וקתני החובל בעצמו אע"פ שאינו רשאי פטור הכי קאמר ליה לא מבעיא בושת דאדם רשאי לבייש את עצמו אלא אפי' חבלה דאין אדם רשאי לחבל בעצמו אחרים שחבלו בו חייבין
and it teaches: With regard to one who injures himself, although it is not permitted for him to do so, he is nevertheless exempt from any sort of penalty, indicating that the prohibition is in effect even with regard to humiliation. The Gemara answers: This is what Rabbi Akiva said to the man: It is not necessary to say with regard to humiliation, where it is permitted for a person to humiliate himself, that someone else who humiliated him is liable. But even with regard to injury, where it is not permitted for a person to injure himself, others who injured him are liable.
ואין אדם רשאי לחבל בעצמו והתניא יכול נשבע להרע בעצמו ולא הרע יהא פטור ת"ל (ויקרא ה, ד) להרע או להטיב מה הטבה רשות אף הרעה רשות אביא נשבע להרע בעצמו ולא הרע
§ The Gemara discusses whether it is permitted to injure oneself. And is a person not permitted to injure himself? But isn’t it taught in a baraita: One might have thought that if one takes an oath to do evil to himself and did not do evil he will be exempt from bringing an offering for having transgressed this oath. Therefore, the verse states: “Or if anyone swear clearly with his lips to do evil or to do good” (Leviticus 5:4), which teaches that just as taking an oath to do good for which one is liable is referring to an optional activity, as opposed to taking an oath to perform a mitzva, so too, taking an oath to do evil is referring to an optional activity, as opposed to taking an oath to transgress. I can therefore include within the category of one who is liable if he transgressed his oath the person who takes an oath to do evil to himself and did not do evil. It is clear from this baraita that doing evil to oneself is permitted.
אמר שמואל באשב בתענית
The Gemara answers: Shmuel says: The ruling of the baraita is not referring to one who takes an oath to injure himself but is stated with regard to one who takes an oath stating: I will sit in observance of a fast, which it is permitted to do.
דכוותה גבי הרעת אחרים להשיבם בתענית אחרים מי מותיב להו בתעניתא
Earlier in this same baraita, it states that one who takes an oath to do evil to others is not liable for violating his oath if he does not do evil, as it is prohibited to do evil to others. If the baraita is referring to one who takes an oath to fast, then in the corresponding situation in the context of doing evil to others, the baraita must also then be referring to one who takes an oath to have others sit in observance of a fast. The Gemara asks: Can one compel others to sit in observance of a fast?
אין דמהדק להו באנדרונא
The Gemara answers: Yes; it is possible, as by preventing others from accessing food he can impose a fast on them, e.g., in a situation where he confined them in a room.
והתניא איזהו הרעת אחרים אכה פלוני ואפצע את מוחו
The Gemara questions the assertion that this is the case of the baraita: But isn’t it taught in a baraita: What is considered taking an oath to do evil to others? It is considered such if one takes an oath stating: I will strike so-and-so and I will injure his brain. Accordingly, in the corresponding situation of doing evil to oneself it is necessary to explain that the baraita is referring to causing injury as well, and the inference that this is permitted remains.
אלא תנאי היא דאיכא למ"ד אין אדם רשאי לחבל בעצמו ואיכא מ"ד אדם רשאי לחבל בעצמו
Rather, it must be that this is a dispute between tanna’im, as there is a tanna who says that it is not permitted for a person to injure himself, and there is a tanna who says that it is permitted for a person to injure himself.
מאן תנא דשמעת ליה דאמר אין אדם רשאי לחבל בעצמו אילימא האי תנא הוא דתניא (בראשית ט, ה) ואך את דמכם לנפשותיכם אדרש ר' אלעזר אומר מיד נפשותיכם אדרש את דמכם
The Gemara asks: Who is the tanna that you heard that says: It is not permitted for a person to injure himself? If we say that it is this tanna, as it is taught in a baraita: The verse states: “And surely your blood of your souls will I require” (Genesis 9:5), and Rabbi Elazar says: From the hand of your souls, i.e., from yourself, will I require your blood, meaning one is liable even for taking his own life, that is not a correct inference.
ודלמא קטלא שאני
But perhaps killing is different. While Rabbi Elazar holds that it is prohibited to take one’s own life, it cannot be inferred from here that he holds that one is liable for injuring himself.
אלא האי תנא הוא דתניא מקרעין על המת ולא מדרכי האמורי אמר רבי אלעזר שמעתי שהמקרע על המת יותר מדאי לוקה משום בל תשחית וכ"ש גופו
The Gemara suggests: Rather, it is the opinion of this tanna, as it is taught in a baraita: One may rend garments in anguish over one who died, and it is not considered of the ways of the Amorites, but a Jewish custom. Rabbi Elazar says: I heard that one who rends his garments excessively over one who died is flogged for having transgressed the prohibition of: Do not destroy (see Deuteronomy 20:19). The Gemara suggests: And all the more so it is the case that according to Rabbi Elazar one who injures his body in anguish transgresses this prohibition.
ודלמא בגדים שאני דפסידא דלא הדר הוא כי הא דרבי יוחנן קרי למאני מכבדותא ורב חסדא כד הוה מסגי ביני היזמי והגא מדלי להו למאניה אמר זה מעלה ארוכה וזה אינו מעלה ארוכה
The Gemara rejects this suggestion: But perhaps garments are different, in that tearing them is a loss that is irreversible, like that practice of Rabbi Yoḥanan, who would refer to his garments as: My honor, and like that practice of Rav Ḥisda, who, when he would walk among thorns and shrubs, would raise his clothing despite the fact that his skin would get scratched by the thorns. He said in explanation of his actions: This flesh will heal if scratched, but that garment will not heal if torn. Similarly, perhaps it is prohibited to rend one’s garments, but it is permitted to injure oneself.
אלא האי תנא הוא דתניא אמר ר"א הקפר ברבי מה ת"ל (במדבר ו, יא) וכפר עליו מאשר חטא על הנפש וכי באיזה נפש חטא זה אלא שציער עצמו מן היין והלא דברים ק"ו ומה זה שלא ציער עצמו אלא מן היין נקרא חוטא המצער עצמו מכל דבר על אחת כמה וכמה:
Rather, it is this tanna, as it is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Elazar HaKappar the Distinguished said: What is the meaning when the verse states with regard to a nazirite: “And he shall atone for him for sinning by the soul” (Numbers 6:11)? And with which soul did this person sin by becoming a nazirite? Rather, in that he afflicted himself by abstaining from wine he is considered to have sinned with his own soul, and he must bring a sin-offering for the naziriteship itself, for causing his body to suffer. And are these matters not inferred a fortiori: And just as this person who afflicted himself by abstaining only from wine is nevertheless called a sinner, one who afflicts himself by abstaining from everything, through fasting or other acts of mortification, all the more so is he described as a sinner? Consequently, Rabbi Elazar HaKappar holds that one may not harm himself in any manner.
הקוצץ נטיעותיו [וכו']: תני רבה בר בר חנה קמיה דרב שורי הרגת נטיעותי קצצת אתה אמרת לי להורגו אתה אמרת לי לקוצצו פטור א"ל א"כ לא שבקת חיי לברייתא כל כמיניה
§ The mishna teaches: One who cuts down his own saplings, although it is not permitted for him to do so, is exempt from payment. Nevertheless, others who cut down his saplings are liable. Rabba bar bar Ḥana taught the following baraita before Rav: If one charged another: You killed my ox, or: You cut down my saplings, and you are liable to pay for them, and the other responds: You told me to kill the ox, or: You told me to cut down the saplings, he is exempt from paying. Rav said to him: If that is so, you let no creature exist. Is it in his power to assert that because the other instructed him to cause damage he is exempt? With this claim, anyone who causes damage can exempt himself.
א"ל איסמייה א"ל לא תתרגם מתניתך בשור העומד להריגה ובאילן העומד לקציצה
Rabba bar bar Ḥana said to Rav: Shall I erase this baraita from the baraitot that I teach? Rav said to him: No, just interpret that your baraita is stated with regard to an ox that is ready to be killed, e.g., it had gored, and the owner decided to have it killed, and it is stated with regard to a tree that is ready to be cut down for whatever reason, e.g., it was worshipped as part of an idolatrous rite or it is situated in a manner that poses a danger to the public. In such a case there is reason to believe that he was in fact instructed to cut it down.
אי הכי מאי קא טעין ליה דא"ל אנא בעינא למיעבד הא מצוה
The Gemara asks: If that is so, that the owner of the ox or tree acknowledges that it would be killed or cut down in any event, what claim is he stating to him, as there was no loss resulting from the action of the other? The Gemara answers: The case is where he said to him: I desire to perform this mitzva of removing a danger or destroying idolatry by myself, and therefore I am demanding payment from you for having prevented me from doing so.
דתניא (ויקרא יז, יג) ושפך וכסה מי ששפך יכסה ומעשה באחד ששחט וקדם חבירו וכסה וחייבו ר"ג ליתן לו עשרה זהובים:
This is as it is taught in a baraita: The verse states with regard to one who slaughters an undomesticated animal or a bird: “He shall pour out the blood thereof, and he shall cover it with dust” (Leviticus 17:13). This teaches that the one who poured the blood, i.e., the one who slaughtered, shall cover the blood. An incident occurred involving one who slaughtered an undomesticated animal or bird, and another preempted him and covered the blood, and Rabban Gamliel deemed him liable to give ten golden coins to the one who slaughtered the animal, as he prevented him from performing the mitzva.
אמר רב דיקלא דטען קבא אסור למקצציה
§ In connection with the prohibition against cutting down trees the Gemara notes: Rav said with regard to a palm tree that still produces fruit in the amount of a kav, that it is prohibited to cut it down due to the prohibition of: “When you shall besiege a city…you shall not destroy the trees” (Deuteronomy 20:19).
מיתיבי כמה יהא בזית ולא יקצצו רובע שאני זיתים דחשיבי
The Gemara raises an objection to the statement of Rav from what was taught in a mishna (Shevi’it 4:10): How much fruit must be on an olive tree so that one may not cut it down? A quarter-kav. Why did Rav say that it must produce a full kav? The Gemara answers: Olive trees are different, since they are significant. Therefore, even a quarter-kav is valuable.
א"ר חנינא לא שכיב שיבחת ברי אלא דקץ תאינתא בלא זמנה אמר רבינא ואם היה מעולה בדמים מותר
Rabbi Ḥanina said: My son Shivḥat did not die for any reason other than that he cut down a fig tree before its time. Ravina says: But if the lumber was greater in monetary value than its fruits, it is permitted to chop it down, and this does not violate the prohibition against destroying a tree.
תניא נמי הכי (דברים כ, כ) רק עץ אשר תדע זה אילן מאכל כי לא עץ מאכל הוא זה אילן סרק
This halakha is also taught in a baraita. The verse states: “Only the trees of which you know that they are not trees for food, them you may destroy and cut down” (Deuteronomy 20:20). “Only the trees of which you know”; this is referring to a tree that bears fruit used for food, and it is permitted to cut down this type of tree under certain circumstances. “That they are not trees for food”; this is referring to a barren tree.
וכי מאחר שסופו לרבות כל דבר מה ת"ל כי לא עץ מאכל להקדים סרק למאכל
The Gemara asks: And since the baraita will ultimately include all types of trees, so that even a tree that produces fruit may be cut down, what, then, is the meaning when the verse states: “That they are not trees for food,” which indicates that it is permitted to cut down only a barren tree? The Gemara answers: It is to give precedence to cutting down a barren tree over a tree whose fruit is used for food.