Sanhedrin 65aסנהדרין ס״ה א
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65aס״ה א

מתני׳ בעל אוב זה פיתום המדבר משחיו וידעוני זה המדבר בפיו הרי אלו בסקילה והנשאל בהם באזהרה:

MISHNA: The list of those liable to be executed by stoning includes those who practice various types of sorcery. The mishna describes them: A necromancer is a pitom from whose armpit the voice of the dead appears to speak. And a sorcerer is one from whose mouth the dead appears to speak. These, the necromancer and the sorcerer, are executed by stoning, and one who inquires about the future through them is in violation of a prohibition.

גמ׳ מאי שנא הכא דקתני בעל אוב וידעוני ומאי שנא גבי כריתות דקתני בעל אוב ושייריה לידעוני

GEMARA: What is different here, that the mishna teaches the halakhot of both a necromancer and a sorcerer, and what is different in tractate Karetot (2a), that the mishna teaches the halakha of a necromancer but leaves out the halakha of a sorcerer?

ר' יוחנן אמר הואיל ושניהן בלאו אחד נאמרו

Rabbi Yoḥanan says: The mishna in tractate Karetot does not count a sorcerer separately in the list of those liable to receive karet since both a necromancer and a sorcerer are stated in the Torah in one prohibition. Consequently, one who unwittingly serves as both a necromancer and a sorcerer is not obligated to bring two sin-offerings, as would be one who transgressed two prohibitions punishable by karet.

ר"ל אמר ידעוני לפי שאין בו מעשה

Reish Lakish says: A sorcerer is not included in the list in tractate Karetot because his transgression does not involve an action; it involves only speech, and one does not bring a sin-offering for transgressing a prohibition that does not involve an action.

ור' יוחנן מאי שנא בעל אוב דנקט משום דפתח ביה קרא

The Gemara asks: And according to the opinion of Rabbi Yoḥanan, that a sorcerer is not listed because sorcery is included in the same prohibition as that of necromancy, what is different about a necromancer that the mishna uses specifically that example, and not the example of a sorcerer? The Gemara answers: The mishna chooses to mention the example of a necromancer because the verse introduces the prohibition with it; the case of a sorcerer is mentioned in the verse afterward (see Deuteronomy 18:11).

וריש לקיש מ"ט לא אמר כר' יוחנן אמר רב פפא חלוקין הן במיתה

The Gemara asks: And what is the reason that Reish Lakish did not say an explanation in accordance with the explanation of Rabbi Yoḥanan? Rav Pappa says: Reish Lakish disagrees with the opinion of Rabbi Yoḥanan because the cases of a necromancer and a sorcerer are divided in the verse with regard to the issue of the death penalty, i.e., one is liable to receive the death penalty for each transgression. Consequently, one would be obligated to bring a separate sin-offering for sorcery were it not for the fact that this transgression does not involve an action.

ור' יוחנן חלוקה דלאו שמה חלוקה דמיתה לא שמה חלוקה

And Rabbi Yoḥanan could respond that one cannot infer the number of sin-offerings one is obligated to bring based on capital punishment. With regard to determining the number of sin-offerings, where there is a division of a prohibition, i.e., when two acts are listed as two separate prohibitions, it is considered a division that leads to a separate sin-offering, but where there is a division of a separate death penalty, i.e., when the death penalties are listed separately, it is not considered a division in this regard.

ורבי יוחנן מ"ט לא אמר כריש לקיש אמר לך מתני' דכריתות ר' עקיבא היא דאמר לא בעינן מעשה

The Gemara asks: And what is the reason that Rabbi Yoḥanan did not say an explanation in accordance with the explanation of Reish Lakish, that a sorcerer is not listed in tractate Karetot because his transgression does not involve an action? The Gemara answers: Rabbi Yoḥanan could have said to you that the mishna of tractate Karetot is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Akiva, who says that we do not require an action for one to be obligated to bring a sin-offering.

וריש לקיש נהי דלא בעי ר' עקיבא מעשה רבה מעשה זוטא בעי

And Reish Lakish could have responded that although Rabbi Akiva does not require that one perform a significant action to be obligated to bring a sin-offering; nevertheless, he does require that one perform at least a minor action. Sorcery, by contrast, involves no action, and therefore even Rabbi Akiva would not deem one obligated to bring a sin-offering for it.

מגדף מאי מעשה איכא עקימת שפתיו הוי מעשה

The Gemara asks: In the case of a blasphemer, i.e., one who curses God, what action is there? He merely speaks, and nevertheless Rabbi Akiva deems him obligated to bring a sin-offering. Clearly, Rabbi Akiva maintains that no action is necessary at all. The Gemara answers: The twisting of his lips while he speaks is considered an action.

בעל אוב מאי מעשה איכא הקשת זרועותיו הוי מעשה

The Gemara asks: What action is there in the case of a necromancer? The Gemara answers: The striking of his arms against each other in order to create the sound of a voice is considered an action.

ואפילו לרבנן והתניא אינו חייב אלא על דבר שיש בו מעשה כגון זיבוח קיטור וניסוך והשתחואה

The Gemara asks: And is this considered an action even according to the opinion of the Rabbis, who require a significant action for one to be obligated to bring a sin-offering? But isn’t it taught in a baraita: One is liable for idol worship only for a matter that involves an action, e.g., sacrificing an idolatrous offering, burning incense to an idol, and pouring a libation to an idol, and bowing to an idol.

ואמר ר"ל מאן תנא השתחואה ר"ע היא דאמר לא בעינן מעשה ור' יוחנן אמר אפילו תימא רבנן כפיפת קומתו לרבנן הוי מעשה

And Reish Lakish says: Who is the tanna who taught bowing among these examples? It is Rabbi Akiva, who says: We do not require a significant action for one to be liable; any action is sufficient. And Rabbi Yoḥanan says: You may even say that the baraita is in accordance with the opinion of the Rabbis, as the bending of one’s height, according to the opinion of the Rabbis, is considered a significant action.

השתא לריש לקיש כפיפת קומתו לרבנן לא הוי מעשה הקשת זרועותיו דבעל אוב הוי מעשה

Now consider, if according to Reish Lakish, the bending of one’s height is not considered a significant action according to the Rabbis, can a less noticeable action such as the striking of the necromancer’s arms be considered a significant action?

כי קאמר ר"ל נמי לר"ע אבל לרבנן לא

The Gemara answers: Reish Lakish concedes that according to the Rabbis, the striking of the necromancer’s arms is not considered a significant action. When Reish Lakish says that it is considered an action, that statement is also in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Akiva. But according to the Rabbis, it is not considered a significant action.

אי הכי יצא מגדף ובעל אוב מיבעי ליה

The Gemara challenges: If so, that the Rabbis hold that the transgression of a necromancer does not involve an action, then when stating in tractate Karetot (2a) that if one unwittingly transgresses a prohibition for which one is liable to receive karet if he transgresses it intentionally he is obligated to bring a sin-offering, excluding a blasphemer, as he does not perform an action, the Rabbis should have stated: Excluding a blasphemer and a necromancer, as they do not perform an action.

אלא אמר עולא במקטר לשד

Rather, Ulla says: The reason the Rabbis do not state: Excluding a blasphemer and a necromancer, is that when the mishna there lists the case of a necromancer it is referring to one who burns incense to a demon in order to raise the dead, which is a significant action.

א"ל רבא מקטר לשד עובד עבודת כוכבים הוא אלא אמר רבא במקטר לחבר

Rava said to Ulla: One who burns incense to a demon is an idol worshipper, which is already mentioned in the mishna in Karetot. Rather, Rava says: The mishna there is referring to one who burns incense to the demons not as a form of worship but as a manner of sorcery, in order to gather the demons, i.e., to bring them to one place.

אמר ליה אביי המקטר לחבר חובר חבר הוא

Abaye said to Ulla: One who burns incense to the demons in order to gather them is considered a charmer, whom the Torah relates to with a distinct prohibition (see Deuteronomy 18:11), which is not punishable by karet.

אין והתורה אמרה חובר זה בסקילה

Rava responded: Yes, such a person is also considered a charmer, but the Torah states that this particular charmer, who gathers demons, is included in the category of a necromancer, and therefore he is executed by stoning, and karet applies as well.

ת"ר (דברים יח, יא) חובר חבר אחד חבר גדול ואחד חבר קטן ואפי' נחשים ועקרבים

The Sages taught with regard to a charmer that the prohibition applies both to a gathering of large animals to one place and to a gathering of small animals to one place, and even to a gathering of snakes and scorpions.

אמר אביי הלכך האי מאן דצמיד זיבורא ועקרבא אע"ג דקא מיכוין דלא ליזקו אסור

Abaye says: Therefore, with regard to this person, who through sorcery gathers a hornet and a scorpion to harm each other, he is nevertheless prohibited from doing so even if he intends to prevent them from harming him.

ורבי יוחנן מאי שנא דכפיפת קומתו לרבנן הוי מעשה ועקימת שפתיו לא הוי מעשה

The Gemara asks: And as for Rabbi Yoḥanan, who holds that according to the Rabbis one is liable for bowing to an idol but not for blaspheming, what is different between these cases, leading to the conclusion that the bending of one’s height while bowing is considered an action according to the Rabbis, but a blasphemer’s twisting of his lips to speak is not considered an action?

אמר רבא שאני מגדף הואיל וישנו בלב

Rava says: The case of a blasphemer is different, since this transgression is in the heart as well. The sin of blasphemy does not apply to speech alone, as the blasphemer’s intention is central to the transgression; if he spoke without intention he is not considered a blasphemer. Consequently, one is not obligated to bring a sin-offering for such an action, as it is essentially a sin of the heart.