Ketubot 105bכתובות ק״ה ב
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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105bק״ה ב

אפילו צדיק גמור ולוקח שוחד אינו נפטר מן העולם בלא טירוף דעת

even if he is completely righteous but he took a bribe, he will not leave this world without becoming demented.

כי אתא רב דימי אמר דרש רב נחמן בר כהן מאי דכתיב (משלי כט, ד) מלך במשפט יעמיד ארץ ואיש תרומות יהרסנה אם דומה דיין למלך שאינו צריך לכלום יעמיד ארץ ואם דומה לכהן שמחזר על הגרנות יהרסנה

When Rav Dimi came from Eretz Yisrael to Babylonia, he said that Rav Naḥman bar Kohen interpreted a verse homiletically as follows. What is the meaning of that which is written: “The king by justice establishes the land, but he who exacts gifts [terumot] overthrows it” (Proverbs 29:4)? If a judge is like a king, in that he does not need anything and is not dependent on anyone, he establishes the land, i.e., he can serve as a judge. But if he is like a priest, who seeks out his terumot from various granaries, as he is dependent on others, he overthrows the land.

אמר רבה בר רב שילא האי דיינא דשאיל שאילתא פסול למידן דינא ולא אמרן אלא דלית ליה לאושולי אבל אית ליה לאושולי לית לן בה

§ Rabba bar Rav Sheila said: This judge who borrows items from others is disqualified from rendering judgment because it is as though he accepts a salary. And we said this only in a case where he does not have articles to lend out to others but is constantly borrowing without lending objects in turn. However, if he has items to lend out to others, we have no problem with it.

איני והא רבא שאיל שאילתא מדבי בר מריון אע"ג דלא שיילי מיניה התם לאחשובינהו הוא דבעי

The Gemara asks: Is that so? But Rava would borrow items from the house of bar Maryon even though they would not borrow from him. The Gemara answers: There, he wanted to cause them to be considered more important in the community. Rava was very wealthy and did not need to borrow for his own benefit. On the contrary, by borrowing from the house of bar Maryon he raised their standing in the community.

אמר רבא מאי טעמא דשוחדא כיון דקביל ליה שוחדא מיניה איקרבא ליה דעתיה לגביה והוי כגופיה ואין אדם רואה חובה לעצמו מאי שוחד שהוא חד א"ר פפא לא לידון איניש דינא למאן דרחים ליה ולא למאן דסני ליה דרחים ליה לא חזי ליה חובה דסני ליה לא חזי ליה זכותא

Rava said: What is the reason for the prohibition against taking a bribe? Once a judge accepts a bribe from one party, his thoughts draw closer to him and he becomes like his own self, and a person does not find fault in himself. The Gemara notes that the term itself alludes to this idea: What is the meaning of shoḥad, bribe? It can be read as: Shehu ḥad, as he is one, i.e., at one mind with the litigant. Rav Pappa said: A person should not judge a case involving one whom he loves, nor involving one whom he hates. He should not judge one whom he loves, as he will not find any fault in him, while with regard to one whom he hates, he will not find any merit in him.

אמר אביי האי צורבא מרבנן דמרחמין ליה בני מתא לאו משום דמעלי טפי אלא משום דלא מוכח להו במילי דשמיא

Abaye said: With regard to this Torah scholar who is beloved by the residents of his town, it is not because he is a superior Sage than others; rather, it is because he does not reprove them in Heavenly matters. He is beloved because he is not strict with them with regard to the observance of mitzvot.

אמר רבא מריש הוה אמינא הני בני מחוזא כולהו רחמו לי כיון דהואי דיינא אמינא מינייהו סנו לי ומינייהו רחמו לי כיון דחזאי דמאן דמיחייב ליה האידנא קא זכי למחר אמינא אם מרחם כולהו רחמו לי אי מסנו כולהו סנו לי

Rava said: At first I would say that all these residents of Meḥoza love me; however, once I became a judge I said that some of them hate me and some of them love me, as I assumed that their feelings toward me depended on the success of their case. When I saw that the one I declared guilty today would be found innocent the following day, I realized that my rulings do not determine their attitudes, and therefore I said: If they love, then they all love me, and if they hate, then they all hate me, regardless of what happens in the courtroom.

