Now, both agree with R. Johanan,1 but
the one [explains it as meaning]: Until it is like a strung
bow;2 the other: Until it is like a
R. Aha of Difti4 said to
Rabina:5 Yet should not one utter the
benediction,6 'Blessed … who art
good and dispensest good'!7 — He replied:
But when it is waning, do we say, 'Blessed be the true judge.'8 that we
should say: 'Blessed … who art good and dispensest good?'9 But why should
not both be recited?10 Since it is
a regular phenomenon, no benediction at all is
R. Aha b. Hanina also said in the name of R. Assi in R. Johanan's name: Whoever
pronounces the benediction over the new moon in its due time welcomes, as
it were, the presence of the Shechinah: for one passage states, This
month;12 whilst elsewhere it is said,
This is my God, and I will giorify
In the school of Rabbi Ishmael it was taught: Had Israel inherited no other
privilege14 than to greet the presence
of their Heavenly Father once a
month,15 it were sufficient. Abaye
said: Therefore16 we must recite it
standing. But Meremar and Mar Zutra allowed themselves to be carried on the
shoulders17 when they pronounced the
R. Aha said to R. Ashi: In 'the West,' they pronounce the following benediction:
'Blessed be He who reneweth the moons.' Whereupon he retorted: Such a blessing
even our women folk pronounce!18 But
[one should rather use the following], in accordance with Rab Judah, who
gives it thus: Praised etc.19 who
created the Heavens with His word, and all their hosts with the breath of
His mouth. He appointed unto them fixed laws and times, that they should
not change their ordinance. They rejoice and are glad to do the will of their
Creator. They work20 truthfully, for
their action is truth. The moon He ordered that she should renew herself
as a crown of beauty for those whom He sustains from the
womb,21 and who will, like it, be
renewed in the future, and magnify their Maker in the name of the glory of
His kingdom. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who renewest the moons.
For with wise advice22 thou shalt
make thy war.23 R. Aha b. Hanina [further]
said in the name of R. Assi in R. Johanan's name: In whom do you find [skill
to conquer in] the battle of the
Torah?24 — Only in him who possesses
bundles of Mishnah [teaching].25
R. Joseph applied to himself [the verse]: Much increase [of grain] is by
the strength of the ox.26
SIMILARLY, IF ONE TESTIFIED, 'DURING THE SECOND HOUR' etc. R. Shimi b. Ash
said: They taught this only of
hours.27 But if one testifies, 'It
was before sunrise,' and the other says, 'After sunrise, their evidence is
invalid.28 This is
obvious29 — But [put it thus:] if
one testifies, 'Before sunrise,' and the other, 'During sunrise.'30 But this
too is obvious! I might, however, think that he [the witness] was standing
in the glow [before sunrise] and what he saw was but a
gleam:31 He therefore informs us
AFTER THIS, THE SECOND WITNESS IS ADMITTED etc. [AND HE DOES NOT DESCEND
FROM THERE ALL THAT DAY.] Only THAT
DAY,32 and no longer? But has it not
been taught: 'If there is substance in his statement, he does not go down
from there at all;33 but if there
is no substance therein, he does not descend thence all that day, that his
rise be not his fall'?34 — Abaye
said: Interpret it [sc. the Mishnah] as applying [to a case] where no substance
was found in his statement.
IF THEY FIND HIM NOT GUILTY etc. [AND DRINK NO WINE]. Why drink no wine?
— R. Aha b. Hanina said: Scripture states, It is not for
princes35 to say, Where is strong
drink?36 [i.e.,] those who are engaged
in [unravelling] the secrets of the
world37 must not become drunk.
THE TWO SIDES DEBATE THE CASE TOGETHER UNTIL ONE OF THOSE WHO CONDEMN AGREES
WITH etc. But what if they do not agree? R. Aha ruled: He is discharged.
R. Johanan said likewise: He is discharged. R. Papa said to Abaye: Then he
should be set free in the first
place!38 He answered: Thus did R.
Johanan say: It is in order that they may not leave the Court in
confusion.39 Some say that R. Papa
said to Abaye: Why add, Let him be discharged by the first
court?40 To which he replied: R. Jose
is in agreement with you. For it has been taught: R. Jose said: Just as a
court of seventy-one is not increased, so may a court of twenty-three not
Our Rabbis taught: In civil suits, a declaration is made, The judgement
nizdakan;41 but not in capital
charges.42 What does (for note 9 see p. 274) nizdakan mean?
Shall we say, The case is
difficult:43 surely, the reverse should
have been taught!44 R. Huna b. Manoah
said in the name of R. Aha the son of R. Ika: We should reverse (the instances).
R. Ashi said: In truth, you need not reverse it: what is meant by 'The judgment
nizdakan'? — The case is wisely
An objection is raised: The presiding judge declares, 'The judgment nizdakan.'
Now, should you agree that it means, 'The case is wisely established,' it
is correct, hence the presiding judge makes the declaration. But if you maintain
that it means, The case is difficult;' is it not better that the presiding
judge should not say it? Surely in doing so he actually disgraces himself!
— There is no comparison between declaring one's own disgrace and having
another declare it.46 Others state:
Should you agree that it means, The case is difficult,' it is correct, for
there is no comparison between declaring ones own disgrace and having another
declare it. But if you maintain that it means, 'The case is wisely established:'
does not the president [of the court] thereby praise himself? Whereas it
is written, Let another praise thee and not thine own
mouth?47 — It is different in judicial
matters, since the president is charged with the
duty,48 as we learnt: When a decision
has been arrived at, they are admitted, and the presiding judge declares,
'So and so, thou art not liable,' or, 'So and so, thou art liable.'49
Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
That the recital of the benediction is conditioned by
the filling up of the moon's concavity.
I.e., semicircular, which shape it assumes after seven
I.e., round, at full moon.
[Dibtha on the Tigris. (Obermeyer op. cit. p. 197)].
With reference to Rab Judah's view.
After seven days and until full moon.
This benediction is made on the attainment of a thing
over which its due blessing has already been pronounced, but which has now
either been improved or been replaced by a thing of the same kind but of
a better quality (v. Ber. 59b). And so R. Aba maintained that even if in
Rab Judah's opinion the usual benediction for the new moon is not to be uttered
after seven days because it is then no longer new, yet since it is still
in its growing stage, becoming more luminous as the days pass until full
moon is reached, this latter blessing should be uttered.
A benediction recited on hearing bad tidings. Cf. Ber.
When it is waxing. I.e., since its waning is not regarded
as a loss, entailing this benediction, its waxing is not a gain, necessitating
On the respective occasions.
For its waxing is no particular boon from God, nor
its waning an infliction, which are the fundamental reasons of these
Ex. XII, 2, concerning the New Moon.
Ex. XV, 2, in the Song of Moses. 'This' is taken as
connoting something that could, as it were, be pointed at with the finger
(v. Mekilta. Ex. XV, 2), and the use of this word in the two verses suggests
that he, who praises God at the periodical renewal of the moon, gives witness
to the revelation of Divine Glory as manifested in natural phenomena.
[H]; v. p. 153. n. 2.
I.e., if they practised no other observance but this
— the benediction over the new moon.
Because it is a greeting of God's Presence.
Probably because of their infirmity through age. Cf.
supra 7b, and Rashi's comment
As if to say, 'There is nothing in that.' Such a short
benediction is fit only for the uneducated. e.g., women (Maharsha).
The 'etc.' (curr. edd. in brackets) stands for 'art
thou, O Lord our God…'
Tosaf.'s reading:' 'He works', referring to God.
I.e., from childhood, viz., Israel, cf. Isa. XLVI,
Prov. XXIV, 6.
I.e., who is qualified to meet the difficulties of
the Torah, and give a true interpretation?
I.e., he who is fully conversant with the law; according
to Rashi, the point is that mere dialectic skill and ingenuity are no substitutes
for a sound knowledge of the sources. [H], bundle, is a word play on [H].
Prov. XIV, 4. V. Deut. XXXIII, 17, where Joseph is
symbolically compared to a bullock; also Hor. 14a: R. Joseph was renowned
for his erudition, being known as Sinai. Hence his application of the above
verse to himself.
I.e., if the witnesses state a definite time, e.g.,
three hours, four hours. etc. Only then is there a dispute in the Mishnah
as to the margin of possible error.
Even according to R. Judah.
As there could be no error in such a matter.
Their evidence is null.
Mistaking it for the rays of sunrise; thus their statements
Does the disciple remain seated with the Judges.
I.e., he becomes a member of the Court. V. Yad, Sanh.
X, 8, although according to Tosafoth Yom Tob on Sanh. V, 4, he is not given
a (for note 9 see p. 274) vote. Me'iri, however, maintains that he is seated
with them only as long as the trial lasts.
If he had to resume his seat in the presence of the
Assembly, he would be disgraced.
