Sanhedrin 52aסנהדרין נ״ב א
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52aנ״ב א

האי (ויקרא כא, ט) את אביה היא מחללת מאי דריש ביה

what does he derive from this verse: “She profanes her father” (Leviticus 21:9), if he does not employ the term “her father” for a verbal analogy concerning a young betrothed woman who committed adultery, as Rabbi Akiva does?

מבעי ליה לכדתניא היה רבי מאיר אומר מה ת"ל את אביה היא מחללת שאם היו נוהגין בו קודש נוהגין בו חול כבוד נוהגין בו בזיון אומרין ארור שזו ילד ארור שזו גידל ארור שיצא זו מחלציו

The Gemara answers: He requires it for that which is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Meir would say: Why must the verse state: “She profanes her father”? To teach that if initially they would treat her father in a sacred manner, now they treat him in a profane manner. If previously they would treat him with honor, they now treat him with degradation. They say: Cursed is the one who bore this daughter, cursed is the one who raised this daughter, cursed is the one from whose loins this daughter emerged.

אמר רב אשי כמאן קרינן רשיעא בר רשיעא ואפי' לרשיעא בר צדיקא כמאן כהאי תנא:

Rav Ashi says: In accordance with whose opinion do we call even a wicked person who is the son of a righteous person: A wicked person, the son of a wicked person? In accordance with whose opinion is it? It is in accordance with the opinion of this tanna, Rabbi Meir, who says that a sinful daughter profanes her father, and he too is treated with disgrace.

זו מצות הנסקלין: מאי תנא דקתני זו מצות הנסקלין

§ The mishna teaches: This describes the mitzva of those who are stoned, i.e., the process of execution by stoning. The Gemara asks: What was taught in the mishna with regard to which it teaches now: This describes the mitzva of those who are stoned?

משום דתנא נגמר הדין מוציאין אותו לסקלו בית הסקילה היה גבוה שתי קומות ואיידי דקא בעי למיתנא מצות הנשרפין תנא נמי זו מצות הנסקלין:

The Gemara answers: The Mishna states this because it teaches in the previous chapter (42b): When the trial has ended in a guilty verdict and the condemned man has been sentenced to stoning, he is taken out to be stoned. And it continues (45a): The place of stoning from which the condemned party is pushed to his death is a platform twice the height of an ordinary person. And since the Mishna wants to teach in the next mishna: The mitzva of those who are burned, and it will then proceed to describe the processes involved in carrying out the other forms of execution, it also teaches in this mishna: This describes the mitzva of those who are stoned, in order to summarize what was taught up to this point.

מתני׳ מצות הנשרפין היו משקעין אותו בזבל עד ארכובותיו ונותנין סודר קשה לתוך הרכה וכורך על צוארו זה מושך אצלו וזה מושך אצלו עד שפותח את פיו ומדליק את הפתילה וזורקה לתוך פיו ויורדת לתוך מעיו וחומרת את בני מעיו

MISHNA: The mitzva of those who are burned, i.e., the process of execution by burning, is carried out in the following manner: The executioners submerge the condemned one in dung up to his knees so he cannot move, and they place a rough scarf within a soft one, so his throat will not be wounded, and wrap these scarves around his neck. This one, i.e., one of the witnesses, pulls the scarf toward himself, and that one, the other witness, pulls it toward himself, until the condemned one is forced to open his mouth, as he is choking. And another person then lights the wick and throws it into his mouth, and it goes down into his intestines and burns his intestines and he dies.

ר' יהודה אומר אף הוא אם מת בידם לא היו מקיימין בו מצות שריפה אלא פותח את פיו בצבת שלא בטובתו ומדליק את הפתילה וזורקה לתוך פיו ויורדת לתוך מעיו וחומרת את בני מעיו

Rabbi Yehuda says: But if this one who is condemned to death by burning accidentally died at their hands by strangulation, they have not fulfilled the mitzva of execution by burning for this person. Rather, the process is carried out in the following manner: One opens the mouth of the condemned person with prongs, against his will, and one lights the wick and throws it into his mouth, and it goes down into his intestines and burns his intestines and he dies.

אמר רבי אלעזר (בן) צדוק מעשה בבת כהן אחת שזינתה והקיפוה חבילי זמורות ושרפוה אמר לו מפני שלא היה בית דין של אותה שעה בקי:

Rabbi Elazar ben Tzadok said: An incident occurred with regard to a certain priest’s daughter who committed adultery, and they wrapped her in bundles of branches and burned her, contrary to the process described in the mishna. The Sages said to him: That court did not act properly; they did so because the court at that time was not proficient in halakha.

גמ׳ מאי פתילה אמר רב מתנה פתילה של אבר

GEMARA: What kind of wick is the mishna referring to? Rav Mattana says: A wick of lead, i.e., a long, thin piece of lead in the shape of a wick, which is melted and poured down into the intestines.

מנא לן אתיא שריפה שריפה מעדת קרח מה להלן שריפת נשמה וגוף קיים אף כאן שריפת נשמה וגוף קיים

From where do we derive that burning means this kind of death? It is derived from a verbal analogy between the burning that is described in the context of capital punishment (see Leviticus 21:9) and the burning described with regard to the assembly of Korah, when they were burned by God (see Numbers 17:4). Just as there, with regard to the assembly of Korah, they were killed by the burning of the soul within the body, but the body itself remained intact, so too here, the condemned one is executed by the burning of the soul, but the body remains intact. He is not executed by means of the burning of the body with wood, as in that case the body would be consumed.

רבי אלעזר אמר אתיא שריפה שריפה מבני אהרן מה להלן שריפת נשמה וגוף קיים אף כאן שריפת נשמה וגוף קיים

Rabbi Elazar says that there is a different source for this method of burning: It is derived from a verbal analogy between the burning that is described in this context and the burning that is described with regard to the deaths of Nadav and Avihu, the sons of Aaron (see Leviticus 10:6). Just as there, Nadav and Avihu were killed by the burning of the soul, but the body remained intact, so too here, the execution is carried out by the burning of the soul, but the body remains intact.

מאן דיליף מעדת קרח מנא ליה דכתיב (במדבר יז, ג) ואת מחתות החטאים האלה בנפשותם שנשמתן נשרפת וגוף קיים

The Gemara asks: From where does the one who derives that burning means this kind of death from the assembly of Korah derive that their bodies were not burned? The Gemara answers: He derives it from that which is written: “And the firepans of these men who have sinned with their souls” (Numbers 17:3), which indicates that only their souls were burned, but their bodies were intact.

ואידך ההיא שריפה ממש היא ומאי בנפשותם שנתחייבו שריפה על עסקי נפשותם

The Gemara asks: And how does the other Sage, who does not derive that burning means this kind of death from here, interpret the deaths of the assembly of Korah? The Gemara answers: That burning was actual burning of their bodies. And what is the meaning of the term: “With their souls”? It means that they were deemed liable to be killed by burning due to matters of sustaining their souls, i.e., they sinned because Korah helped them fulfill their bodily desires, and consequently they followed him.

כדריש לקיש דאמר ריש לקיש מאי דכתיב (תהלים לה, טז) בחנפי לעגי מעוג חרק עלי שנימו בשביל חנופה שהחניפו לקרח על עסקי לגימה חרק עליהן שר של גיהנם שניו

This latter explanation is in accordance with the statement of Reish Lakish. As Reish Lakish says: What is the meaning of that which is written: “With the flattering mockeries of spitefulness [maog] they gnash at me with their teeth” (Psalms 35:16)? It means that because of the flattery of those people who flattered Korah over matters of eating, i.e., because of the food and drink that he would give them, the minister of Gehenna gnashed his teeth over them, as they eventually sinned and fell into his hands. The word maog is interpreted homiletically here as alluding to uga, cake.

ומאן דיליף מבני אהרן מנא ליה דכתי' (ויקרא י, ב) וימותו לפני ה' כעין מיתה

The Gemara asks: And from where does the one who derives that burning means this kind of death from the sons of Aaron derive that their bodies were not burned? The Gemara answers: He derives it from that which is written: “And fire came out from before the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord” (Leviticus 10:2). The term “and they died” indicates that it was similar to a natural death, in which the body remains intact.

ואידך ההוא שריפה ממש הואי ומאי דכתיב וימותו דאתחיל בהו מגואי כעין מיתה דתניא אבא יוסי בן דוסתאי אומר שני חוטין של אש יצאו מבית קודש הקדשים ונחלקו לארבע ונכנסו שנים בחוטמו של זה ושנים בחוטמו של זה ושרפום

The Gemara asks: And how does the other Sage, who does not derive that burning means this kind of death from here, interpret the death of the sons of Aaron? The Gemara answers: That burning was actual burning. And in that case, what is the meaning of that which is written: “And they died”? It means that the fire started from within them, and therefore it was similar to a natural death, which occurs within the person. As it is taught in a baraita: Abba Yosei ben Dostai says: Two threads of fire came out of the Holy of Holies and split into four, and two entered the nostrils of this one, and the other two entered the nostrils of that one, and the threads of fire burned them.

והכתיב (ויקרא י, ב) ותאכל אותם אותם ולא בגדיהם

The Gemara asks: But isn’t it written: “And devoured them [vatokhal otam]”? The usage of the expanded term “vatokhal otam,” instead of the terser vatokhlem, indicates a limitation, i.e., only they were consumed, to the exclusion of their bodies. The Gemara answers: The verse means that the fire devoured “them,” but not their clothes.

ונילף מפרים הנשרפים מה להלן שריפה ממש אף כאן שריפה ממש

The Gemara asks: And let us derive the correct method of execution by burning from the halakha of the bull offerings that are burned. Just as there, the reference is to actual burning, so too here, perhaps there should be actual burning.

מסתברא מאדם הוה ליה למילף שכן אדם חוטא נשמה פיגול

The Gemara answers: It stands to reason that one should derive the halakha with regard to capital punishment from the death of a person, i.e., either from the assembly of Korah or the sons of Aaron, as they share common elements: They deal with a person, a sinner, and a soul that is taken through burning, i.e., the person dies as a result of the burning. Furthermore, the halakha of an offering that was sacrificed with the intent to consume it after its designated time [piggul], is not relevant in either case, whereas it is relevant to bull offerings that are burned.

אדרבה מפרים הנשרפים הוה ליה למילף שכן מכשיר לדורות

The Gemara asks: On the contrary, one should derive the halakha with regard to capital punishment from the bull offerings that are burned, as both enable the fulfillment of a mitzva, whereas the deaths of the assembly of Korah and the sons of Aaron were not mitzvot. Furthermore, both of these are fixed halakhot for all future generations, whereas the deaths of the assembly of Korah and the sons of Aaron were onetime incidents.

הנך נפישין

The Gemara answers: Those elements that are shared by capital punishment and the deaths of the assembly of Korah and the sons of Aaron are more numerous than the elements that are shared by capital punishment and the bulls that are burned. Therefore, the halakha is derived from the assembly of Korah and the sons of Aaron.

מאן דיליף מעדת קרח מאי טעמא לא יליף מבני אהרן ההוא שריפה ממש הואי ונילף מינה

The Gemara asks: With regard to the one who derives this halakha from the assembly of Korah, what is the reason he does not derive it from the sons of Aaron? Because in his opinion that was actual burning. But if this is the case, let us derive from the death of the sons of Aaron that execution by burning should be performed with actual burning; why does he derive from the assembly of Korah that hot lead should be used?

אמר רב נחמן אמר רבה בר אבוה אמר קרא (ויקרא יט, יח) ואהבת לרעך כמוך ברור לו מיתה יפה

Rav Naḥman says that Rabba bar Avuh says: The verse states: “And you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18), which teaches that even with regard to a condemned prisoner one should select a good, i.e., a compassionate, death for him. The method of burning described in the mishna is certainly faster and less painful than the burning of the entire body.

וכי מאחר דאיכא דרב נחמן גזרה שוה למה לי

The Gemara asks: And since there is the halakha of Rav Naḥman, why do I need the verbal analogy? Even without this proof execution by burning would have been performed with hot lead, as it is a less painful form of death.

אי לאו גזרה שוה הוה אמינא שריפת נשמה וגוף קיים לאו שריפה היא כלל ואי משום ואהבת לרעך כמוך לפיש ליה חבילי זמורות כי היכי דלישרוף לעגל קמ"ל:

The Gemara answers: Were it not for the verbal analogy, I would say that a death that includes the burning of the soul, but the body itself remains intact, is not burning at all, and that it does not fulfill the mitzva of execution by burning. And if it is necessary to alleviate the condemned one’s pain due to the halakha of “And you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18), let the court increase for him the bundles of branches, so that he will burn quicker. Therefore, the verbal analogy teaches us that even internal burning is regarded as burning, and once this has been established it is taken into consideration that he must be executed in the least painful way.

וכבר היו משה ואהרן מהלכין בדרך ונדב ואביהוא מהלכין אחריהן וכל ישראל אחריהן אמר לו נדב לאביהוא אימתי ימותו שני זקנים הללו ואני ואתה ננהיג את הדור אמר להן הקב"ה הנראה מי קובר את מי אמר רב פפא היינו דאמרי אינשי נפישי גמלי סבי דטעיני משכי דהוגני

Apropos the deaths of Nadav and Avihu, an aggadic midrash on this subject is quoted: And it had already happened that Moses and Aaron were walking on their way, and Nadav and Avihu were walking behind them, and the entire Jewish people were walking behind them. Nadav said to Avihu: When will it happen that these two old men will die and you and I will lead the generation, as we are their heirs? The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to them: We shall see who buries whom. Rav Pappa says: This explains the adage that people say: Many are the old camels that are loaded with the skins of young camels.

אמר רבי (אליעזר)

Rabbi Eliezer says: