Chapter 7ז׳
1 א

חָכָם זָקֵן בְּחָכְמָה וְכֵן נָשִׂיא אוֹ אַב בֵּית דִּין שֶׁסָּרַח אֵין מְנַדִּין אוֹתוֹ בְּפַרְהֶסְיָא לְעוֹלָם. אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן עָשָׂה כְּיָרָבְעָם בֶּן נְבָט וַחֲבֵרָיו. אֲבָל כְּשֶׁחָטָא שְׁאָר חַטָּאוֹת מַלְקִין אוֹתוֹ בְּצִנְעָה. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (הושע ד ה) "וְכָשַׁלְתָּ הַיּוֹם וְכָשַׁל גַּם נָבִיא עִמְּךָ לָיְלָה" אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁכָּשַׁל כַּסֵּהוּ כְּלַיְלָה. וְאוֹמְרִים לוֹ הִכָּבֵד וְשֵׁב בְּבֵיתְךָ. וְכֵן כָּל תַּלְמִיד חָכָם שֶׁנִּתְחַיֵּב נִדּוּי אָסוּר לְבֵית דִּין לִקְפֹּץ וּלְנַדּוֹתוֹ בִּמְהֵרָה אֶלָּא בּוֹרְחִין מִדָּבָר זֶה וְנִשְׁמָטִין מִמֶּנּוּ. וַחֲסִידֵי הַחֲכָמִים הָיוּ מִשְׁתַּבְּחִים שֶׁלֹּא נִמְנוּ מֵעוֹלָם לְנַדּוֹת תַּלְמִיד חָכָם אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנִּמְנִין לְהַלְקוֹתוֹ אִם נִתְחַיֵּב מַלְקוֹת. וַאֲפִלּוּ מַכַּת מַרְדּוּת נִמְנִין עָלָיו לְהַכּוֹתוֹ:

A wise man aged in wisdom, or a president, or a dean of a tribunal who committed an unsavory act should never be excommunicated publicly, unless he imitated Jeroboam son of Nebat and his associates1See First Kings, 11.26–14.20.G.; but if he commit any other sin, the punishment of lashes should be administered secretly, even as it is said: "Therefore shalt thou stumble in the day, and the prophet also shall stumble with thee in the night" (Hosea, 4.5), even though he stumbled, cover it with darkness as the night. However, he should be told: "Honor yourself and remain in your house". And even so, when a disciple of the wise be found guilty of an offense punishable by excommunication, it is forbidden to jump to conclusions hastily and excommunicate him; it is rather commendable to run away from such thing, and avoid it. The pious among the wise prided themselves that they were never numbered among those who excommunicated a disciple of the wise, although it is permissable to be counted in to inflict lashes if he be guilty of an offense punishable by lashes, and even be counted in to inflict upon him scourge of rebellion.2Mo’ed Katan, 17b; Horayot, 11b; Pesahim, 52a. C.G.

2 ב

וְכֵיצַד הוּא הַנִּדּוּי, אוֹמֵר פְּלוֹנִי יְהֵא בְּשַׁמָּתָא. וְאִם נִדּוּהוּ בְּפָנָיו אוֹמֵר לוֹ פְּלוֹנִי זֶה בְּשַׁמָּתָא. וְהַחֵרֶם, אוֹמֵר לוֹ פְּלוֹנִי מֻחְרָם. וְאָרוּר בּוֹ אָלָה בּוֹ שְׁבוּעָה בּוֹ נִדּוּי:

How is the excommunication pronounced? The authority says: "That one (naming him) should be in seclusion." If the excommunication is in the presence of the offender, he says to him: "This one (naming him) is in seclusion". An excommunication of exclusion is pronounced in this way: "That one (naming him) is excluded". An excommunication of separation is pronounced as follows: "He is accursed; the oath of cursing is in him; there is forswearing in him" (Shebu'ot, 36a).

3 ג

וְכֵיצַד מַתִּירִין הַנִּדּוּי אוֹ הַחֵרֶם. אוֹמֵר לוֹ שָׁרוּי לְךָ וּמָחוּל לְךָ. וְאִם הִתִּירוּהוּ שֶׁלֹּא בְּפָנָיו אוֹמֵר לוֹ פְּלוֹנִי שָׁרוּי לוֹ וּמָחוּל לוֹ:

How is the bond of excommunication or ostracism released? The authority says to him: "Thou mayest (come back), thou art forgiven". If he releases him in absenta he says: "That one (naming him) may (come back), and he is forgiven."

