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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin

Folio 112a

This is a difficulty.1

The scholars propounded: What if they were self-seduced? Since Scripture writes [Certain men …] have seduced the inhabitants etc. It implies, but not if they were self-seduced; or perhaps, [the law holds good] even if they were self-seduced?2  — Come and hear: IF WOMEN OR MINORS SEDUCED IT [… THEY ARE TREATED AS INDIVIDUALS]: but why so? Should it not be [at least] as though they were self-seduced?3  — [No.] The latter are enticed through their own desires, whilst the former are influenced by women and minors.4

UNLESS THE MAJORITY THEREOF ARE SEDUCED. How is this encompassed?5  R. Judah said: We judge and imprison, judge and imprison.6  Said 'Ulla to him: Then thou delayest the judgment of these.7  But 'Ulla said thus: We judge and stone them, and judge and stone.8

It has been stated: R. Johanan maintained: We judge and stone them, judge and stone them. Resh Lakish ruled: Many courts of law are set up.9  But that is not so, For did not R. Hama, son of R. Jose, say in R. Oshaia's name: Then thou shalt bring forth that man or that woman… unto thy gates:10  [this teaches,] a man or a woman thou mayest bring forth to thy gates, but not a whole city?11  — But many lawcourts are set up and the indictments examined [but no verdicts pronounced]; then the accused are taken to the great Beth din, their trials completed, and they are executed.

THOU SHALT SURELY SMITE THE INHABITANTS OF THAT CITY etc. Our Rabbis taught: If a company of ass-drivers or camel-drivers passing from place to place lodges therein and were seduced together with it: if they had stayed there thirty days, they are decapitated and their possessions destroyed;12  if less, they are stoned, but their possessions unharmed.13

An objection was raised: 'How long must [a stranger] stay in a town, that he may be as its citizen?14  Twelve months'? — Raba answered: There is no difficulty. The latter [period is necessary] for one to be a full citizen; the former, to be regarded a town resident.15  And it has been taught likewise: He who forswears benefit from the citizens of a town is forbidden to benefit from any one who has tarried twelve months therein, but if less he is permitted. [If he forswears benefit from] the residents of a town, he may not benefit from any one who has tarried there thirty days, but if less, he is permitted.

DESTROYING IT UTTERLY, AND ALL THAT IS THEREIN etc.16  Our Rabbis taught: Destroying it utterly, and all that is therein:17  this excludes the property of righteous men without the city. 'And all that is therein:' this includes the property of righteous men within it. 'The spoil of it' [teaches], but not the spoil of Heaven.18  'And all the spoil of it', teaches that the property of the wicked without the city is included.

R. Simeon said: Why did the Torah ordain that the property of the righteous within the city shall be destroyed? What caused them to dwell therein? Their wealth.19  Therefore their wealth is destroyed.

The Master said: And all the spoil of it thou shalt gather includes the property of the wicked without it. R. Hisda observed: But only if it can be gathered thereinto.20

R. Hisda said: Entrusted objects of the inhabitants of a doomed city are permitted. How so? Shall we say, Those belonging to another city and now within it?21  Is it then not obvious that they are permitted, not being 'the spoil thereof'? If, again, the reference is to their own objects placed in another city: in this case, if they can be gathered thereinto,22  why are they permitted? Whilst if they cannot be gathered, then surely he has already stated this once! — No. After all, it refers to objects of another city placed in this one. But the circumstances are that [the person to whom they were entrusted] accepted responsibility for them.23  I might think, since he accepted responsibility, they are as his;24  therefore, he teaches [otherwise].

R. Hisda said: An animal, the property partly of a condemned city and partly of another, is forbidden [entirely]; dough, belonging partly to a condemned city and partly to another, is permitted. Why so? Because an animal is as undivided,25  whilst dough is as though [already] divided.

R. Hisda propounded: An animal of a condemned city — does shechita26  avail to purify it from [the uncleanliness of] nebelah:27  the Divine Law said, [Thou shalt surely smite … the cattle thereof] with the edge of the sword: hence it is all alike, whether slaughtered [ritually] or killed;28  or perhaps, having been ritually slaughtered, the shechita is efficacious [to permit it]. What is the law? [This problem is] to stand over.

R. Joseph29  propounded: What of the hair of the righteous. women [within the condemned city]?30  Raba asked: This implies that the hair of the wicked women is forbidden!31  [Surely] Scripture writes, Thou shalt gather … and thou shalt burn, denoting, that which only lacks gathering and burning [is forbidden for general use, yet must be thus destroyed;] excluding this, which needs cutting off, gathering and burning?32  — But, said Raba, the problem refers to a wig. How so? If it is fastened to herself it is as herself?33  — It is necessary [to propound this] only if it is hanging on a nail [i.e., not being worn]: is it as other property of the righteous within the town, and destroyed; or perhaps, since it is donned and doffed, it is as her garments? [The problem is] to stand over.

AND THOU SHALT GATHER ALL THE SPOIL OF IT INTO THE MIDST OF THE PUBLIC SQUARE THEREOF etc. Our Rabbis taught: If it has no public square, it cannot become a condemned city: this is R. Ishmael's view. R. Akiba said: If it has no public square, a public square is made for it. Wherein do they differ? — The one maintains that 'the public square thereof' implies, that which was originally [before sentence] so; whilst the other holds that 'the public square thereof' implies even if it has [only] now become one.

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Though not actually refuting Resh Lakish, the Biblical expression 'nine out of the two' is difficult.
  2. The Bible merely stating a general truth, that people are usually enticed to idolatry by others, but not making this an integral condition of the law.
  3. Thus proving that self-seduction is insufficient.
  4. When they are drawn to idolatry by their own wish, their desire for it must be very strong; consequently, the place is treated as a seduced city. But if enticed by women or minors, their adherence thereto is weaker, and hence the law does not apply. — This distinction is merely stated as a possibility, not a certainty.
  5. Since each individual's offence must be attested by two witnesses and preceded by a formal warning, how is it possible for a whole town to be treated so simultaneously?
  6. If a few are observed practising idolatry, they are tried and sentenced; but instead of being executed, they are imprisoned. Then others are similarly treated, and the process is repeated until a majority have thus been sentenced. Then they are all tried together, and the place declared a condemned city.
  7. Which is forbidden.
  8. I.e., every few caught practising idolatry are stoned, as idolaters. But when half of a town have thus been executed, and there are still more, the place is declared a condemned city, and the rest are decapitated.
  9. That all may be judged simultaneously, and the provisions of a condemned city applied.
  10. Deut. XVII, 5.
  11. I.e., only individuals are tried by the local Beth din, but a community can be tried only by the great Sanhedrin of 71; how then can many courts of law be set up?
  12. As the inhabitants of the condemned city, wherein they are included after a stay of thirty days.
  13. As is the case of individuals.
  14. To share in their general liabilities in respect of town maintenance; v. B.B. 7b.
  15. And since in the case of a seduced city the condemnation extends to 'the inhabitants', a period of thirty days suffices.
  16. Ibid.
  17. The Wilna Gaon deletes 'and all that is therein'.
  18. V. Mishnah on 111b.
  19. Only for the sake of wealth would the righteous live in such a wicked town.
  20. Only if it is so near that it can be brought into the doomed city on the same day that everything else is carried into the public square, but not if it is more than a day's journey distant (Rashi).
  21. I.e., the doomed city, the articles having been entrusted to its inhabitants.
  22. V. n. 3.
  23. For damage etc.
  24. Cf. p. 773, n. 5.
  25. For to obtain even the smallest part of it, the whole must be slaughtered.
  26. Ritual slaughtering according to the Jewish law.
  27. V. Glos: the problem is, if slaughtered ritually, is it 'purified.' i.e., permitted?
  28. l.e., however it comes to its death the animal is forbidden, being regarded as though slain by the edge of the sword!
  29. This passage is cited in 'Ar. 7b with the reading R. Jose son of R. Hanina.
  30. Is it permitted or forbidden for use?
  31. If cut off before execution.
  32. I.e., it is not ready for immediate burning, but must first be cut off. Such is not forbidden.
  33. And regarded as personal wear, which are not destroyed in the case of the righteous.