ת"ר (שמות כג, ח) ושוחד לא תקח אינו צריך לומר שוחד ממון אלא אפילו שוחד דברים נמי אסור מדלא כתיב בצע לא תקח היכי דמי שוחד דברים

§ The Sages taught: “And you shall take no bribe” (Exodus 23:8). It is not necessary to say that this includes bribery by means of money; however, even verbal bribery, assisting by means of speech, is also prohibited. The halakha that a bribe is not necessarily monetary is derived from the fact that it is not written: And you shall take no profit. The Gemara asks: What are the circumstances of bribing with words?

כי הא דשמואל הוה עבר במברא אתא ההוא גברא יהיב ליה ידיה אמר ליה מאי עבידתיך אמר ליה דינא אית לי א"ל פסילנא לך לדינא

The Gemara explains: This can be demonstrated by that episode involving Shmuel, who was once crossing a river on a narrow ferry. A certain man came along and gave him a hand to help him out of the ferryboat. Shmuel said to him: What are you doing in this place? The man said to him: I have a case to present before you for judgment. Shmuel said to him: I am disqualified from presiding over your case, as you did me a favor. Although no money changed hands, a bond was formed between the pair.

אמימר הוה יתיב וקא דאין דינא פרח גדפא ארישיה אתא ההוא גברא שקליה א"ל מאי עבידתיך א"ל דינא אית לי אמר ליה פסילנא לך לדינא מר עוקבא הוה שדי רוקא קמיה אתא ההוא גברא כסייה א"ל מאי עבידתיך א"ל דינא אית לי א"ל פסילנא לך לדינא

The Gemara relates a similar story. Ameimar was sitting and judging a case when a feather floated and landed on his head. A certain man came by and removed it from his head. Ameimar said to him: What are you doing here? He said to him: I have a case to present before you. Ameimar said to him: I am disqualified from presiding over your case, due to the favor you performed for me. The Gemara likewise relates: There was spittle lying before Mar Ukva. A certain man came by and covered it. He said to him: What are you doing here? He said to him: I have a case to present before you. Mar Ukva said to him: I am disqualified from presiding over your case.

ר' ישמעאל בר' יוסי הוה רגיל אריסיה דהוה מייתי ליה כל מעלי שבתא כנתא דפירי יומא חד אייתי ליה בה' בשבתא א"ל מאי שנא האידנא א"ל דינא אית לי ואמינא אגב אורחי אייתי ליה למר לא קביל מיניה א"ל פסילנא לך לדינא

The Gemara cites another incident. The sharecropper of Rabbi Yishmael, son of Rabbi Yosei, was accustomed to bringing him a basket [kanta] full of fruits every Shabbat eve. One day, he brought him the basket on a Thursday. Rabbi Yishmael said to him: What is different that you came early now, this week? The sharecropper said to him: I have a case to present before you, and I said to myself that along my way I will bring to the Master the basket of fruits, as in any case I am coming on Thursday, the day the courts are in session. Rabbi Yishmael did not accept the basket of fruits from him, and he said to him: I am disqualified from presiding over your case.

אותיב זוזא דרבנן וקדיינין ליה בהדי דקאזיל ואתי אמר אי בעי טעין הכי ואי בעי טעין הכי אמר תיפח נפשם של מקבלי שוחד ומה אני שלא נטלתי ואם נטלתי שלי נטלתי כך מקבלי שוחד על אחת כמה וכמה:

Rabbi Yishmael seated a pair of rabbinic scholars and they judged the sharecropper’s case. As Rabbi Yishmael was coming and going, he said to himself: If he wants, he could claim this, and if he wants, he could claim that, i.e., he kept thinking of all the ways in which the litigant who brought him the fruits could win his case. He said to himself: Blast the souls of those who accept bribes. If I, who did not accept anything, and if I had accepted, I would have accepted my own property, as it is my sharecropper and the fruits legally belong to me, am nevertheless in this state of mind due to the proposed gift, all the more so are those who actually accept bribes inevitably biased in favor of the one who bribed them.

ר' ישמעאל בר אלישע אייתי ליה ההוא גברא ראשית הגז אמר ליה מהיכא את א"ל מדוך פלן ומהתם להכא לא הוה כהן למיתבא ליה א"ל דינא אית לי ואמינא אגב אורחאי אייתי ליה למר א"ל פסילנא לך לדינא לא קביל מיניה

The Gemara likewise relates with regard to Rabbi Yishmael bar Elisha, who was a priest, that a certain man once brought him the first shearing. Rabbi Yishmael said to him: From where are you? The man said to him: I am from such and such a place. Rabbi Yishmael said to him: And from there to here was there no priest to whom you could give the first shearing? He said to him: I have a case to present before you, and I said to myself that along my way I will bring to the Master the first shearing. Rabbi Yishmael said to him: I am disqualified from presiding over your case, and he would not accept the first shearing from him.

אותיב ליה זוגא דרבנן וקדייני ליה בהדי דקאזיל ואתי אמר אי בעי טעין הכי ואי בעי טעין הכי אמר תיפח נפשם של מקבלי שוחד ומה אני שלא נטלתי ואם נטלתי שלי נטלתי כך מקבלי שוחד על אחת כמה וכמה:

Rabbi Yishmael bar Elisha seated a pair of rabbinic scholars and they judged his case. As Rabbi Yishmael was coming and going, he said to himself: If he wants, he could claim this, and if he wants, he could claim that. He said to himself: Blast the souls of those who accept bribes. If I, who did not accept anything, and if I had accepted, I would have accepted my own property, as I am a priest and am entitled to receive the first shearing, am nevertheless in this state of mind, all the more so are those who accept bribes.

רב ענן אייתי ליה ההוא גברא כנתא דגילדני דבי גילי א"ל מאי עבידתיך א"ל דינא אית לי לא קביל מיניה א"ל פסילנא לך לדינא

The Gemara relates: There was a certain man who once brought to Rav Anan a basket of small fish [gildanei devei gilei]. He said to him: What are you doing here? The man said to him: I have a case to present before you. Rav Anan would not accept the basket from him, and he said to him: I am disqualified from presiding over your case, due to your actions.

אמר ליה דינא דמר לא בעינא קבולי לקביל מר דלא למנען מר מאקרובי בכורים דתניא (מלכים ב ד, מב) ואיש בא מבעל שלישה ויבא לאיש האלהים לחם בכורים עשרים לחם שעורים וכרמל בצקלונו וכי אלישע אוכל בכורים הוה אלא לומר לך כל המביא דורון לתלמיד חכם כאילו מקריב בכורים

The man said to him: I do not need the Master’s judgment. However, let the Master accept my gift anyway, so that the Master does not prevent me from presenting first fruits. What does the mitzva of first fruits have to with this situation? As it is taught in a baraita: “And there came a man came from Ba’al Shalisha, and he brought the man of God bread of the first fruits, twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of corn in his sack” (II Kings 4:42). But did Elisha, the recipient of these gifts, eat first fruits? After all, he was not a priest. Rather, this verse comes to tell you: Whoever brings a gift to a Torah scholar, it is as though he has presented first fruits. This visitor to Rav Anan wished to fulfill this mitzva.

אמר ליה קבולי לא בעינן דאיקביל השתא דאמרת לי טעמא מקבילנא שדריה לקמיה דרב נחמן שלח ליה נידייניה מר להאי גברא דאנא ענן פסילנא ליה לדינא אמר מדשלח לי הכי שמע מינה קריביה הוא הוה קאים דינא דיתמי קמיה אמר

Rav Anan said to him: I do not want to take it from you, but now that you have explained to me the reason that you wish to give it to me I will accept it from you. Rav Anan sent the man to Rav Naḥman, and he also sent him a letter: Let the Master judge this man’s case because I, Anan, am disqualified from judging his cases. Rav Naḥman said to himself: From the fact that he sent me this letter, I can conclude from here that the reason he is disqualified from judging the case is because he is his relative. At that time, a case involving orphans was being heard before Rav Naḥman. He said: