Mishnah Horayot
1א׳
1 א

הוֹרוּ בֵית דִּין לַעֲבֹר עַל אַחַת מִכָּל מִצְוֹת הָאֲמוּרוֹת בַּתּוֹרָה, וְהָלַךְ הַיָּחִיד וְעָשָׂה שׁוֹגֵג עַל פִּיהֶם, בֵּין שֶׁעָשׂוּ וְעָשָׂה עִמָּהֶן, בֵּין שֶׁעָשׂוּ וְעָשָׂה אַחֲרֵיהֶן, בֵּין שֶׁלֹּא עָשׂוּ וְעָשָׂה, פָּטוּר, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁתָּלָה בְבֵית דִּין. הוֹרוּ בֵית דִּין וְיָדַע אֶחָד מֵהֶן שֶׁטָּעוּ, אוֹ תַלְמִיד וְהוּא רָאוּי לְהוֹרָאָה, וְהָלַךְ וְעָשָׂה עַל פִּיהֶן, בֵּין שֶׁעָשׂוּ וְעָשָׂה עִמָּהֶן, בֵּין שֶׁעָשׂוּ וְעָשָׂה אַחֲרֵיהֶן, בֵּין שֶׁלֹּא עָשׂוּ וְעָשָׂה, הֲרֵי זֶה חַיָּב, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁלֹּא תָלָה בְּבֵית דִּין. זֶה הַכְּלָל, הַתּוֹלֶה בְעַצְמוֹ, חַיָּב. וְהַתּוֹלֶה בְּבֵית דִּין, פָּטוּר:

If a court erroneously issued a ruling permitting the Jewish people to violate one of all the mitzvot that are stated in the Torah, and an individual proceeded and performed that transgression unwittingly on the basis of the court’s ruling, then whether the judges performed the transgression and he performed it with them, or whether the judges performed the transgression and he performed it after them, or whether the judges did not perform the transgression and he performed it alone, in all these cases the individual is exempt from bringing an offering. This is due to the fact that he associated his action with the ruling of the court. If the court issued a ruling and one of the judges knew that they erred, despite the fact that the majority ruled against his opinion, or if he was a student and he was qualified to issue halakhic rulings, and that judge or student proceeded and performed that transgression on the basis of its ruling, then whether the judges performed the transgression and he performed it with them, or whether the judges performed the transgression and he performed it after them, or whether the judges did not perform the transgression and he performed it alone, in all these cases, the judge or the student is liable to bring an offering. This is due to the fact that he did not associate his action with the ruling of the court. This is the principle: One who associates his action with himself is liable, and one who associates his action with the ruling of the court is exempt.

2 ב

הוֹרוּ בֵית דִּין, וְיָדְעוּ שֶׁטָּעוּ, וְחָזְרוּ בָהֶן, בֵּין שֶׁהֵבִיאוּ כַפָּרָתָן וּבֵין שֶׁלֹּא הֵבִיאוּ כַפָּרָתָן, וְהָלַךְ וְעָשָׂה עַל פִּיהֶן, רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן פּוֹטֵר, וְרַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר אוֹמֵר, סָפֵק. אֵיזֶהוּ סָפֵק. יָשַׁב לוֹ בְתוֹךְ בֵּיתוֹ, חַיָּב. הָלַךְ לוֹ לִמְדִינַת הַיָּם, פָּטוּר. אָמַר רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא, מוֹדֶה אֲנִי בָזֶה שֶׁהוּא קָרוֹב לִפְטוּר מִן הַחוֹבָה. אָמַר לוֹ בֶן עַזַּאי, מַה שָּׁנָה זֶה מִן הַיּוֹשֵׁב בְּבֵיתוֹ, שֶׁהַיּוֹשֵׁב בְּבֵיתוֹ אֶפְשָׁר הָיָה לוֹ שֶׁיִּשְׁמַע, וְזֶה לֹא הָיָה אֶפְשָׁר לוֹ שֶׁיִּשְׁמָע:

In a case where the judges of the court issued an erroneous ruling and they discovered that they erred and reversed their decision, whether they brought their atonement offering for their erroneous ruling or whether they did not bring their atonement offering, and an individual who was unaware of the new ruling proceeded and performed a transgression on the basis of their first ruling, Rabbi Shimon deems him exempt from bringing an offering, and Rabbi Elazar says: There is uncertainty with regard to his status and he is liable to bring a provisional guilt-offering. Which is the case of uncertainty for which one is liable to bring a provisional guilt-offering? If one sat inside his house and performed the transgression he is liable to bring a provisional guilt-offering, as he could have learned of the change in the court’s ruling. If he went to a country overseas and is relying on the initial ruling, he is exempt. Rabbi Akiva said: I concede in that case of one who went overseas that he is closer to exemption than he is to liability. Ben Azzai said to him: In what way is this person who went overseas different from one who sits in his house? Rabbi Akiva said to him: The difference is that with regard to one who sits in his house it would have been possible for him to hear of the court’s reversal, but with regard to that person who went overseas, it would not have been possible for him to hear of the court’s reversal.

3 ג

הוֹרוּ בֵית דִּין לַעֲקֹר אֶת כָּל הַגּוּף, אָמְרוּ, אֵין נִדָּה בַתּוֹרָה, אֵין שַׁבָּת בַּתּוֹרָה, אֵין עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה בַתּוֹרָה, הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ פְטוּרִין. הוֹרוּ לְבַטֵּל מִקְצָת וּלְקַיֵּם מִקְצָת, הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ חַיָּבִין. כֵּיצַד. אָמְרוּ, יֵשׁ נִדָּה בַתּוֹרָה, אֲבָל הַבָּא עַל שׁוֹמֶרֶת יוֹם כְּנֶגֶד יוֹם פָּטוּר. יֵשׁ שַׁבָּת בַּתּוֹרָה, אֲבָל הַמּוֹצִיא מֵרְשׁוּת הַיָּחִיד לִרְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים, פָּטוּר. יֵשׁ עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה בַתּוֹרָה, אֲבָל הַמִּשְׁתַּחֲוֶה פָטוּר, הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ חַיָּבִין, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא ד) וְנֶעְלַם דָּבָר, דָּבָר וְלֹא כָל הַגּוּף:

The mishna explains for which type of unwitting transgression based on the ruling of the court there is liability to bring an offering. In a case where the judges of the court issued an erroneous ruling to abolish the entire essence of a mitzva, not only a detail thereof, e.g., they said: There is no prohibition against engaging in intercourse with a menstruating woman written in the Torah, or there is no prohibition against performing prohibited labor on Shabbat written in the Torah, or there is no prohibition against engaging in idol worship written in the Torah, these judges are exempt, as this is an error based on ignorance, not an erroneous ruling. If the judges issued a ruling to nullify part of a mitzva and to sustain part of that mitzva, these judges are liable. How so? An example of this is if the judges said: There is a prohibition against engaging in intercourse with a menstruating woman written in the Torah, but one who engages in intercourse with a woman who observes a clean day for a day she experiences a discharge is exempt. When the woman sees a discharge of blood for one or two days during the eleven days between the end of one menstrual period and the expected start of another, the blood is assumed to not be menstrual blood. If after the second day, the next day passes without any discharge of blood, she may immerse immediately and she is ritually pure. The judges ruled erroneously that it is permitted to engage in intercourse with her on the day that she is observing a clean day, even without the day having passed and her having immersed. Another example is if they said: There is a prohibition against performing prohibited labor on Shabbat written in the Torah, but one who carries out objects from the private domain to the public domain is exempt. Another example is if they said: There is a prohibition against engaging in idol worship written in the Torah, but one who bows to the idol but does not sacrifice an offering is exempt. In all of these cases, these judges are liable, as it is stated: “And the matter is hidden” (Leviticus 4:13), from which it is derived that there is liability only if a matter, a single detail, is hidden, but not if the entire essence of a mitzva is hidden.

4 ד

הוֹרוּ בֵית דִּין, וְיָדַע אֶחָד מֵהֶן שֶׁטָּעוּ, וְאָמַר לָהֶן טוֹעִין אַתֶּם, אוֹ שֶׁלֹּא הָיָה מֻפְלָא שֶׁל בֵּית דִּין שָׁם, אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה אַחַד מֵהֶן גֵּר אוֹ מַמְזֵר אוֹ נָתִין אוֹ זָקֵן שֶׁלֹּא רָאָה לוֹ בָנִים, הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ פְטוּרִין, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר כָּאן עֵדָה (ויקרא ד) וְנֶאֱמַר לְהַלָּן (במדבר לה) עֵדָה, מָה עֵדָה הָאֲמוּר לְהַלָּן עַד שֶׁיִּהְיוּ כֻלָּם רְאוּיִין לְהוֹרָאָה, אַף עֵדָה הָאֲמוּרָה כָאן עַד שֶׁיִּהְיוּ כֻלָּם רְאוּיִים לְהוֹרָאָה. הוֹרוּ בֵית דִּין שׁוֹגְגִים וְעָשׂוּ כָל הַקָּהָל שׁוֹגְגִין, מְבִיאִין פָּר. מְזִידִין וְעָשׂוּ שׁוֹגְגִין, מְבִיאִין כִּשְׂבָּה וּשְׂעִירָה. שׁוֹגְגִין וְעָשׂוּ מְזִידִין, הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ פְטוּרִין:

If the court issued a ruling, and one of the judges knew that they erred and he said to them: You are mistaken; or if the most distinguished [mufla] member of the court was not there for that session of the Sanhedrin, or if one of the judges was disqualified from serving as a judge, e.g., because he was a convert, or a child born from an incestuous or adulterous relationship [mamzer], or a Gibeonite, or an old man no longer able to father children, this court is exempt, because they have not rendered a full-fledged ruling. This is derived by means of a verbal analogy, as “assembly” is stated here with regard to a court that issues an erroneous ruling: “And if the entire assembly of Israel shall act unwittingly” (Leviticus 4:13), and “assembly” is stated there with regard to the halakha of one who commits murder unwittingly: “And the assembly shall judge between the one who struck and the blood redeemer” (Numbers 35:24). Just as in the “assembly” stated there, with regard to the unwitting murderer, all the judges must be fit to issue rulings, so too, in the “assembly” stated here, with regard to the court that issued an erroneous ruling; the court will not be liable unless all the judges will be fit to issue rulings. If the judges of the court issued an erroneous ruling unwittingly and the entire congregation performed a transgression unwittingly on the basis of their ruling, the court brings a bull, as it is stated in the Torah with regard to an unwitting communal sin-offering. If the court issued the erroneous ruling intentionally, as they knew that their ruling was incorrect, and the congregation performed a transgression unwittingly on the basis of the ruling of the court, each member of the congregation brings a female lamb or a female goat as an individual sin-offering. If the court issued the erroneous ruling unwittingly and the congregation performed a transgression intentionally, i.e., with the knowledge that the ruling of the court was erroneous, these people are exempt from bringing an offering.

5 ה

הוֹרוּ בֵית דִּין, וְעָשׂוּ כָל הַקָּהָל אוֹ רֻבָּן עַל פִּיהֶם, מְבִיאִין פָּר. וּבַעֲבוֹדָה זָרָה, מְבִיאִין פַּר וְשָׂעִיר, דִּבְרֵי רַבִּי מֵאִיר. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר, שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר שְׁבָטִים מְבִיאִין שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר פָּרִים, וּבַעֲבוֹדָה זָרָה, מְבִיאִין שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר פָּרִים וּשְׁנֵים עָשָׂר שְׂעִירִים. רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמֵר, שְׁלשָׁה עָשָׂר פָּרִים, וּבַעֲבוֹדָה זָרָה, שְׁלשָׁה עָשָׂר פָּרִים וּשְׁלשָׁה עָשָׂר שְׂעִירִים, פַּר וְשָׂעִיר לְכָל שֵׁבֶט וָשֵׁבֶט, פַּר וְשָׂעִיר לְבֵית דִּין. הוֹרוּ בֵית דִּין, וְעָשׂוּ שִׁבְעָה שְׁבָטִים אוֹ רֻבָּן עַל פִּיהֶם, מְבִיאִים פָּר, וּבַעֲבוֹדָה זָרָה מְבִיאִין פַּר וְשָׂעִיר, דִּבְרֵי רַבִּי מֵאִיר. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר, שִׁבְעָה שְׁבָטִים שֶׁחָטְאוּ, מְבִיאִים שִׁבְעָה פָרִים, וּשְׁאָר שְׁבָטִים שֶׁלֹּא חָטְאוּ, מְבִיאִין עַל יְדֵיהֶן פַּר, שֶׁאַף אֵלּוּ שֶׁלֹּא חָטְאוּ, מְבִיאִין עַל יְדֵי הַחוֹטְאִים. רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמֵר, שְׁמֹנָה פָרִים. וּבַעֲבוֹדָה זָרָה, שְׁמֹנָה פָרִים וּשְׁמֹנָה שְׂעִירִים, פַּר וְשָׂעִיר לְכָל שֵׁבֶט וָשֵׁבֶט, וּפַר וְשָׂעִיר לְבֵית דִּין. הוֹרוּ בֵית דִּין שֶׁל אֶחָד מִן הַשְּׁבָטִים וְעָשָׂה אוֹתוֹ הַשֵּׁבֶט עַל פִּיהֶם, אוֹתוֹ הַשֵּׁבֶט הוּא חַיָּב, וּשְׁאָר כָּל הַשְּׁבָטִים פְּטוּרִים, דִּבְרֵי רַבִּי יְהוּדָה. וַחֲכָמִים אוֹמְרִים, אֵין חַיָּבִים אֶלָּא עַל הוֹרָיַת בֵּית דִּין הַגָּדוֹל בִּלְבַד, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא ד) וְאִם כָּל עֲדַת יִשְׂרָאֵל יִשְׁגּוּ, וְלֹא עֲדַת אוֹתוֹ הַשֵּׁבֶט:

If the judges of the court issued an erroneous ruling and the entire congregation or a majority thereof performed a transgression on the basis of their ruling, the judges bring a bull as an unwitting communal sin-offering. And if the erroneous ruling involved idol worship, the judges bring a bull and a goat, as it is written in the Torah (see Numbers 15:24); this is the statement of Rabbi Meir. Rabbi Yehuda says: It is not the court that brings the offering, it is the people. Twelve tribes, each of which performed a transgression, bring twelve bulls, i.e., each tribe brings one, and for idol worship they bring twelve bulls and twelve goats, as each tribe is a congregation. Rabbi Shimon says: They bring thirteen bulls; and for idol worship they bring thirteen bulls and thirteen goats, a bull and a goat for each and every tribe and a bull and a goat for the court. The mishna continues: If the judges of the court issued a ruling, and at least seven tribes, or a majority of each of those tribes, performed a transgression on the basis of their ruling, the judges bring a bull; and for idol worship they bring a bull and a goat. This is the statement of Rabbi Meir. Rabbi Yehuda says: The seven tribes that sinned bring seven bulls, i.e., each tribe brings one bull, and each of the rest of the tribes, i.e., those that did not sin, brings one bull on the basis of the sin of the other tribes, as even those who did not sin bring an offering on the basis of the actions of the sinners. Rabbi Shimon says: When seven tribes sin eight bulls are brought as offerings, one bull for each and every tribe and one bull for the court. And for idol worship, eight bulls and eight goats are brought, one bull and one goat for each and every tribe and one bull and one goat for the court. If the court of one of the tribes issued a ruling and the majority of that tribe performed a transgression on the basis of its ruling, that tribe is liable to bring an offering and the rest of all the tribes are exempt; this is the statement of Rabbi Yehuda. And the Rabbis say: One is liable to bring an offering for an unwitting communal sin only for rulings of the High Court alone, as it is stated: “And if the entire assembly of Israel shall act unwittingly” (Leviticus 4:13), from which it is derived that there is liability only for a ruling of the assembly, i.e., the court, of the entire people, but not for a ruling of the assembly of that particular tribe.