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Sanhedrin 112b

THE HOLY OBJECTS THEREIN MUST BE REDEEMED etc. Our Rabbis taught: If there were holy objects therein, that which is dedicated to the altar [i.e., for sacrifices] must die; to the Temple repair, must be redeemed; terumoth must be allowed to rot, and the second tithe and sacred Writings hidden. R. Simeon said: 'The cattle thereof,' — but not firstlings or tithes.1  'The spoil thereof,' excludes sacred money and tithe money.2

The Master said: 'If there were holy objects therein, that which is dedicated to the altar must die.' But why should they die? Let them graze until unfit [for sacrifice], then be sold,3  and the money utilised for a free-will offering! — R. Johanan answered, The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination.4  Resh Lakish said: It is the property of its owner, the reference here being to dedicated animals for which the owner is responsible [if lost or injured], and [the ruling] according to R. Simeon, who maintained that such is the owner's property.5  But since the second clause is R. Simeon's, it follows that the first is not? — [Say, then,] the reference is to sacrifices of lower sanctity, and it agrees with R. Jose the Galilean, who maintained that such are the property of their owners. But what of sacrifices of the highest sanctity? Are they to be redeemed! [If so,] the second clause, instead of teaching that that which is dedicated to the Temple repair must be redeemed, should have drawn and taught a distinction in that very matter [viz., animals dedicated to the altar]. [Thus:] This law [that the animals must die] holds good only of sacrifices of lower sanctity, but sacrifices of the highest sanctity are to be redeemed? — Since there is the sin-offering [among the latter], which, if its owner die, must perish, this cannot be stated as a general rule.6

Now it is intelligible that R. Johanan did not answer as Resh Lakish, since it is written, 'The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination'7  but why did Resh Lakish not answer as R. Johanan? — He can reply to you: When do we say, 'The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination'? When they are in their original state; but these, since their state is changed [if the animal is redeemed], are changed.8

'R. Simeon said: The cattle thereof implies, but not the firstlings or tithes.' To what does this refer? Shall we say, to unblemished animals? Then they are the 'spoil of Heaven'!9  But if blemished, they are 'the spoil of it'?10  — Rabina answered: In truth, the reference is to blemished animals. But [only] that which is eaten as 'the cattle thereof' [is destroyed], excluding these, which are eaten not as 'the cattle thereof' but as firstlings and tithes,11  and are thus considered 'spoil of Heaven'.12

Now this [Rabina's answer] conflicts with Samuel's. For Samuel said [in explanation of the same difficulty]: Everything can be sacrificed, and everything can be redeemed. Now, what does this mean? — It means this: That which is sacrificed if unblemished, and redeemed when blemished,13  is excluded by 'the spoil of it';14  but that which is offered up if unblemished, but not redeemed when blemished, e.g., the firstling and the tithe, is excluded by 'and the cattle thereof'.15

THE TERUMOTH MUST BE ALLOWED TO ROT. R. Hisda said: This applies only to terumah in the hands of an Israelite;16  but if in the hands of the priest, being his property, it must be burnt. R. Joseph objected: THE SECOND TITHE AND THE SACRED WRITINGS MUST BE HIDDEN. Now, the second tithe in the hands of an Israelite is as terumah in the hand of the priest,17  yet it teaches, THEY MUST BE HIDDEN, [but not burnt]. But if it [R. Hisda's dictum] was stated, it was thus stated: R. Hisda said: This applies only to terumah in the hand of the priest;18  but terumah in the hand of an Israelite must be given to a priest of another city.

We learnt19  elsewhere: 'Dough of the second tithe is exempt from hallah:20  this is R. Meir's view. But the Sages hold it liable.' R. Hisda said: This refers only to the second tithe in Jerusalem, R. Meir maintaining that the second tithe is sacred property,21  whilst the Rabbis regard the second tithe as secular property. But in the provinces,22  all agree that it is exempt.23

R. Joseph objected: THE SECOND TITHE AND SACRED WRITINGS MUST BE HIDDEN. To what does this refer? Shall we say to Jerusalem?24  But can it become a condemned city? Has it not been taught, 'Ten things were said concerning Jerusalem, and this is one of them, [viz.,] it cannot become a condemned city.'25  But if it [the second tithe] was of another city, and was brought up thither [to Jerusalem],26  surely its barriers have received it.27  Hence it must surely refer to the provinces, yet it is stated, THEY MUST BE HIDDEN?28  — No. In truth, it is of another city and brought thither [to Jerusalem]; but we deal with a case where it became defiled.29  Then should it not be redeemed? For R. Eleazar said: Whence do we know that if the second tithe became defiled it can be redeemed even in Jerusalem? From the verse, When thou art not able to bear it [then thou shalt turn it into money].30  Now se'eth31  can only refer to eating, as … And he took and sent mase'oth32  [messes] unto them from before him?33  — We deal with purchased [commodities].34

