ) of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed to Moloch (i.e., engages in idol worship); he shall surely be put to death. The repetition then, here too, should extend the death penalty for idolatry to heathens.
  29. I.e., in speaking of heathens, when the Tanna teaches that they are forbidden to do something, he ipso facto teaches that it is punishable by death; for only in speaking of Jews is it necessary to distinguish between prohibition and punishment.
  30. Stole (ganab) refers to secret stealing, robbed (gazal), to stealing by open violence.
  31. In war, v. Deut. XXI, 10-14 — a species of robbery. [This is the only possible and correct rendering of the text, contra Goldschmidt. Cf. Tosef A.Z.]
  32. Acts which are not actual robbery, but partake of its nature.
  33. 'Cuthean' (Samaritan) was here substituted by the censor for the original goy (heathen).
  34. [I.e., though it is forbidden to rob the heathen, punishable by the court of Heaven (v. Yad, Genebah I, 2; VI, 8), the offence was non-actionable by the Jewish court, because the heathen does not recognize the court system. For reason, v. B. K. (Sonc. ed.) note on Mishnah 37b.]
  35. But actually it is punishable too. [This is merely a survival of old Semitic tribal law that regarded theft and robbery as a crime against the state, and consequently punishable by death. V. Muller, D. H., Hammurabi, 88]
  36. Thus the Tanna does refer to punishment; since then he omits a reference to punishment in the clause under discussion, it shows that the heathen is not executed for robbery. In the whole of this discussion the punishment referred to is death.
  37. Both are regarded as robbers the latter because they permit their charges to graze in other people's fields.
  38. One need neither exert oneself to save them from death, nor may one encompass it. This, of course, is theoretical only, v. p. 388, n. 6. Not a few of these harsh utterances (where they do not reflect the old Semitic tribal law, v. p. 388. n. 7) were the natural result of Jewish persecution by the Romans, and must be understood in that light. In actual practice, these dicta were certainly never acted upon, and it is significant that a commission of Roman officers, after investigating Jewish law in its relation to Gentiles, took exception only to two laws, one relating to the damage done by a goring ox, and the other permitting a Jew the use of property stolen from a Gentile. R. Gamaliel repealed this latter law. (B.K. 38a: Sifre Deut. 344.) Hence, reverting to the discussion, the Tanna could not have stated that the murder of a Cuthean by a Jew is permissible, therefore he is forced to speak of punishment.
  39. E.g., the gathering in of the grapes. Deut. XXIII, 25 is interpreted by the Rabbis as referring to work in connection with the finishing touch given to the produce.
  40. Not merely bordering thereon.
  41. A small coin, one-eighth of the Roman as.
  42. One does not mind such a trifle, and readily forgives it.
  43. Even such a trifle, v. infra 59a.
  44. This only borders on a robbery, for actual robbery means depriving a person of what he already possesses
  45. I.e., non-actionable.
  46. R. Dimi was a Palestinian Amora of the fourth century, who travelled to and fro between, Babylon and Palestine, and was very zealous in transmitting the teachings of Palestine Scholars to his colleagues in Babylon (v. J. E. IV, 603; cf. p. 361, n. 5, supra.
  47. This, though not actual robbery, is similar to it.
  48. A deed is either actual murder or not. Even unwitting murder is murder, though the Almighty shewed mercy by sparing the murderer.