[H], here connected with [H], secret. V. Dan. II,
Prov. XXXI, 4.
I.e., seeking to bring to light the secrets hidden
in men's hearts, and so endeavouring to establish the truth — in a capital
I.e., after the court was increased to seventy-one
and there was yet no clear majority. Why then delay by debating, surely the
court as a whole must not seek to convict?
I.e., without a definite decision. It reflects discredit
on a court that it should rise in a state of controversy, having been unable
to bring the matter to a definite conclusion (Rashi).
Of twenty-three. If there was then no clear majority,
both sides should have endeavoured to win one more vote over to their opinion,
and in the case of failure, he should have been set free there and then.
[H], from the root [H], may have a twofold meaning;
a) old, in that the case has become old in discussion and could not be solved;
or b) wise, in that the case has become clear, or wisely established, and
is no longer in need of discussion. The following discussion is based on
these two alternative meanings.
Cf. Tosef. Sanh. VII.
Lit., 'old', I.e., the case is become old and stale
through prolonged discussion, and cannot be solved.
I.e., in capital cases one should all the more say,
'The judgment nizdakan,' so as to acquit the accused.
[H] according to the Rabbis, denotes 'wise' Cf. Kid.
Which would be the position if the words were pronounced
by another member of the court.
Prov. XXVII, 2.
Of declaring the verdict.
MISHNAH. WHEN THE TRIAL IS ENDED,1
HE [THE CONDEMNED] IS LED FORTH TO BE
STONED.2 THE PLACE OF STONING WAS WITHOUT
THE COURT, EVEN AS IT IS WRITTEN, BRING FORTH HIM THAT HATH
A MAN WAS STATIONED AT THE DOOR OF THE COURT WITH THE SIGNALLING
FLAG4 IN HIS HAND, AND A HORSE-MAN
WAS STATIONED AT THE DISTANCE YET WITHIN SIGHT OF
HIM,5 AND THEN IF
ONE6 SAYS, 'I HAVE SOMETHING [FURTHER]
TO STATE IN HIS FAVOUR', HE [THE SIGNALLER] WAVES THE FLAG, AND THE HORSE-MAN
RUNS AND STOPS THEM.7 AND EVEN IF HE
HIMSELF SAYS, 'I HAVE SOMETHING TO PLEAD IN MY OWN FAVOUR', HE IS BROUGHT
BACK, EVEN FOUR OR FIVE TIMES, PROVIDING, HOWEVER, THAT THERE IS SUBSTANCE
IN HIS ASSERTION.
GEMARA. And was the place of stoning only just outside the court and no further?
Has it not been taught: The place of stoning was outside the three
encampments?8 — True, it is even as
you say, yet he teaches it thus, so that one may infer from it that if the
Beth din went forth9 and stationed
itself outside the three
encampments,10 even so the place of
stoning had to be without the court, in order that it [the court] should
not appear murderously inclined, or that there might be a possibility of
Whence is this inferred?12 From what
our Rabbis taught: Bring forth him that hath cursed without the
camp:13 i.e., without the three camps.
You say, 'without the three camps:' but may it not mean simply outside one
camp? — It is here stated, Without the camp; and in reference to the bulls
that were [wholly] burned,14 it is
also said, without the camp:15 Just
as there, [it means] without the three camps, so here too. And whence is
that derived there? — From what our Rabbis taught: The whole bullock shall
he carry away without the camp16 —
i.e., without the three camps. You say, 'without the three camps;' but perhaps
it simply means 'without one
camp'?17 — But when Scripture states
further, with reference to the bull offered for the
Community,18 without the camp, which
is unnecessary, for it has already been stated, And he shall burn it as he
hath burned the first bullock,19 its
purpose is to add a second
camp.20 And when Scripture states
further, with reference to the
ashes,21 without the
camp,22 which is also superfluous,
since it has already been said, Where the ashes are poured out shall it be
burned,23 its purpose must be to add
a third camp.24
But why not derive it25 from the
sacrifices slaughtered without [the legitimate
precincts]?26 Just as there, [the
meaning is] without one camp,27 so
here too, without one camp is meant! — It is logical to make the deduction
from the bullocks that were [wholly] burned, since they have the following
points in common: [i] Bring forth … without the camp; [ii] [the bringing
forth] is a necessary preliminary [to the act]; [iii]
atonement.28 On the contrary, it should
rather be deduced from the sacrifices slaughtered without, since they have
the following in common; [i] human being; [ii] sinners; [iii] life is taken;
and [iv] piggul?29 — It is preferable
to deduce one necessary preliminary from another.30
R. Papa said:31 Where did Moses reside? In
the camp of the Levites.32 And God
said to him: Bring forth him that hath cursed without the
camp33 — which therefore means, without
the camp of the Levites. Hence, when it states, And they brought forth him
that had cursed outside the camp, the camp of the Israelites [must be
meant].34 But surely, that is necessary
to intimate the fulfilment [of the command]? — This fulfilment is expressly
Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
And the accused is found guilty.
If he be so sentenced. Stoning is given here as an example,
it being enumerated first in the list of the four modes of execution in Jewish
law. Cf. infra 49b.
'Bring forth' implies 'without,' as is also shewn by
the end of the sentence: without the camp. Lev. XXIV, 14.
Sudarium, a cloth or kerchief.
The signal man.
Of the judges (Rashi).
From carrying out the sentence until the court has gone
into the details to see whether there is any substance in the new statement
That of the Divine Presence and the Priests, that of
the Levites, and that of the rest of the Israelites. In Jerusalem they were
situated as follows: The first was confined to the space of the Temple court,
the second to the Temple Mount and the third occupied the rest of the city.
From its usual locale, as stated in the previous note.
I.e., one of the minor Sanhedrins.
Between sentence and execution. The further the place
of execution was from the court, therefore, the better for the condemned.
That the execution must take place outside the three
Lev. XXIV, 14, with reference to the blasphemer.
I.e., the sin offering of the anointed priest (Lev.
IV, 3, seq.), and of the whole community (ibid. 13 seq.).
Ibid. 12, 21.
I.e., only outside the precincts of the Temple.
In case the whole community committed an unwitting
Ibid. i.e., the sin offering of the anointed priest,
ibid. 3 seq.
Beyond, which the burning is to take place.
Which were heaped up and had to be removed.
Lev. VI, 4.
Lev. IV, 12; this explicitly states that the place
for burning the ashes was without the camp. Hence the same statement in the
verse first quoted is redundant.
V. n. 12.
Sc. the meaning of 'without the camp', Lev. XXIV, 14.
Cf. Lev. XVII, 3ff. What ever man etc. … that offereth
a burnt offering or sacrifice and bringeth it not unto the entrance of the
appointed tent … that man shall be cut off from among his people.
As is deduced from the words, bringeth it not unto
the entrance of the appointed tent, i.e., the priestly camp, but outside
In both these cases there is a positive command, Bring
forth, etc. Whereas with references to sacrifices slaughtered outside the
forecourt it is only stated, He that slaugthtered it outside the camp. Again,
the bringing forth without the camp is a prerequisite for the fitting performance
of the act; whereas in the case of sacrifices slaughtered outside the Temple
court it is a transgression. Moreover, the burning of the bullock is an atonement
for the High Priest and the whole Congregation (cf. Lev. IV, 20), and stoning
likewise is an atonement for the malefactor; but that feature is absent in
the case of sacrifices slaughtered without.
'Without the camp' in both these places refers to a
human being; the blasphemer was to be taken 'without the camp', whilst it
was a human being who slaughtered 'without the camp'; whereas, in connection
with the burnt bullocks, this phrase relates to animals; they were to be
taken 'without the camp'. Again, the blasphemer and the slaughterer without
the camp are both sinners, whereas the bullock, in direct relation to which
the phrase is stated, is not a sinner. Further, in both these cases, the
leading 'without the camp' was in order to take life — that of the blasphemer
and the sacrifice yet to be slaughtered; but the burnt bullocks were already
slaughtered; and 'without the camp' is mentioned in connection with burning
their carcases. And finally, the law of piggul is inapplicable to these two.
[H], unfitness caused by an intention in the mind of the officiating priest
to dispose of a sacrifice outside the legal limits of space or time. In both
these cases the performance of the act outside does not involve this sin.
In stoning it is, of course, not applicable, and sacrificing outside the
prescribed area is not piggul, which implies instead a sacrificing outside
the precincts but unlawful intentions about the sacrifice's subsequent disposal.
Nor is piggul possible in the case of sacrifices slaughtered without. In
the case of the bullocks to be wholly burned, an intention to burn them beyond
their proper place makes the sacrifice in a sense piggul (v. Rashi).
V. n. 3.
In proof that the third camp is meant.
Since he was a Levite.
Lev. XXIV, 14.
It was not necessary to repeat the words, out of the
camp; therefore the words here mean something different from their use earlier.