Sanhedrin 74a:21סנהדרין ע״ד א
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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74aע״ד א

רב פפא אמר במפותה ודברי הכל

Rav Pappa says: The ruling of the mishna, which lists his sister among those for whom he must pay a fine, is stated with regard to a young woman who was seduced, and in the case of seduction all agree that the woman is not saved at the cost of the seducer’s life, as the intercourse was consensual.

אביי אמר ביכול להציל באחד מאבריו ורבי יונתן בן שאול היא דתניא רבי יונתן בן שאול אומר רודף שהיה רודף אחר חבירו להורגו ויכול להצילו באחד מאבריו ולא הציל נהרג עליו

Abaye says: The ruling of the mishna is stated with regard to a young woman who was raped in a case where one was able to save her by injuring the pursuer in one of his limbs, so that it was not necessary to kill him in order to achieve her rescue, and it is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yonatan ben Shaul. As it is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Yonatan ben Shaul says: If a pursuer was pursuing another to kill him, and one was able to save the pursued party without killing the pursuer, but instead by injuring him in one of his limbs, but he did not save him in this manner and rather chose to kill him, he is executed on his account as a murderer.

מאי טעמא דרבי יונתן בן שאול דכתיב (שמות כא, כב) וכי ינצו אנשים (יחדו) וגו' וא"ר אלעזר במצות שבמיתה הכתוב מדבר דכתיב (שמות כא, כג) ואם אסון יהיה ונתתה נפש תחת נפש ואפ"ה אמר רחמנא ולא יהיה אסון ענוש יענש

The Gemara explains: What is the reason of Rabbi Yonatan ben Shaul? As it is written: “If men strive and strike a woman with child, so that her fruit departs, and yet no further harm ensues, he shall be punished, according to the demands that the woman’s husband makes on him; and he shall pay it as the judges determine” (Exodus 21:22). And concerning this Rabbi Elazar says: The verse is speaking of striving to kill, where each man was trying to kill the other. The proof is that it is written: “But if any harm ensues, then you shall give life for life” (Exodus 21:23), and if there was no intention to kill, why should he be executed? And even so, the Merciful One states: “And yet no further harm ensues, he shall be punished,” teaching that he must pay the monetary value of the fetus to the woman’s husband.

אי אמרת בשלמא יכול להציל באחד מאבריו לא ניתן להצילו בנפשו היינו דמשכחת לה דיענש כגון שיכול להציל באחד מאבריו

Granted, if you say that in a case where one is able to save the pursued party by injuring the pursuer in one of his limbs, he may not save the pursued party at the cost of the pursuer’s life, and if he killed the pursuer rather than injure him he is liable to receive the death penalty, that is how you find the possibility that the one who ultimately struck the woman would be punished. This would be in a case where it was possible to save the man under attack, i.e., one of the men who were fighting, by injuring the pursuer, i.e., the other man, who ultimately struck the woman, in one of his limbs. In this case, the one who ultimately struck the woman was not subject to being killed. Therefore, he is subject to pay a fine.

אלא אי אמרת יכול להציל באחד מאבריו נמי ניתן להצילו בנפשו היכי משכחת לה דיענש

But if you say that even if one is able to save the pursued party by injuring the pursuer in one of his limbs, he can also save him at the cost of the pursuer’s life, how can you find the possibility that the one who ultimately struck the woman would be punished? When he was going to strike the other man, he was at risk of being killed, as anybody could have killed him at that time, and the halakha is that anybody who commits an act warranting death exempts himself from any monetary obligation ensuing from that act.

דילמא שאני הכא דמיתה לזה ותשלומין לזה

The Gemara tries to refute this reasoning: Perhaps it is different here because his two liabilities are not on account of the same person; rather, his liability to be put to death is on account of this person, the man with whom he fought, while his liability to give payment is on account of that person, the woman he ultimately struck. Consequently, he is liable to receive both punishments.

לא שנא דאמר רבא רודף שהיה רודף אחר חבירו ושיבר את הכלים בין של נרדף ובין של כל אדם פטור מאי טעמא מתחייב בנפשו הוא

The Gemara rejects this distinction: There is no difference. As Rava says: If a pursuer was pursuing another to kill him, and during the course of the chase the pursuer broke vessels belonging either to the person being pursued or to anyone else, he is exempt from paying for the broken vessels. What is the reason for this? The reason is that he is liable to be killed, since everyone is entitled to kill him in order to save the victim’s life, and one who commits an act rendering himself liable to be killed is exempt from any monetary obligation arising from that act, even if the payment were to be made to a person not connected to the act for which he is liable to be killed.

ונרדף ששיבר את הכלים של רודף פטור של כל אדם חייב של רודף פטור שלא יהא ממונו חביב עליו מגופו של כל אדם חייב שמציל עצמו בממון חבירו

Rava continues: And if the pursued party broke vessels while fleeing from the pursuer, if those vessels belonged to the pursuer, the pursued party is exempt. But if they belonged to anyone else, he is liable to pay for them. The Gemara explains: If the vessels belonged to the pursuer, he is exempt. The reason for this is so that the pursuer’s property should not be more precious to the pursuer than his own body. Were the one being pursued to cause the pursuer bodily harm, he would be exempt; all the more so when the pursued one breaks the pursuer’s vessels. And if the vessels belonged to anyone else, he is liable, as he saved himself at the expense of another’s property, and that other person should not have to suffer a loss on his account.

ורודף שהיה רודף אחר רודף להצילו ושיבר את הכלים בין של רודף בין של נרדף בין של כל אדם פטור ולא מן הדין שאם אי אתה אומר כן נמצא אין לך כל אדם שמציל את חבירו מיד הרודף:

Rava continues: But if one pursuer was pursuing another pursuer in order to save him, i.e., if he was trying to save the person being pursued by killing the pursuer, and while doing so he broke vessels belonging either to the pursuer or to the one being pursued, or to anyone else, he is exempt from paying for them. The Gemara comments: This is not by strict law, as if one who saves himself at another’s expense is liable to pay for the damage, certainly one who saves another at the expense of a third party should bear similar liability. Rather, it is an ordinance instituted by the Sages. This is because if you do not say that he is exempt, it will be found that no person will save another from a pursuer, as everyone will be afraid of becoming liable to pay for damage caused in the course of saving the pursued party.

אבל הרודף אחר בהמה: תניא רשב"י אומר העובד עבודת כוכבים ניתן להצילו בנפשו מק"ו ומה פגם הדיוט ניתן להצילו בנפשו פגם גבוה לא כל שכן וכי עונשין מן הדין קא סבר עונשין מן הדין

§ The mishna teaches: But with regard to one who pursues an animal to sodomize it, or one who seeks to desecrate Shabbat, or one who is going to engage in idol worship, they are not saved at the cost of their lives. It is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai says: One who seeks to worship idols may be saved from transgressing at the cost of his life. This is derived through an a fortiori inference: If to avoid the degradation of an ordinary person, such as in the case of a rapist who degrades his victim, he can be saved even at the cost of his life, all the more so is it not clear that one may kill the transgressor to avoid the degrading of the honor of God through the worship of idols? The Gemara asks: But does the court administer punishment based on an a fortiori inference? The Gemara answers: Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai maintains that the court administers punishment based on an a fortiori inference.

תניא רבי אלעזר ברבי שמעון אומר המחלל את השבת ניתן להצילו בנפשו סבר לה כאבוה דאמר עונשין מן הדין ואתיא שבת בחילול חילול מעבודת כוכבים

It is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, says: One who seeks to desecrate Shabbat may be saved from transgressing even at the cost of his life. The Gemara explains that Rabbi Elazar holds in accordance with the opinion of his father, Rabbi Shimon, who says: The court administers punishment based on an a fortiori inference, and the halakha with regard to one who desecrates Shabbat is derived from the halakha with regard to idol worship by way of a verbal analogy between the word “desecration” mentioned in the context of Shabbat and the word “desecration” mentioned in the context of idol worship.

