Sanhedrin 46bסנהדרין מ״ו ב
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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46bמ״ו ב

ולא היו מתאבלין אבל אוננין שאין אנינות אלא בלב:

And the relatives of the executed man would not mourn him with the observance of the usual mourning rites, so that his unmourned death would atone for his transgression; but they would grieve over his passing, since grief is felt only in the heart.

גמ׳ תנו רבנן אילו נאמר חטא ותלית הייתי אומר תולין אותו ואחר כך ממיתין אותו כדרך שהמלכות עושה תלמוד לומר (דברים כא, כב) והומת ותלית ממיתין אותו ואח"כ תולין אותו הא כיצד משהין אותו עד סמוך לשקיעת החמה וגומרין את דינו וממיתין אותו ואח"כ תולין אותו אחד קושר ואחד מתיר כדי לקיים מצות תלייה

GEMARA: The Sages taught in a baraita: Were it stated: And if a man has committed a sin worthy of death you shall hang him on a tree, I would have said that first they hang him and only afterward they put him to death, the way the gentile government does, executing the transgressor by hanging. Therefore, the verse states: “And if a man has committed a sin worthy of death, and he is put to death, and you shall hang him on a tree” (Deuteronomy 21:22), teaching that first they put him to death, and only afterward they hang him. How so? They delay the verdict until it is near to sunset, and then they conclude his judgment, and they put him to death, and immediately afterward hang him. One ties him to the hanging post, and another immediately unties him, in order to fulfill the mitzva of hanging the corpse of the executed transgressor.

ת"ר (דברים כא, כב) עץ שומע אני בין בתלוש בין במחובר ת"ל (דברים כא, כג) כי קבר מי שאינו מחוסר אלא קבורה יצא זה שמחוסר קציצה וקבורה

The Sages taught: From the verse: “And you shall hang him on a tree,” I would derive that the body may be hung either on a tree that has been detached from the ground or on one that is still attached to the ground. Therefore, the verse states: “His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but you shall bury him [kavor tikberennu] that day” (Deuteronomy 21:23). Based on the doubled verb, it is derived that not only must the transgressor’s body be buried, but the tree on which it is hung must also be buried. As the verse employs the same term to instruct that both must be buried, the verse teaches that the corpse must be hung on a tree that has already been detached from the ground and is lacking only burial, just as the corpse is lacking only burial. This serves to exclude hanging the corpse on a tree that is still attached to the ground and is lacking both cutting down and burial.

ר' יוסי אומר מי שאינו מחוסר אלא קבורה יצא זה שמחוסר תלישה וקבורה ורבנן תלישה לאו כלום היא:

Rabbi Yosei says: The tree upon which the corpse is hung is not sunk into the ground; rather, it is leaned against a wall, as the verse teaches that the tree must be lacking only burial. This serves to exclude hanging the corpse on a tree that is lacking both detachment and burial. And the Rabbis say: Detaching from the ground a tree that had already been cut down and was later sunk back into the ground is nothing, i.e., it is an insignificant act.

כלומר מפני מה זה תלוי מפני שבירך כו': תניא אומר ר"מ משלו משל למה הדבר דומה לשני אחים תאומים בעיר אחת אחד מינוהו מלך ואחד יצא לליסטיות צוה המלך ותלאוהו כל הרואה אותו אומר המלך תלוי צוה המלך והורידוהו:

§ The mishna teaches: That is to say: Were the dead man’s corpse to remain hanging, reminding everyone of his transgression, people would ask: For what reason was this one hung? They would be answered: Because he blessed God, a euphemism for blasphemy, and the name of Heaven would be desecrated. It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Meir says: The Sages told a parable: To what is this matter comparable? It is comparable to two brothers who were twins and lived in the same city. One was appointed king, while the other went out to engage in banditry. The king commanded that his brother be punished, and they hanged his twin brother for his crimes. Anyone who saw the bandit hanging would say: The king was hanged. The king, therefore, commanded that his brother be taken down, and they took the bandit down. Similarly, people are created in God’s image, and therefore God is disgraced when a corpse is hung for a transgression that the person has committed.

אמר ר' מאיר כו': מאי משמע אמר אביי כמאן דאמר קל לית אמר ליה רבא א"כ כבד עלי ראשי כבד עלי זרועי מיבעי ליה אלא אמר רבא כמאן דאמר קיל לי עלמא

The mishna teaches that Rabbi Meir said that the phrase “For he that is hung is a curse [kilelat] of God” should be understood as follows: When a man suffers in the wake of his sin, the Divine Presence says: I am distressed [kallani] about My head, I am distressed about My arm. The Gemara asks: From where is this inferred? How does Rabbi Meir understand the word kilelat? Abaye says: When a man is hung after he is put to death, God is like one who said: I am not light [kal leit], meaning: My head is heavy for Me, My arm is heavy for Me. God is in distress when He has to administer punishment. Rava said to him: If so, he should have said explicitly: My head is heavy for Me, My arm is heavy for Me. Rather, Rava said: When a man is hung after he is put to death, God is like one who said: The world is light for me [kil li alma], meaning: I am light, and therefore the world is heavy for Me, and I am in distress.

האי מיבעי ליה לגופה א"כ נימא קרא מקלל מאי קללת ואימא כוליה להכי הוא דאתא א"כ נימא קרא קלת מאי קללת ש"מ תרתי:

The Gemara asks: This word “kilelatis needed for what it itself teaches, namely that a blasphemer is hung after he has been stoned. How, then, can it be interpreted as alluding to God’s distress at the death of a transgressor? The Gemara answers: If so, the verse should have stated: One who curses [mekallel ]. What is the meaning of kilelat? It serves to teach the statement taught by Rabbi Meir. The Gemara asks: If so, say perhaps that the entire verse comes for this purpose, to underscore the dignity of the transgressor, who was created in God’s image, and not to teach the halakha governing a blasphemer. The Gemara responds: If so, the verse should have stated: Lightness [kilat]. What is the meaning of kilelat? Conclude two conclusions from it: Conclude that the blasphemer is hung after he has been stoned, and conclude that God is distressed at the death of a transgressor.

ולא זו בלבד כו': א"ר יוחנן משום ר"ש בן יוחי מנין למלין את מתו שעובר עליו בל"ת ת"ל כי קבר תקברנו מכאן למלין את מתו שעובר בלא תעשה

§ The mishna teaches that everyone, not only an executed transgressor, must be buried on the day of his death, if that is at all possible. Rabbi Yoḥanan says in the name of Rabbi Shimon bar Yoḥai: From where is it derived that one who leaves his deceased relative overnight without burying him transgresses a prohibition? The verse states: “But you shall bury him [kavor tikberennu]” (Deuteronomy 21:23), doubling the verb for emphasis. From here it is derived that one who leaves his deceased relative overnight without burying him transgresses a prohibition.

איכא דאמרי אמר רבי יוחנן משום ר"ש בן יוחי רמז לקבורה מן התורה מניין ת"ל כי קבר תקברנו מכאן רמז לקבורה מן התורה

There are those who say that Rabbi Yoḥanan says in the name of Rabbi Shimon bar Yoḥai: From where in the Torah is there a hint to the mitzva of burial? The verse states: “But you shall bury him [kavor tikberennu],” doubling the verb for emphasis. From here there is a hint to the mitzva of burial in the Torah.

א"ל שבור מלכא לרב חמא קבורה מה"ת מניין אישתיק ולא א"ל ולא מידי אמר רב אחא בר יעקב אימסר עלמא בידא דטפשאי דאיבעי ליה למימר כי קבור

The Gemara relates: King Shapur, the monarch of Persia, once said to Rav Ḥama: From where in the Torah is there a hint to the mitzva of burial? What proof is there that the dead must be buried and not treated in some other manner? Rav Ḥama was silent and said nothing to him, as he could not find a suitable source. Rav Aḥa bar Ya’akov said: The world has been handed over to the foolish, as Rav Ḥama should have said to King Shapur that the mitzva of burial is derived from the verse: “But you shall bury him” (Deuteronomy 21:23).

דליעבד ליה ארון תקברנו לא משמע ליה

The Gemara explains: In that case, King Shapur could have replied that the verse merely proves that a coffin should be made for the deceased so that he can be placed in it, not that the deceased should be buried in the ground, as the verse could be understood as instructing that the corpse be placed in some sort of receptacle, not in the ground. The Gemara challenges: Rav Ḥama could still have claimed that the mitzva of burial is derived from the doubled verb “you shall bury him [kavor tikberennu].” The Gemara answers: In that case, King Shapur could have replied that he does not learn anything from a doubled verb, which seems to be merely a stylistic choice and not the source of a new halakha.

ונימא מדאיקבור צדיקי מנהגא בעלמא מדקבריה הקב"ה למשה דלא לישתני ממנהגא

The Gemara asks: But let Rav Ḥama say that the mitzva to bury the dead is derived from the fact that the righteous forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were all buried. The Gemara answers: King Shapur could have said that this was merely a custom of the time, but not a mitzva. The Gemara asks: Rav Ḥama could have derived the mitzva from the fact that the Holy One, Blessed be He, buried Moses, which proves that this is the proper way to handle the dead. The Gemara answers: King Shapur could still have said that God acted in this manner in order not to deviate from the general custom, but this does not prove that burying the dead is a mitzva.

ת"ש (מלכים א יד, יג) וספדו לו כל ישראל וקברו אותו דלא לישתני ממנהגא

The Gemara suggests: Come and hear a proof that burying the dead is a mitzva, as the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite said about Abijah, son of Jeroboam: “And all Israel shall eulogize him and bury him” (I Kings 14:13). The Gemara answers: From here, too, there is no proof, as they may have buried Abijah in order not to deviate from the general custom of the world, and not because they were required to do so.

(ירמיהו טז, ד) לא יספדו ולא יקברו לדומן על פני האדמה יהיו דלישתנו ממנהגא

The Gemara proposes another proof: Jeremiah pronounced a curse upon the wicked, saying: “They shall not be eulogized, nor shall they be buried; but they shall be as dung upon the face of the earth” (Jeremiah 16:4), which proves that when no curse has been pronounced, the dead should be buried. The Gemara rejects this proof: From here, too, there is no proof that it is a mitzva to bury the dead, as Jeremiah cursed the wicked, saying that they would deviate from the general custom and not be buried. Due to all these difficulties, Rav Ḥama was unable to adduce incontrovertible proof that there is a mitzva to bury the dead.

איבעיא להו קבורה משום בזיונא הוא או משום כפרה הוא

§ A dilemma was raised before the Sages: Is burial obligatory on account of disgrace, i.e., so that the deceased should not suffer the disgrace of being left exposed as his body begins to decompose, or is it on account of atonement, i.e., so that the deceased will achieve atonement by being returned to the ground from which he was formed?

למאי נפקא מינה דאמר לא בעינא דליקברוה לההוא גברא אי אמרת משום בזיונא הוא לא כל כמיניה ואי אמרת משום כפרה הוא הא אמר לא בעינא כפרה מאי

The Gemara asks: What is the practical difference that arises from knowing the reason that burial is necessary? The Gemara answers: There is a difference in a case where one said before he died: I do not want them to bury that man, i.e., myself. If you say that burial is required on account of disgrace, it is not in his power to waive his own burial, as his family shares in the disgrace. But if you say that burial is required on account of atonement, didn’t he effectively say: I do not want atonement, and with regard to himself one should be able to do as he wishes? What, then, is the halakha?

ת"ש מדאיקבור צדיקי ואי אמרת משום כפרה צדיקי לכפרה צריכי אין דכתיב (קהלת ז, כ) אדם אין צדיק בארץ אשר יעשה טוב ולא יחטא

The Gemara suggests: Come and hear a proof from the fact that the righteous patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were all buried. And if you say that burial is required on account of atonement, do the righteous need atonement? The Gemara rejects this proof: Yes, even the righteous are in need of atonement, as it is written: “For there is no righteous person on earth who does good and never sins” (Ecclesiastes 7:20), and so even the righteous need atonement for the few sins that they committed over the course of their lifetimes.

ת"ש וספדו לו כל ישראל וקברו אותו ואי אמרת כי היכי דתיהוי ליה כפרה הנך נמי ליקברו כי היכי דתיהוי להו כפרה האי דצדיק הוא תיהוי ליה כפרה הנך לא ליהוי להו כפרה

The Gemara suggests: Come and hear a proof from the verse referring to Abijah, son of Jeroboam: “And all Israel shall eulogize him and bury him, for he alone of Jeroboam shall come to the grave” (I Kings 14:13). And if you say that burial is required so that the deceased should achieve atonement, these too, i.e., Jeroboam’s other sons, should also be buried so that they should achieve atonement. The Gemara rejects this argument: This son, Abijah, who was righteous, should achieve atonement through his death and burial, but these other sons, who were wicked, should not achieve atonement even in death.

ת"ש לא יספדו ולא יקברו דלא תיהוי להו כפרה

The Gemara suggests: Come and hear a proof from the curse pronounced by Jeremiah upon the wicked: “They shall not be eulogized, nor shall they be buried” (Jeremiah 16:4), which indicates that it is not on account of atonement that burial is required, as were that the case the wicked are certainly in need of atonement, and therefore they should be buried. The Gemara answers: This is no proof, as Jeremiah’s intention might be that the wicked should not achieve atonement. Therefore, the question of whether burial is necessary in order to prevent disgrace or achieve atonement remains unresolved.

איבעיא להו הספידא יקרא דחיי הוי או יקרא דשכבי הוי למאי נפקא מינה דאמר לא תספדוה לההוא גברא אי נמי לאפוקי מיורשין

§ A dilemma was raised before the Sages: Is the eulogy delivered for the honor of the living relatives of the deceased, or is it delivered for the honor of the dead? The Gemara asks: What is the practical difference between the two possible reasons? The Gemara answers: There is a difference in a case where one said before he died: Do not eulogize that man, i.e., myself. If the eulogy is delivered to honor the deceased, he is able to forgo this honor, but if it is delivered to honor the living, he is not, as it is not in the power of one individual to forgo the honor of others. Alternately, the difference is with regard to whether it is possible to collect the eulogist’s fee from the heirs. If the eulogy is to honor the dead, it is possible to collect this fee from the heirs, even against their will, but if it is to honor the living, they are able to forgo this honor.

ת"ש (בראשית כג, ב) ויבא אברהם לספוד לשרה ולבכותה ואי אמרת משום יקרא דחיי הוא משום יקרא דאברהם משהו לה לשרה שרה גופה ניחא לה כי היכי דמייקר בה אברהם

The Gemara suggests: Come and hear a proof from the verse that states: “And Abraham came to eulogize Sarah and weep over her” (Genesis 23:2), indicating that Sarah’s funeral was delayed until Abraham returned from Beersheba to Hebron to eulogize her. And if you say that a eulogy is delivered due to the honor of the living, would they have unduly delayed burying Sarah due to Abraham’s honor? The Gemara rejects this argument: It was satisfactory to Sarah herself that her funeral was delayed so that Abraham could be honored by eulogizing her. Since Sarah herself would prefer that Abraham eulogize her, there was no disgrace in waiting for Abraham to arrive.

ת"ש וספדו לו כל ישראל וקברו אותו ואי אמרת משום יקרא דחיי הוא הנך בני יקרא נינהו ניחא להו לצדיקיא דמייקרי בהו אינשי

The Gemara suggests: Come and hear a different resolution of this dilemma from the verse referring to Abijah, son of Jeroboam: “And all Israel shall eulogize him and bury him” (I Kings 14:13). And if you say that a eulogy is delivered due to the honor of the living, are these people, Jeroboam’s surviving family, worthy of this honor? The Gemara answers: It is satisfactory to the righteous when other people are honored through them. Since that is their wish, they are eulogized even if their wicked relatives are honored as a result.

ת"ש לא יספדו ולא יקברו לא ניחא לצדיקיא דמייקרי ברשיעייא

The Gemara suggests: Come and hear a proof from the curse pronounced by Jeremiah upon the wicked: “They shall not be eulogized, nor shall they be buried” (Jeremiah 16:4). If you say that a eulogy is delivered due to the honor of the living, why should the wicked not be eulogized, as perhaps they are survived by righteous people who are worthy of this honor? The Gemara answers: It is not satisfactory to the righteous when they are honored through the wicked, and therefore they prefer that a eulogy not be delivered for their wicked relatives.

תא שמע (ירמיהו לד, ה) בשלום תמות ובמשרפות אבותיך המלכים הראשונים אשר היו לפניך כן ישרפו לך והוי אדון יספדו דחיי הוא מאי נפקא ליה מיניה הכי קאמר ליה לייקרו ביך ישראל כי היכי דמתייקרי באבהתך

The Gemara suggests: Come and hear a resolution of this dilemma from what Jeremiah said to Zedekiah: “You shall die in peace; and with the burnings of your fathers, the former kings that were before you, so shall they make a burning for you; and they will eulogize you, saying: Ah, master” (Jeremiah 34:5). And if you say that a eulogy is delivered due to the honor of the living relatives of the deceased, what difference does it make to him if he is eulogized? The Gemara answers: It is possible that a eulogy is to honor the living, and this is what Jeremiah is saying to Zedekiah: Enjoy the thought that Israel shall be honored through you at your funeral just as they were honored through your ancestors at their funerals.