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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin
then with respect to damages, wherein unwitting damage is treated as deliberate, and an accident as intention,1 surely he is liable for confining [the animal].
'R. Aha b. Rab ruled that he is not liable.' Said R. Mesharshia: Why does my grandfather2 rule him not liable? — Because of the verse, [Or in enmity he smite him with his hand, that he die:] He that smote him shall surely be put to death: for he is a murderer:3 only a murderer has the law made liable for confining, but not one who causes damage thereby.
Raba said: If one bound his neighbour and he died of starvation, he is not liable to execution. Raba also said: If he bound him in the sun, and he died, or in a place of intense cold and he died, he is liable; but if the sun was yet to appear, or the cold to make itself felt, he is not.4 Raba also said: If he bound him before a lion, he is not liable:5 before mosquitoes, [who stung him to death] he is. R. Ashi said: Even before mosquitoes, he is not liable, because these go and others come.6
It has been stated: If one overturned a vat upon a man [who then died of suffocation], or broke open a ceiling above him,7 — Raba and R. Zera [differ]: One ruled that he is liable, the other that he is not. It can be proved that it was Raba who ruled that he is not liable, for he said: If one bound his neighbour and he dies of starvation, he is not liable.8 On the contrary. it can be
shewn that R. Zera ruled that he is not liable. For R. Zera said: If one led his neighbour in to an alabaster chamber9 and lit a candle therein, so that he died [of the fumes]. he is liable. Now, the reason is only that he lit a candle that he is liable;10 but had he not lit a candle [and the prisoner died of the natural heat and lack of air], he would be exempt!11 — I will tell you: In that case, without a candle, the heat would not have commenced [its effects]
Sanhedrin 77bimmediately [he placed him therein];1 but in this case [of placing the upturned vat over him] the heat commences immediately.
(Mnemonic: Ladder, shield, balsam, in a wall.)
Raba said: If one thrust his neighbour into a pit, in which there was a ladder [so that he could have climbed out], and then another came and removed it, or even if himself hastened to remove it, he is not liable [for the victim's death], because when he threw him in he could have climbed out. Raba also said: If one shot an arrow at his neighbour, who was holding a shield, but another came and snatched it away, or even if he himself [the thrower] hastened to do so, he is not liable, because when he shot the arrow its force was spent.2
Raba also said: If one shot an arrow at his neighbour. who had balsam in his hand [wherewith he could have healed the wound], but another dashed it out of his hand, or even if he himself [the thrower] did so, he is not liable, because when he did it he could have been healed. R. Ashi said: Therefore this holds good even if there was balsam in the market.3 R. Aha the son of Raba asked R. Ashi: What if he came across the balsam by chance?4 — He replied: Behold, he has left Beth din a free man.5
Raba also said: If one threw a stone at a wall, which rebounded and killed his neighbour,6 he is liable. And a Tanna teaches [in support of this]: If murder is committed by a man playing, for example. with a ball,7 if intentional, the thrower is executed; if unintentional, he is sentenced to the refuge cities.8 'If unintentional, he is sentenced to the refuge cities:' but is that not obvious? — It is necessary to teach that if intentional, he is executed, [the second half being added to complete it]; for I might say, this is a case of 'a doubtful warning', for who knows that it will rebound?9 We are therefore taught otherwise.
R. Tahlifa of the West10 recited before R. Abbahu [the following]: If [unintentional] murder is committed by a man playing, for example, with a ball, if [the victim] was within four cubits [of the wall]. the thrower is exempt; if beyond four cubits, he is liable [to exile]. Rabina objected to R. Ashi: How is this? If he desired it [to rebound], he should be liable even for a short distance;11 whilst if not, he should be liable even for a greater distance? — He replied: The greater the rebound, the more is the average player pleased.12
the side of the utensil, whence it fell into the trough, it is unfit?15 — The reference here is to a dripping down.16
Come and hear! If an [unclean] needle was lying upon a shard, and the [purifying] water was sprinkled thereon, but it is doubtful whether upon the needle or upon the shard, and then it spurted [miza] upon the needle, the sprinkling is invalid.17 — R. Hinena b. R. Judah said in Rab's name: We have learnt, It was found [maza].18
R. Papa said: If one bound his neighbour and then caused a column of water to inundate him, it is as his arrows, and he is liable [for his death]. But that is only if [he was drowned] by his direct agency; but if through his indirect agency,19 he is merely regarded as a subsidiary cause.20
R. Papa also said: If one threw a stone upwards, and it returned
in a slanting direction and killed a man, he is liable. Mar son of R. Ashi asked R. Papa. Why so? Because it is by his agency! But if so it should go upwards;21
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