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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin
Whence do we know it of one who officiates whilst sitting? — Raba said in R. Nahman's name: The Writ saith, For the Lord thy God hath chosen him out of all thy tribes, to stand to minister:3 implying, I have chosen him for standing, but not for sitting.
If a priest with a blemish [officiated], Rabbi said: He is liable to death [at the hands of Heaven]; the Sages maintain: He is merely prohibited. What is Rabbi's reason? — Because it is written, Only he shall not go in unto the vail, [nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish]; that he profane not my sanctuaries.4 Then the law is derived from the use of 'profanation' here and in the case of terumah; just as there the penalty is death, so here too. But let it rather be derived from nothar; just as there the penalty is extinction, so here too? — It is more reasonable to make the deduction from terumah, for thus bodily unfitness is derived from bodily unfitness.5 On the contrary, is it not preferable to base the analogy on nothar, since they share the following in common: [i] sanctity, [ii] within the Temple precincts, [iii] piggul and [iv] nothar?'6 — But the analogy is drawn from an unclean priest who officiated; thus bodily unfitness is derived from bodily unfitness, and a case distinguished by sanctity, the inner precincts of the Temple, piggul and nothar derived from another so distinguished. But the Rabbis?7 — The Writ saith, and die therefore:8 implying but not for the sin of being blemished.9
'If he deliberately transgressed in respect of a trespass offering, Rabbi said: He is liable to death; and the Sages maintain: He is merely prohibited.' What is Rabbi's reason? — R. Abbahu said: He derives identity of law from the fact that 'sin' is used here and in the case of terumah:10 just as there, the penalty is death, so here too. But the Rabbis?11 They maintain, the Writ saith, and die therefore:12 implying, but not for trespass.
A ZAR WHO OFFICIATED IN THE TEMPLE. It has been taught: R. Ishmael said: It is here written, And the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death;13 whilst it is elsewhere said, Whosoever cometh anything near unto the tabernacle of the Lord shall die:14 just as there death was at the hands of Heaven, so here too. R. Akiba said: It is here written, And the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death; whilst it is elsewhere said, And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death:15 just as there, it is by stoning, so here too. R. Johanan b. Nuri said: Just as there, it is by strangling, so here too. Wherein do R. Ishmael and R. Akiba differ? — R. Akiba maintains, 'shall be put to death' must be compared with 'shall be put to death' but not with 'shall die'.16 Whilst R. Ishmael maintains, a layman must be compared to a layman, but not to a prophet. But R. Akiba avers, Since he seduced, no man is more of a layman than he.17 Wherein, do R. Akiba and R. Johanan b. Nuri differ? — In the dispute of R. Simeon and the Rabbis. For it has been taught: If a prophet seduced, he is stoned; R. Simeon said: he is strangled. But we learnt, R. AKIBA SAID, HE [THE ZAR] IS STRANGLED?18 — Two Tannaim differ as to R. Akiba's ruling: our Mishnah is taught on R. Simeon's view19 as to R. Akiba's ruling; whilst the Baraitha [stating that the zar is stoned, and that this is derived from the false prophet] gives the Rabbis' view as to R. Akiba's ruling.20
MISHNAH. THE FOLLOWING ARE STRANGLED: HE WHO STRIKES HIS FATHER OR MOTHER; OR KIDNAPS A JEW [TO SELL AS A SLAVE]; AN ELDER REBELLING AGAINST THE RULING OF BETH DIN; A FALSE PROPHET; ONE WHO PROPHESIES IN THE NAME OF AN IDOL; ONE WHO COMMITS ADULTERY; WITNESSES WHO TESTIFIED FALSELY [TO THE ADULTERY OF] A PRIEST'S DAUGHTER, AND HER PARAMOUR.1
GEMARA. Whence do we know it of him who strikes his father or mother? — From the verse, And he that smiteth his father or mother shall surely be put to death:2 and by every unspecified death sentence decreed in the Torah strangulation is meant. But say! perhaps it is only if he kills [not merely strikes] them? — You surely cannot think so: for killing any other person he is decapitated, whilst for his father's murder he is [only] strangled! Now, this [answer] is correct on the view that strangulation is more lenient: but on the view that the sword is more lenient, what canst thou say? — But since it is written, He that smiteth a man, so that he dies, shall surely be put to death:3 and also, or in enmity smite him with his hand, that he die,4 it follows that whenever an unqualified smiting is mentioned, it does not mean slaying.
Now, it is necessary that both 'He that smiteth a man' and 'whoso killeth any soul etc.'5 be written. For had the Divine Law written only, 'He that smiteth a man, that he die', I should have thought that it applies to the slaying of an adult [ish]6 only, since such is himself bound by law, but not [to the slaying of] a minor; therefore the Divine Law writes, 'Whoso killeth any soul.' Whilst had the Divine Law written only. 'Who killeth any soul,' I should have thought that it applies even to a nefel7 or an 'eight months' child:8 therefore the former verse is necessary too [to exclude these].
[Now, reverting to the main question:] Let us say that even if he [smote his father] without wounding him [he is executed]: Why have we learnt, He who strikes his father or his mother is liable only if he wounds them? — The Writ saith, And he that killeth a beast, he shall restore it; and he that killeth a man, he shall be put to death:9 just as for smiting an animal [there is no liability] unless it is wounded, since nefesh ['soul'] is written in connection therewith;10 so also, no liability is incurred for smiting a man [i.e., one's parent] unless there is a wound. R. Jeremiah objected: If so, if one [permanently] impaired its [sc. the animal's] strength by [loading] stones upon it, [yet not wounding it], is he then not liable [for its loss in value]? — But [say thus]: Since nefesh, written in connection with an animal, is irrelevant there, for even if one impaired its strength by loading stones upon it he is liable, transfer Its teachings to man.11 Then what need is there of the analogy?12 For that which was taught in the school of Hezekiah.13 Now, this is well according to the view which accepts this teaching: but on the view that rejects it, why is the analogy required? [To teach:] just as one who smites an animal to heal it is not liable for any damage, so if one wounds a man [sc. his parent] to heal him he is not liable [for any damage that may ensue]. For the scholars propounded: May a son let blood for his father?14 — R. Mathna ruled: But thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.15 R. Dimi b. Hinena said: [The Writ saith,] And he that killeth a beast, he shall restore it: and he that killeth a man, he shall be put to death:16 just as one who strikes an animal to heal it is not liable for damage, so if one wounds a man [sc. his parent] to heal him he is not liable. Rab would not permit his son to extract a thorn [from his flesh, since in drawing it out he would make a slight wound]. Mar, the son of Rabina, would not permit his son to lance a fester for him, lest he wound him, thereby unintentionally transgressing a prohibition. If so, even a stranger should be forbidden?17 — In the case of a stranger, the unintentional transgression is in respect of a mere negative precept: but his son's involves strangulation. But what of that which we learnt: A small needle [lit. 'hand-needle'] may be moved [on the Sabbath] for the purpose of extracting a thorn?18 But should we then not fear that a wound might be made [in extracting it], and thus a prohibition involving stoning be unintentionally transgressed? — There by so doing he effects damage.19 Now, this agrees with the view that one who does damage on the Sabbath is not liable [to punishment]: but on the view that he is, what can you say? — Whom have you heard maintaining that one who inflicts damage by means of a wound is liable [for the desecration of the Sabbath]? R. Simeon;
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