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Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Which were of a sacred character, the flesh being eaten by the owners, and the blood and fat offered on the altar.
  2. I.e., the money for which sacred objects and tithes were redeemed.
  3. Because an animal dedicated to the altar may not be redeemed as long as it is fit to be sacrificed.
  4. Prov. XXI, 27; and even the money received for its redemption is abhorrent for sacrifice.
  5. When a person vows, dedicating a particular animal for a sacrifice, which is subsequently lost or destroyed, he is not bound to replace it, it being regarded from the moment of the dedication as sacred property, not his own, and he has no further obligation in respect of it. But if he vows to bring a sacrifice, and then dedicates an animal for the purpose, he is bound to replace it if subsequently lost or destroyed, since his vow did not specify that particular animal. R. Simeon maintains that since he must bear the responsibility for it, it is regarded as his own property. Consequently, if in a condemned city, it must be destroyed, like all other secular possessions therein.
  6. If the owner of any sacrifice of the highest sanctity, excepting the sin-offering, dies, the animal is put to pasture until it receives a blemish, when it is redeemed. But if a sin-offering, it is slain (not as a sacrifice). In the case under discussion, the owners are executed: consequently, it cannot be stated as a general rule that sacrifices of the highest sanctity must be redeemed, and therefore the second clause speaks of animals dedicated to the Temple repair instead.
  7. Which is quite a sufficient answer.
  8. And the verse is inapplicable; hence another answer must be sought.
  9. Since the blood and fat must be offered on the altar; hence their exclusion is deduced from 'and the spoil of it', as stated above.
  10. Being blemished, their blood and fat are not offered upon the altar. Consequently they belong entirely to their owners, and should be destroyed, being included in 'the spoil of it'.
  11. Notwithstanding that their blood and fat are not offered upon the altar, when their owners eat them they do not regard them as ordinary animals, such as could be denominated 'the cattle thereof', but as firstlings and tithes.
  12. [MSS, delete 'and … Heaven'.]
  13. Viz., all sacrifices of lower sanctity, excepting firstlings and tithes.
  14. Thus in his opinion, he disagrees with the view of the first Tanna, who maintains that such sacrifices are destroyed, as they are their owners 'property.
  15. [Even if unblemished, they are not considered as 'spoil of Heaven', which is not in agreement with Rabina.]
  16. I.e., before it was given to the priest. Since it does not belong to the Israelite, and he might have given it to the priest of some other town, it is regarded as property merely entrusted to an inhabitant of this town, and therefore not destroyed. On the other hand, since he may have intended to give it to a priest of the same town, it may not be eaten. Hence it is left to rot.
  17. Since both belong to their possessor.
  18. Which, being his own property must be destroyed, though not burnt, on account of its sanctity.
  19. This is the formula introducing a Mishnah. But the passage cited is a Baraitha, and [H] 'we learnt', is probably an error for [H], 'it has been taught'.
  20. [H], the first portion of the dough. V. Num. XV, 20.
  21. Whereas only secular food is liable to hallah. Cf. Ye shall offer up a cake of the first of your dough for an heave offering. (Num. XV, 20), thus excluding sacred dough, which belongs to Heaven.
  22. A technical term for the whole of Palestine as opposed to Jerusalem.
  23. Since the owner may not eat it there, it is certainly sacred property.
  24. Which became a condemned city.
  25. V. B.M. 82b.
  26. [Before the city was seduced.]
  27. I.e., once within Jerusalem, the law of that town applies to it, and therefore, since it cannot become a condemned city, it should be permitted even for food.
  28. Thus proving that the second tithe in the provinces is treated as secular property.
  29. In which case it may not be eaten; consequently it must be hidden.
  30. Deut. XIV, 25.
  31. [H] (E.V. 'to bear').
  32. [H].
  33. Gen. XLIII, 34. Thus he translates the first verse: If thou art not able to eat it — being defiled — then thou shalt turn it into money — i.e., redeem it.
  34. The original second tithe having been redeemed, the money was expended upon commodities, which in turn became defiled. At this stage it assumed that only the original second tithe can be redeemed if defiled, but not that purchased with the redemption money.

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