4 ד

מַהוּ הַמִּנְהָג שֶׁיִּנְהֹג הַמְנֻדֶּה בְּעַצְמוֹ וְשֶׁנּוֹהֲגִין עִמּוֹ. מְנֻדֶּה אָסוּר לְסַפֵּר וּלְכַבֵּס כְּאָבֵל כָּל יְמֵי נִדּוּיוֹ. וְאֵין מְזַמְּנִין עָלָיו. וְלֹא כּוֹלְלִין אוֹתוֹ בַּעֲשָׂרָה לְכָל דָּבָר שֶׁצָּרִיךְ עֲשָׂרָה. וְלֹא יוֹשְׁבִין עִמּוֹ בְּאַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת. אֲבָל שׁוֹנֶה הוּא לַאֲחֵרִים וְשׁוֹנִין לוֹ וְנִשְׂכָּר וְשׂוֹכֵר. וְאִם מֵת בְּנִדּוּי בֵּית דִּין שׁוֹלְחִין וּמַנִּיחִין אֶבֶן עַל אֲרוֹנוֹ כְּלוֹמַר שֶׁהֵן רוֹגְמִין אוֹתוֹ לְפִי שֶׁהוּא מֻבְדָּל מִן הַצִּבּוּר. וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר שֶׁאֵין מַסְפִּידִין אוֹתוֹ וְאֵין מְלַוִּין אֶת מִטָּתוֹ:

What regulations should one under sentence of separation follow himself, and how should others act toward him? One under sentence of separation is forbidden to shave and wash, as one in mourning, all the days of his separation. He must not be counted in among three to bless God after meals, or among ten in any religious service which requires ten adults, and no one is permitted to sit within four ells of him. Nevertheless, he may give instruction to others and others may instruct him, and others may hire him and he may hire others. If his demise occurs while under sentence of separation, the tribunal has a stone sent which is deposited upon his coffin, as if saying that he is being stoned because he had to be separated from the community. Needless to say that no mourning is permitted after him, and that his hearse is not followed.3Mo’ed Katan, 16b; Baba Mezi’a, 59a. C.

5 ה

יוֹתֵר עָלָיו הַמֻּחְרָם שֶׁאֵינוֹ שׁוֹנֶה לַאֲחֵרִים וְאֵין שׁוֹנִין לוֹ אֲבָל שׁוֹנֶה הוּא לְעַצְמוֹ שֶׁלֹּא יִשְׁכַּח תַּלְמוּדוֹ. וְאֵינוֹ נִשְׂכָּר וְאֵין נִשְׂכָּרִין לוֹ. וְאֵין נוֹשְׂאִין וְנוֹתְנִין עִמּוֹ. וְאֵין מִתְעַסְּקִין עִמּוֹ אֶלָּא מְעַט עֵסֶק כְּדֵי פַּרְנָסָתוֹ:

Of greater punishment than he is the one excluded, who is forbidden to instruct others or be instructed by others (although he may study by himself so as not to forget his learning) either to hire himself out or hire others, either to give or to receive in business, with none to deal with him, save for the barest necessities of his support.4Mo’ed Katan, 16b. C.

6 ו

מִי שֶׁיָּשַׁב בְּנִדּוּי שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם וְלֹא בִּקֵּשׁ לְהַתִּירוֹ מְנַדִּין אוֹתוֹ שְׁנִיָּה. יָשַׁב שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם אֲחֵרִים וְלֹא בִּקֵּשׁ לְהַתִּירוֹ מַחְרִימִין אוֹתוֹ:

He who remains thirty days under sentence of separation and appears not for release, another sentence of separation is pronounced against him. If he again remains thirty days and seeks no release, a sentence of exclusion is pronounced against him.5Ibid.C.

7 ז

בְּכַמָּה מַתִּירִין הַנִּדּוּי אוֹ הַחֵרֶם. בִּשְׁלֹשָׁה אֲפִלּוּ הֶדְיוֹטוֹת. וְיָחִיד מֻמְחֶה מַתִּיר הַנִּדּוּי אוֹ הַחֵרֶם לְבַדּוֹ. וְיֵשׁ לְתַלְמִיד לְהַתִּיר הַנִּדּוּי אוֹ הַחֵרֶם וַאֲפִלּוּ בִּמְקוֹם הָרַב:

How large a personnel does it require to release the bonds of separation or exclusion?6 Three, even uneducated. An individual scholar may release the bond of separation or exclusion by himself. A student is authorized to release the bonds of separation or exclusion, even instead of the master.7See Mo’ed Katan, 17a, and Ros-ha-Shanah, 29a. G.

9 ט

שְׁלֹשָׁה שֶׁנִּדּוּ וְהָלְכוּ לָהֶן וְחָזַר זֶה מִדָּבָר שֶׁנִּדּוּהוּ בִּגְלָלוֹ בָּאִין שְׁלֹשָׁה אֲחֵרִים וּמַתִּירִין לוֹ:

If three pronounce an excommunication against one and depart, meantime the offender repents of the sin on account of which sentence was imposed, three others may come and release him.8Mo’ed Katan, 16b. C.

10 י

מִי שֶׁלֹּא יָדַע מִי שֶׁנִּדָּהוּ יֵלֵךְ לוֹ אֵצֶל הַנָּשִׂיא וְיַתִּיר לוֹ נִדּוּיוֹ:

One ignorant as to who imposed the sentence upon him, should go to the president who may release him.

11 יא

נִדּוּי עַל תְּנַאי אֲפִלּוּ עַל פִּי עַצְמוֹ צָרִיךְ הֲפָרָה. תַּלְמִיד חָכָם שֶׁנִּדָּה עַצְמוֹ וַאֲפִלּוּ נִדָּה עַצְמוֹ עַל דַּעַת פְּלוֹנִי וַאֲפִלּוּ עַל דָּבָר שֶׁחַיָּב עָלָיו נִדּוּי הֲרֵי זֶה מֵפֵר לְעַצְמוֹ:

If a conditional sentence was imposed upon him, even on his own evidence, he must receive release. A disciple of the wise who imposed a sentence of separation upon himself; even the sentence was based upon the opinion of another, and even if it be on account of a matter which carries the punishment of separation, he may release the bond by himself.11Makkot, 11a. C.

12 יב

מִי שֶׁנִּדּוּהוּ בַּחֲלוֹם אֲפִלּוּ יָדַע מִי נִדָּהוּ צָרִיךְ עֲשָׂרָה בְּנֵי אָדָם שֶׁשּׁוֹנִין הֲלָכוֹת לְהַתִּירוֹ מִנִּדּוּיוֹ. וְאִם לֹא מָצָא טוֹרֵחַ אַחֲרֵיהֶם עַד פַּרְסָא. לֹא מָצָא מַתִּירִים לוֹ אֲפִלּוּ עֲשָׂרָה שֶׁשּׁוֹנִים מִשְׁנָה. לֹא מָצָא מַתִּירִין לוֹ עֲשָׂרָה שֶׁיּוֹדְעִים לִקְרוֹת בַּתּוֹרָה. לֹא מָצָא מַתִּירִין לוֹ אֲפִלּוּ עֲשָׂרָה שֵׁאֵינָן יוֹדִעִין לִקִרוֹת. לֹא מָצָא בִּמְקוֹמוֹ עֲשָׂרָה מַתִּירִין לוֹ אֲפִלּוּ שְׁלֹשָׁה:

He who dreamt that a sentence of excommunication was pronounced upon him, although he remembers the one who made the pronouncement, must have ten men who are capable of studying treatises to release him. If he finds them not, he should walk a mile to find them; if such can not be found, even ten who study Mishnah may release him; if such can not be found, ten who can read the Torah may release him; if such can not be found, even ten who can not read at all may release him; if there be no ten adults in his place, even three can release him.12Nedarim, 8b; Berakot 29b. C.

13 יג

מִי שֶׁנִּדּוּהוּ בְּפָנָיו אֵין מַתִּירִין לוֹ אֶלָּא בְּפָנָיו. נִדּוּהוּ שֶׁלֹּא בְּפָנָיו מַתִּירִין לוֹ בְּפָנָיו וְשֶׁלֹּא בְּפָנָיו. וְאֵין בֵּין נִדּוּי לַהֲפָרָה כְּלוּם אֶלָּא מְנַדִּין וּמַתִּירִין בְּרֶגַע אֶחָד כְּשֶׁיַּחֲזֹר הַמְנֻדֶּה לַמּוּטָב. וְאִם רָאוּ בֵּית דִּין לְהַנִּיחַ זֶה בְּנִדּוּי כַּמָּה שָׁנִים מַנִּיחִין כְּפִי רִשְׁעוֹ. וְכֵן אִם רָאוּ בֵּית דִּין לְהַחֲרִים לָזֶה לְכַתְּחִלָּה וּלְהַחֲרִים מִי שֶׁיֹּאכַל עִמּוֹ וְשׁוֹתֶה עִמּוֹ אוֹ מִי שֶׁיַּעֲמֹד עִמּוֹ בְּאַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת מַחְרִימִין כְּדֵי לְיַסְּרוֹ וּכְדֵי לַעֲשׂוֹת סְיָג לַתּוֹרָה עַד שֶׁלֹּא יִפְרְצוּ הַחוֹטְאִים. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיֵּשׁ רְשׁוּת לֶחָכָם לְנַדּוֹת לִכְבוֹדוֹ אֵינוֹ שֶׁבַח לְתַלְמִיד חָכָם לְהַנְהִיג עַצְמוֹ בְּדָבָר זֶה אֶלָּא מַעֲלִים אָזְנָיו מִדִּבְרֵי עַם הָאָרֶץ וְלֹא יָשִׁית לִבּוֹ לָהֶן כָּעִנְיָן שֶׁאָמַר שְׁלֹמֹה בְּחָכְמָתוֹ (קהלת ז כא) "גַּם לְכָל הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר יְדַבְּרוּ אַל תִּתֵּן לִבְּךָ". וְכֵן הָיָה דֶּרֶךְ חֲסִידִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים שׁוֹמְעִים חֶרְפָּתָם וְאֵינָן מְשִׁיבִין וְלֹא עוֹד אֶלָּא שֶׁמּוֹחֲלִים לַמְחָרֵף וְסוֹלְחִים לוֹ. וַחֲכָמִים גְּדוֹלִים הָיוּ מִשְׁתַּבְּחִים בְּמַעֲשֵׂיהֶם הַנָּאִים וְאוֹמְרִים שֶׁמֵּעוֹלָם לֹא נִדּוּ אָדָם וְלֹא הֶחְרִימוּהוּ לִכְבוֹדָן. וְזוֹ הִיא דַּרְכָּם שֶׁל תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים שֶׁרָאוּי לֵילֵךְ בָּהּ. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים כְּשֶׁבִּזָּהוּ אוֹ חֵרְפָהוּ בַּסֵּתֶר. אֲבָל תַּלְמִיד חָכָם שֶׁבִּזָּהוּ אוֹ חֵרְפוֹ אָדָם בְּפַרְהֶסְיָא אָסוּר לוֹ לִמְחל עַל כְּבוֹדוֹ וְאִם מָחַל נֶעֱנָשׁ שֶׁזֶּה בִּזְיוֹן תּוֹרָה אֶלָּא נוֹקֵם וְנוֹטֵר הַדָּבָר כְּנָחָשׁ עַד שֶׁיְּבַקֵּשׁ מִמֶּנּוּ מְחִילָה וְיִסְלַח לוֹ:

One against whom a pronouncement of excommunication was made in his presence, is not released save when he is present. If the pronouncement was made in absenta, the release may be given, both in his presence and in his absence. There is no interval necessary between pronouncement and release; a bond of separation may be imposed, and, if the offender doth repent himself, he may be released the same minute. Yet, if the tribunal see fit to leave one under ban many years, he may be so left, all depending upon his wickedness. Likewise, if the tribunal see fit to first exclude one and then exclude whomsoever that will eat with him, drink with him, or stand within four ells of him, such exclusion should stand so as to punish him, and so as to make a guard around the Torah which the sinners will be unable to break. Although a scholar is vested with authority to excommunicate to preserve his honor, it is not good taste for a disciple of the wise to accustom himself to do such thing, but conceal his ears from the gossip of the ignorant people, and pay no attention to them, as the subject was spoken of in Solomon's wisdom: "Also take not heed unto all words that are spoken" (Ecc. 7.21). So was the way of the pious of yore: they heard themselves maligned, but made no reply; moreover, they pardoned the traducer and condoned him. Great scholars prided themselves in their becoming conduct and related that they have ever declined to pronounce an excommunication of separation or exclusion against a man for the sake of their honor. Such way of disciples of the wise is proper to follow. Whereat are these words directed? When one abused him maligned him secretly; but a disciple of the wise, who was abused or maligned by a man publicly, is forbidden to pardon an offense against his honor, and if he does pardon it he is punished in the end, for it is disgraceful to the Torah; he must avenge it and beat it in his heart serpent-like until the traducer will beg his pardon, when he should forgive him.13Nedarim, 7b; Megillah, 28a; Yer. Mo’ed Katan, 10b; Yoma, 22b-23a; Kiddushin, 32a. C. G.