Sanhedrin 67bסנהדרין ס״ז ב
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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67bס״ז ב

מיתה אחת

one type of death penalty, namely, decapitation. Since that is the only type of capital punishment that applies to gentiles, it cannot be derived through a verbal analogy that the same type applies to a Jewish sorceror.

בן עזאי אומר נאמר (שמות כב, יז) מכשפה לא תחיה ונאמר (שמות כב, יח) כל שוכב עם בהמה מות יומת סמכו ענין לו מה שוכב עם בהמה בסקילה אף מכשף בסקילה

The baraita continues: Ben Azzai says that it is stated: “You shall not allow a witch to live” (Exodus 22:17), and it is stated in the following verse: “Whoever lies with an animal shall be put to death” (Exodus 22:18). The fact that the Torah juxtaposes this matter to that matter is to teach that just as one who lies with an animal is executed by stoning (see Leviticus, chapter 20), so too, a warlock is executed by stoning.

אמר לו רבי יהודה וכי מפני שסמכו ענין לו נוציא לזה בסקילה אלא אוב וידעוני בכלל מכשפים היו ולמה יצאו להקיש עליהן ולומר לך מה אוב וידעוני בסקילה אף מכשף בסקילה

With regard to this derivation, Rabbi Yehuda said to him: And because the Torah juxtaposes this matter with that matter, shall we take this person out to be stoned? Should he be sentenced to the most severe type of capital punishment on that basis? Rather, the source is as follows: A necromancer and a sorcerer were included in the general category of warlocks, and why were they singled out from the rest, with their prohibition and punishment stated independently? This was done in order to draw an analogy to them and say to you: Just as a necromancer and a sorcerer are executed by stoning, so too, a warlock is executed by stoning.

לרבי יהודה נמי ליהוו אוב וידעוני שני כתובים הבאים כאחד וכל שני כתובין הבאין כאחד אין מלמדין

The Gemara asks: According to the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda as well, let the punishment with regard to a necromancer and a sorcerer be considered two verses that come as one, i.e., that teach the same matter, and therefore the halakha of other cases cannot be derived from it, according to the principle that any two verses that come as one do not teach about other cases. In other words, if a halakha is taught with regard to two individual cases in the Torah, the understanding is that this halakha applies only to those cases. Had this halakha applied to all other relevant cases as well, it would not have been necessary for the Torah to teach it twice. The fact that two cases are mentioned indicates that they are the exceptions rather than the rule.

אמר רבי זכריה עדא אמרה קסבר ר' יהודה שני כתובין הבאין כאחד מלמדין

Rabbi Zekharya says: This means that Rabbi Yehuda holds that two verses that come as one do teach about other cases.

אמר רבי יוחנן למה נקרא שמן כשפים שמכחישין פמליא של מעלה:

§ Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Why is sorcery called keshafim? Because it is an acronym for: Contradicts the heavenly entourage [shemakhḥishin pamalia shel mala]. Sorcery appears to contradict the laws of nature established by God.

(דברים ד, לה) אין עוד מלבדו אמר רבי חנינא אפילו לדבר כשפים

The verse states: “To you it was shown, so that you should know that the Lord is God; there is none else besides Him” (Deuteronomy 4:35). Rabbi Ḥanina says: This is true even with regard to a matter of sorcery; sorcery is ineffective against a righteous person.

ההיא איתתא דהות קא מהדרא למשקל עפרא מתותי כרעיה דרבי חנינא אמר לה אי מסתייעת זילי עבידי אין עוד מלבדו כתיב

The Gemara relates: There was a certain woman who was attempting to take dust from under the feet of Rabbi Ḥanina in order to perform sorcery on him and harm him. Rabbi Ḥanina said to her: If you succeed, go and do it. I am not concerned about it, as it is written: “There is none else besides Him.”

איני והאמר רבי יוחנן למה נקרא שמן מכשפים שמכחישין פמליא של מעלה שאני רבי חנינא דנפיש זכותיה

The Gemara asks: Is that so? But doesn’t Rabbi Yoḥanan say: Why are sorcerers called mekhashefim? Because it is an acronym for: Contradicts the heavenly entourage. This indicates that one should be wary of sorcery. The Gemara answers: Rabbi Ḥanina is different, as his merit is great, and sorcery certainly has no effect on such a righteous person.

אמר רבי אייבו בר נגרי אמר רבי חייא בר אבא בלטיהם אלו מעשה שדים בלהטיהם אלו מעשה כשפים וכן הוא אומר (בראשית ג, כד) ואת להט החרב המתהפכת

Rabbi Aivu bar Nagri says that Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Abba says that in the verse: “And the magicians of Egypt did in that manner with their secret arts [belateihem]” (Exodus 7:22), these words are describing acts of employing demons, which are invisible, and their actions are therefore hidden [balat]. With regard to the similar term belahateihem (Exodus 7:11), these are acts of sorcery, which sorcerers perform themselves, without using demons. And likewise it says: “And the flaming [lahat] sword that turned every way” (Genesis 3:24), referring to a sword that revolves by itself.

אמר אביי דקפיד אמנא שד דלא קפיד אמנא כשפים

Abaye says: A sorcerer who is particular about using a certain utensil for his sorcery is employing a demon; one who is not particular about using a certain utensil is performing an act of sorcery.

אמר אביי הלכות כשפים כהלכות שבת יש מהן בסקילה ויש מהן פטור אבל אסור ויש מהן מותר לכתחלה

Abaye says: The halakhot of sorcery are like the halakhot of Shabbat, in that their actions can be divided into three categories: There are some of them for which one is liable to be executed by stoning, and there are some of them for which one is exempt from punishment by Torah law but they are prohibited by rabbinic law, and there are some of them that are permitted ab initio.

העושה מעשה בסקילה האוחז את העינים פטור אבל אסור מותר לכתחלה כדרב חנינא ורב אושעיא כל מעלי שבתא הוו עסקי בהלכות יצירה ומיברי להו עיגלא תילתא ואכלי ליה

Abaye elaborates: One who performs a real act of sorcery is liable to be executed by stoning. One who deceives the eyes is exempt from punishment, but it is prohibited for him to do so. What is permitted ab initio is to act like Rav Ḥanina and Rav Oshaya: Every Shabbat eve they would engage in the study of the halakhot of creation, and a third-born calf would be created for them, and they would eat it in honor of Shabbat.

אמר רב אשי חזינא ליה לאבוה דקרנא דנפיץ ושדי כריכי דשיראי מנחיריה

Rav Ashi said: I saw Karna’s father perform a magic trick in which he would blow his nose and cast rolls of silk from his nostrils by deceiving the eye.

(שמות ח, טו) ויאמרו החרטומים אל פרעה אצבע אלהים היא אמר ר' אליעזר מיכן שאין השד יכול לבראות בריה פחות מכשעורה

With regard to the verse: “And the magicians said to Pharaoh: This is the finger of God” (Exodus 8:15), Rabbi Eliezer says: It is derived from here that a demon cannot create an entity smaller than the size of a barley grain. Consequently, the magicians were not capable of duplicating the plague of lice, and they realized that this was not an act of sorcery but was performed by God.

רב פפא אמר האלהים אפילו כגמלא נמי לא מצי ברי האי מיכניף ליה והאי לא מיכניף ליה

Rav Pappa said: By God! They cannot create even an entity as large as a camel. They do not create anything. Rather, they can gather these large animals, leading them from one place to another, but they cannot gather those small animals.

א"ל רב לרבי חייא לדידי חזי לי ההוא טייעא דשקליה לספסירא וגיידיה לגמלא וטרף ליה בטבלא וקם אמר ליה לבתר הכי דם ופרתא מי הואי אלא ההיא אחיזת עינים הוה

Rav said to Rabbi Ḥiyya: I myself saw a certain Arab who took a sword and sliced a camel and then beat a drum [betavla], and the camel arose from the dead. Rabbi Ḥiyya said to him: Was there blood and excretion afterward in that place, which flowed from the camel when it was sliced? Rather, since there was none, that was clearly a deception of the eyes and not sorcery.

זעירי איקלע לאלכסנדריא של מצרים זבן חמרא כי מטא לאשקוייה מיא פשר וקם גמלא דוסקניתא אמרו ליה אי לאו זעירי את לא הוה מהדרינן לך מי איכא דזבין מידי הכא ולא בדיק ליה אמיא:

The Gemara relates: Ze’eiri happened to come to Alexandria of Egypt. He bought a donkey. When he was about to give it water to drink the magic thawed when the donkey touched the water and it was revealed that it was not a donkey, and it turned into the plank of a bridge. The ones who sold it to him said to him: If you were not Ze’eiri, a distinguished person, we would not refund you the money for the donkey. Is there anyone who buys an item here and does not examine it first with water? Since sorcery was widespread there, anyone who bought an item examined it in order to find out if it was affected by sorcery, and if one did not examine an acquired item by exposing it to water and it turned out to be under a spell, he suffered the loss.

ינאי איקלע לההוא אושפיזא אמר להו אשקין מיא קריבו שתיתא חזא דקא מרחשן שפוותה שדא פורתא מיניה הוו עקרבי אמר להו אנא שתאי מדידכו אתון נמי שתו מדידי אשקייה הואי חמרא רכבה סליק לשוקא אתא חברתה פשרה לה חזייה דרכיב וקאי אאיתתא בשוקא

The Gemara relates: A man named Yannai arrived at a certain inn. He said to the innkeepers: Give me water to drink. They brought him flour mixed with water. He saw that the lips of the innkeeper woman were moving, and he cast a bit of the drink to the ground, and it turned into scorpions, and he understood that the innkeepers performed sorcery on the drink. Yannai said to them: I drank from yours; you too drink from mine, and he also performed sorcery on the drink. He gave it to her to drink and she turned into a donkey. He rode upon her and went to the marketplace. Her friend came and released her from the sorcery, and people saw him riding on a woman in the marketplace.

(שמות ח, ב) ותעל הצפרדע ותכס את ארץ מצרים אמר ר' אלעזר צפרדע אחת היתה השריצה ומלאה כל ארץ מצרים

It is stated with regard to the plagues of Egypt: “And the frog came up and covered the land of Egypt” (Exodus 8:2). Noting that the term “the frog” is written in the singular, Rabbi Elazar says: At first it was one frog; it spawned and filled the entire land of Egypt with frogs.

כתנאי רבי עקיבא אומר צפרדע אחת היתה ומלאה כל ארץ מצרים אמר לו רבי אלעזר בן עזריה עקיבא מה לך אצל הגדה כלה מדברותיך ולך אצל נגעים ואהלות צפרדע אחת היתה שרקה להם והם באו:

The Gemara comments: This matter is subject to a dispute between tanna’im: Rabbi Akiva says: It was one frog, and it spawned and filled the entire land of Egypt with frogs. Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya said to him: Akiva, what are you doing occupying yourself with the study of aggada? This is not your field of expertise. Take your statements to the tractates of Nega’im and Oholot. In other words, it is preferable that you teach the halakhot of the impurity of leprosy and the impurity imparted in a tent, which are among the most difficult areas of halakha and are within your field of expertise. Rather, the verse is to be understood as follows: It was one frog; it whistled to the other frogs, and they all came after it.

אמר ר' עקיבא כו':

§ In the mishna, Rabbi Akiva says in the name of Rabbi Yehoshua that two people can each gather cucumbers by sorcery, one of whom is exempt, as he merely deceives the eyes, and one of whom is liable, as he performs real sorcery.