א"ר יוחנן משום ר"ש בן יהוצדק נימנו וגמרו בעליית בית נתזה בלוד כל עבירות שבתורה אם אומרין לאדם עבור ואל תהרג יעבור ואל יהרג חוץ מעבודת כוכבים וגילוי עריות ושפיכות דמים

§ The Gemara now considers which prohibitions are permitted in times of mortal danger. Rabbi Yoḥanan says in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yehotzadak: The Sages who discussed this issue counted the votes of those assembled and concluded in the upper story of the house of Nitza in the city of Lod: With regard to all other transgressions in the Torah, if a person is told: Transgress this prohibition and you will not be killed, he may transgress that prohibition and not be killed, because the preserving of his own life overrides all of the Torah’s prohibitions. This is the halakha concerning all prohibitions except for those of idol worship, forbidden sexual relations, and bloodshed. Concerning those prohibitions, one must allow himself to be killed rather than transgress them.

ועבודת כוכבים לא והא תניא א"ר ישמעאל מנין שאם אמרו לו לאדם עבוד עבודת כוכבים ואל תהרג מנין שיעבוד ואל יהרג ת"ל (ויקרא יח, ה) וחי בהם ולא שימות בהם

The Gemara asks: And should one not transgress the prohibition of idol worship to save his life? But isn’t it taught in a baraita: Rabbi Yishmael said: From where is it derived that if a person is told: Worship idols and you will not be killed, from where is it derived that he should worship the idol and not be killed? The verse states: “You shall keep My statutes and My judgments, which a person shall do, and he shall live by them” (Leviticus 18:5), thereby teaching that the mitzvot were given to provide life, but they were not given so that one will die due to their observance.

יכול אפילו בפרהסיא תלמוד לומר (ויקרא כב, לב) ולא תחללו את שם קדשי ונקדשתי

The baraita continues: One might have thought that it is permitted to worship the idol in this circumstance even in public, i.e., in the presence of many people. Therefore, the verse states: “Neither shall you profane My holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the Lord Who sanctifies you” (Leviticus 22:32). Evidently, one is not required to allow himself to be killed so as not to transgress the prohibition of idol worship when in private; but in public he must allow himself to be killed rather than transgress.

אינהו דאמור כר"א דתניא ר"א אומר (דברים ו, ה) ואהבת את ה' אלהיך בכל לבבך ובכל נפשך ובכל מאדך אם נאמר בכל נפשך למה נאמר בכל מאדך ואם נאמר בכל מאדך למה נאמר בכל נפשך

The Gemara answers: Those in the upper story of the house of Nitza stated their opinion in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer. As it is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Eliezer says: It is stated: “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:5). If it is stated: “With all your soul,” why is it also stated: “With all your might,” which indicates with all your material possessions? And if it is stated: “With all your might,” why is it also stated: “With all your soul”? One of these clauses seems to be superfluous.

אם יש לך אדם שגופו חביב עליו מממונו לכך נאמר בכל נפשך ואם יש לך אדם שממונו חביב עליו מגופו לכך נאמר בכל מאדך

Rather, this serves to teach that if you have a person whose body is more precious to him than his property, it is therefore stated: “With all your soul.” That person must be willing to sacrifice even his life to sanctify God’s name. And if you have a person whose property is more precious to him than his body, it is therefore stated: “With all your might.” That person must even be prepared to sacrifice all his property for the love of God. According to the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer, one must allow himself to be killed rather than worship an idol.

גילוי עריות ושפיכות דמים כדרבי דתניא רבי אומר (דברים כב, כו) כי כאשר יקום איש על רעהו ורצחו נפש כן הדבר הזה וכי מה למדנו מרוצח

From where is it derived that one must allow himself to be killed rather than transgress the prohibition of forbidden sexual relations and the prohibition of bloodshed? This is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi. As it is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi says: With regard to the rape of a betrothed young woman it is written: “But you shall do nothing to the young woman; the young woman has committed no sin worthy of death; for as when a man rises against his neighbor, and slays him, so too with this matter” (Deuteronomy 22:26). But why would the verse mention murder in this context? But what do we learn here from a murderer?

מעתה הרי זה בא ללמד ונמצא למד מקיש רוצח לנערה המאורסה מה נערה המאורסה ניתן להצילו בנפשו אף רוצח ניתן להצילו בנפשו

Now, the mention of murder came in order to teach a halakha about the betrothed young woman, and it turns out that, in addition, it derives a halakha from that case. The Torah juxtaposes the case of a murderer to the case of a betrothed young woman to indicate that just as in the case of a betrothed young woman one may save her at the cost of the rapist’s life, so too, in the case of a murderer, one may save the potential victim at the cost of the murderer’s life.

ומקיש נערה המאורסה לרוצח מה רוצח יהרג ואל יעבור אף נערה המאורסה תהרג ואל תעבור

And conversely, the Torah juxtaposes a betrothed young woman to a murderer to indicate that just as with regard to a potential murderer, the halakha is that if one was ordered to murder another, he must be killed and not transgress the prohibition of bloodshed, so too, with regard to a betrothed young woman, if she is faced with rape, she must be killed and not transgress the prohibition of forbidden sexual relations.

רוצח גופיה מנא לן סברא הוא דההוא דאתא לקמיה דרבה ואמר ליה אמר לי מרי דוראי זיל קטליה לפלניא ואי לא קטלינא לך אמר ליה לקטלוך ולא תיקטול מי יימר דדמא דידך סומק טפי דילמא דמא דהוא גברא סומק טפי

The Gemara asks: From where do we derive this halakha with regard to a murderer himself, that one must allow himself to be killed rather than commit murder? The Gemara answers: It is based on logical reasoning that one life is not preferable to another, and therefore there is no need for a verse to teach this halakha. The Gemara relates an incident to demonstrate this: As when a certain person came before Rabba and said to him: The lord of my place, a local official, said to me: Go kill so-and-so, and if not I will kill you, what shall I do? Rabba said to him: It is preferable that he should kill you and you should not kill. Who is to say that your blood is redder than his, that your life is worth more than the one he wants you to kill? Perhaps that man’s blood is redder. This logical reasoning is the basis for the halakha that one may not save his own life by killing another.

כי אתא רב דימי א"ר יוחנן לא שנו אלא שלא בשעת גזרת המלכות) אבל בשעת גזרת המלכות אפי' מצוה קלה יהרג ואל יעבור

§ When Rav Dimi came from Eretz Yisrael to Babylonia, he said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: The Sages taught that one is permitted to transgress prohibitions in the face of mortal danger only when it is not a time of religious persecution. But in a time of religious persecution, when the gentile authorities are trying to force Jews to violate their religion, even if they issued a decree about a minor mitzva, one must be killed and not transgress.

כי אתא רבין א"ר יוחנן אפי' שלא בשעת גזרת מלכות לא אמרו אלא בצינעא אבל בפרהסיא אפי' מצוה קלה יהרג ואל יעבור

When Ravin came from Eretz Yisrael to Babylonia, he said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Even when it is not a time of religious persecution, the Sages said that one is permitted to transgress a prohibition in the face of mortal danger only when he was ordered to do so in private. But if he was ordered to commit a transgression in public, even if they threaten him with death if he does not transgress a minor mitzva, he must be killed and not transgress.

מאי מצוה קלה אמר רבא בר רב יצחק אמר רב

The Gemara asks: What is a minor mitzva for this purpose? Rava bar Yitzḥak says that Rav says: