Shevuot 36aשבועות ל״ו א
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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36aל״ו א

ומנין לעשות (אלה שאין עמה שבועה כאלה שיש עמה שבועה) ושבועה שאין עמה אלה כשבועה שיש עמה אלה תלמוד לומר (ויקרא ה, א) ושמעה קול אלה ושמעה אלה ושמעה קול

And from where is it derived to render an ala with which the word oath is not written like an ala with which the word oath is written and an oath with which the word ala is not written like an oath with which the word ala is written? The verse states: “And he hears the voice of an ala (Leviticus 5:1). The phrase “the voice of an ala” is unnecessary, as it would have been sufficient to write: And he heard an ala. It is interpreted as though it were written: And he heard an ala and he heard a voice.

אמר רבי אבהו מנין לאלה שהיא שבועה שנאמר (יחזקאל יז, יג) ויבא אתו באלה וגו' וכתיב (דברי הימים ב לו, יג) וגם במלך נבוכדנצר מרד אשר השביעו באלהים

Rabbi Abbahu says: From where is it derived with regard to ala that it is an oath? It is derived as it is stated: “And he took from the seed of the monarchy…and brought it into an ala (Ezekiel 17:13); and it is stated with regard to Zedekiah, who was from the seed of the monarchy: “And he also rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar who had administered an oath to him by God” (II Chronicles 36:13). This indicates that the ala is an oath.

תנא ארור בו נידוי בו קללה בו שבועה

§ The Gemara proceeds to define a related term. It is taught with regard to the term arur: There is an element of ostracism within it, there is an element of curse within it, and there is an element of oath within it.

בו נידוי דכתיב (שופטים ה, כג) אורו מרוז אמר מלאך ה' אורו ארור יושביה ואמר עולא בארבע מאה שיפורי שמתיה ברק למרוז

The Gemara elaborates: There is an element of ostracism within it, as it is written in the song of Deborah: “Curse [oru] Meroz, said the angel of God; cursed with a curse [oru aror] are its inhabitants” (Judges 5:23). And Ulla says: With blasts from four hundred shofarot, Barak ostracized the city of Meroz, indicating that the term arur has the connotation of ostracism.

בו קללה דכתיב (דברים כז, יג) ואלה יעמדו על הקללה וכתיב (דברים כז, טו) ארור האיש אשר יעשה פסל וגו'

There is an element of curse within it, as it is written with regard to the ceremony at Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal: “And these shall stand for the curse” (Deuteronomy 27:13), and it is written: “Cursed [arur] be the man who fashions a graven image, an abomination to the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret. And all the people shall answer and say: Amen” (Deuteronomy 27:15).

בו שבועה דכתיב (יהושע ו, כו) וישבע יהושע בעת ההיא לאמר ארור האיש לפני ה' וגו' ודלמא תרתי עבד להו אשבעינהו ולייטינהו

There is an element of oath within it, as it is written: “And Joshua administered an oath at that time saying: Arur be the man before God who shall arise and rebuild this city, Jericho” (Joshua 6:26). The Gemara challenges: But perhaps Joshua performed two actions to the people; he administered an oath to them and he cursed them, and the term arur relates to the curse, not to the oath.

אלא מהכא (שמואל א יד, כד) ואיש ישראל נגש ביום ההוא ויואל שאול את העם לאמר ארור האיש אשר יאכל וגו' וכתיב (שמואל א יד, כז) ויהונתן לא שמע בהשביע אביו את העם ודלמא הכא נמי תרתי עבד להו אשבעינהו ולייטינהו

Rather, the fact that there is an element of oath in the term arur is derived from here: “And the men of Israel were distressed on that day, and Saul administered an oath [vayyoel] to the people, saying: Arur is the man who eats bread until the evening and I will be avenged on my enemies” (I Samuel 14:24). And it is written: “But Jonathan did not hear when his father administered the oath to the people” (I Samuel 14:27). The Gemara challenges: But perhaps, here too, Saul performed two actions to the people; he administered an oath to them and he cursed them.

מי כתיב וארור השתא דאתית להכי התם נמי לא כתיב וארור

The Gemara answers: Is it written in that context ve’arur, with a conjunctional prefix, which would indicate that arur is independent of the oath that was administered? Arur is written without a prefix, indicating that it is an intrinsic part of the oath. The Gemara notes: Now that you have arrived at this insight, there too, in the context of Joshua, ve’arur with a conjunctional prefix is not written, indicating that arur is an intrinsic part of the oath.

אמר רבי יוסי ברבי חנינא אמן בו שבועה בו קבלת דברים בו האמנת דברים

§ Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says with regard to the term amen: There is an element of oath within it, there is an element of acceptance of the statement and agreement within it, and there is an element of confirmation of the statement, i.e., that he believes and prays that the statement will be fulfilled, within it.

בו שבועה דכתיב (במדבר ה, כב) ואמרה האשה אמן אמן

The Gemara elaborates: There is an element of oath within it, as it is written: “And the priest shall administer an oath to the woman…and the woman shall say: Amen, amen” (Numbers 5:21–22). “Amen” is the oath that the woman takes.

בו קבלת דברים דכתיב (דברים כז, כו) ארור אשר לא יקים את דברי התורה הזאת לעשות אותם ואמר כל העם אמן

There is an element of acceptance of the statement within it, as it is written: “Cursed is he who shall not confirm the matters of this Torah to perform them; and all the people shall say: Amen” (Deuteronomy 27:26), expressing their agreement to fulfill all the matters of the Torah.

בו האמנת דברים דכתיב (ירמיהו כח, ה) ויאמר ירמיה [הנביא] (אל חנניהו) אמן כן יעשה ה' יקם ה' את דבריך

There is an element of confirmation of the statement within it, as it is written: “And Jeremiah the prophet said: Amen, may the Lord do so; may the Lord uphold your statement” (Jeremiah 28:6).

אמר רבי אלעזר לאו שבועה הן שבועה בשלמא לאו שבועה דכתיב (בראשית ט, טו) ולא יהיה עוד המים למבול וכתיב (ישעיהו נד, ט) כי מי נח זאת לי אשר נשבעתי אלא הן שבועה מנא לן סברא הוא מדלאו שבועה הן נמי שבועה

§ Rabbi Elazar says: No, or any negative expression, can be an oath, and yes, or any positive expression, can be an oath. The Gemara notes: Granted that no can be an oath, as it is written: “And the waters shall no more become a flood” (Genesis 9:15). And it is written with regard to that negative commitment: “As this is as the waters of Noah unto Me; as I have taken an oath that the waters of Noah shall no more pass over the earth” (Isaiah 54:9). But from where do we derive the fact that yes can be an oath? The Gemara answers: It is based on logical reasoning; from the fact that no can be an oath, yes too can be an oath.

אמר רבא והוא דאמר לאו לאו תרי זימני והוא דאמר הן הן תרי זימני דכתיב (בראשית ט, יא) ולא יכרת כל בשר עוד ממי המבול ולא יהיה עוד המים למבול ומדלאו תרי זימני הן נמי תרי זימני:

Rava said: And a negative expression is an oath only in a case where one said no, no, stating the term two times, or it is in a case where one said yes, yes, stating the term two times, as it is written: “All flesh shall not be excised any more by floodwaters” (Genesis 9:11), and it is again written: “And the waters shall no more become a flood” (Genesis 9:15). And from the fact that no is an oath only when stated two times, yes, too, is an oath only when stated two times.

המקלל בכולן חייב דברי ר"מ וחכמים פוטרין:

§ The mishna teaches: One who curses God employing any of these names or appellations of God is liable to be executed; this is the statement of Rabbi Meir. And the Rabbis deem him exempt.

תנו רבנן (ויקרא כד, טו) איש [איש] כי יקלל אלהיו ונשא חטאו מה ת"ל והלא כבר נאמר (ויקרא כד, טז) ונקב שם ה' מות יומת יכול לא יהא חייב אלא על שם המיוחד בלבד מנין לרבות את הכינויין תלמוד לומר איש איש כי יקלל אלהיו וגו' מכל מקום דברי רבי מאיר וחכמים אומרים על שם מיוחד במיתה ועל הכינויין באזהרה:

The Sages taught that it is written: “Each and every man who shall curse his God shall bear his sin” (Leviticus 24:15). Why must the verse state this? Wasn’t it already stated: “And he who blasphemes the name of the Lord shall be put to death” (Leviticus 24:16)? One might have thought that one would be liable only for cursing the ineffable name of God alone. From where is it derived to include liability for one who curses the appellations of God? It is derived as the verse states: “Each and every man who shall curse his God,” indicating that one is liable in any case, even for cursing an appellation. This is the statement of Rabbi Meir. The Rabbis say: For cursing the ineffable name of God, one is liable to be executed with a court-imposed death penalty, as it is stated explicitly in the verse. And for cursing one of the appellations of God, one is liable for violating a prohibition, but he is not liable to be executed.

והמקלל אביו ואמו וכו': מאן חכמים

The mishna teaches: And one who curses his father and his mother employing any of these names or appellations of God is liable to be executed; this is the statement of Rabbi Meir. And the Rabbis deem him exempt. The Gemara asks: Who are the Rabbis whose opinion is cited here?

רבי מנחם בר יוסי דתניא רבי מנחם בר יוסי אומר (ויקרא כד, טז) בנקבו שם יומת מה ת"ל שם לימד על המקלל אביו ואמו שאינו חייב עד שיקללם בשם:

The Gemara answers: It is Rabbi Menaḥem bar Yosei, as it is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Menaḥem bar Yosei says: It is stated with regard to one who blasphemes God: “When he blasphemes a name, he shall be put to death” (Leviticus 24:16). Why must the verse state “a name,” when it is stated at the beginning of the verse: “And he who blasphemes the name of the Lord shall be put to death”? This extraneous word “name” taught with regard to one who curses his father or his mother that he is not liable to be executed through stoning until he curses them in the name of God.

והמקלל עצמו וחבירו כו': אמר רבי ינאי ודברי הכל

The mishna teaches: One who curses himself or another employing any of these names or appellations of God violates a prohibition. Rabbi Yannai says: And everyone agrees that this is the halakha. Even the Rabbis, who hold that one who blasphemes God or curses his parents is liable only if he employs the Tetragrammaton, agree here that one is liable to receive lashes when he curses employing an appellation.

עצמו דכתיב (דברים ד, ט) רק השמר לך ושמור נפשך מאד כדרבי אבין אמר רבי אילעא דאמר כל מקום שנאמר השמר פן ואל אינו אלא לא תעשה וחבירו דכתיב (ויקרא יט, יד) לא תקלל חרש:

The Gemara proceeds to cite sources for these prohibitions. The prohibition against cursing oneself is derived as it is written: “Only observe for yourself, and keep your soul diligently” (Deuteronomy 4:9). This is in accordance with that which Rabbi Avin says that Rabbi Ile’a says: Everywhere in the Torah that the terms observe, lest, or do not are stated, it is nothing other than a prohibition. One who curses himself does not keep, i.e., take care of, himself and consequently violates the prohibition. And cursing another is derived as it is written: “Do not curse the deaf” (Leviticus 19:14), which applies to others just as it does to one who is deaf.

יכך ה' אלהים וכן יככה אלהים זו היא אלה הכתובה בתורה: יתיב רב כהנא קמיה דרב יהודה ויתיב וקאמר הא מתניתין כדתנן א"ל כנה

§ The mishna teaches that if one says: The Lord God shall strike you (see Deuteronomy 28:22), and likewise if one says: God shall strike you if you do not come to testify, that is a curse that is written in the Torah. The Gemara relates: Rav Kahana sat before Rav Yehuda, and he sat and stated the mishna verbatim as we learned it. Rav Yehuda said to him: Employ a euphemism and formulate it in the third person rather than the second person: God shall strike him instead of you, so that it will not sound as though you are cursing your teacher.

יתיב ההוא מרבנן קמיה דרב כהנא ויתיב וקאמר (תהלים נב, ז) גם אל יתצך לנצח יחתך ויסחך מאהל ושרשך מארץ חיים סלה א"ל כנה

Likewise, the Gemara relates: A certain one of the Sages sat before Rav Kahana, and he sat and said the verse: “God will likewise break you forever; He will take you up and pluck you from the tent, and uproot you from the land of the living, Selah” (Psalms 52:7). Rav Kahana said to him: Employ a euphemism and formulate it in the third person rather than the second person, so that it will not sound as though you are cursing your teacher.

תרתי למה לי מהו דתימא ה"מ מתניתין אבל בקראי אימא לא מכנינן קמ"ל:

The Gemara asks: Why do I need two incidents to relate the same concept? The Gemara answers: It was necessary to relate the second incident as well. Lest you say that this statement applies only to the mishna, as in the Oral Torah, where the content, not the formulation, is significant, emending the text in the interest of euphemism is permitted; but with regard to verses in the Bible, where the formulation, i.e., each word, is significant, say that we do not employ a euphemism. Therefore, the Gemara teaches us that it is permitted to employ a euphemism even when reciting verses.

אל יכך ויברכך וייטיב לך רבי מאיר מחייב וחכמים פוטרין:

§ The mishna teaches that if one says to the witnesses: God shall not strike you, or: God shall bless you, or: God shall benefit you if you come and testify, Rabbi Meir deems him liable, as one may infer from that statement that if he fails to testify God will strike him, or will not bless or benefit him. And the Rabbis deem him exempt because the curse is not explicitly stated.

והא לית ליה לר"מ מכלל לאו אתה שומע הן איפוך

The Gemara asks: But isn’t it so that Rabbi Meir does not accept the principle: From a negative statement you can infer a positive statement, and in an agreement, he requires the parties to explicitly state both the positive and the negative stipulations? The Gemara says: Reverse the attribution of the opinions and say that it is the Rabbis who hold that the witness is liable and it is Rabbi Meir who deems him exempt.

כי אתא רבי יצחק תנא כדתנן אמר רב יוסף השתא דאנן תנן הכי וכי אתא רבי יצחק תני הכי ש"מ דוקא תנן

The Gemara relates: When Rabbi Yitzḥak came from Eretz Yisrael to Babylonia, he taught the mishna as we learned it and did not reverse the attribution of the opinions. Rav Yosef said: Now that we have learned the mishna in this formulation, and when he came, Rabbi Yitzḥak taught the mishna in this formulation, conclude from it that the formulation that we learned in the mishna was taught specifically in that manner and that is the correct formulation.

אלא קשיא כי לית ליה בממונא אבל באיסורא אית ליה

The Gemara challenges: But the question remains difficult, as Rabbi Meir does not accept the principle: From a negative statement you can infer a positive statement. The Gemara answers: When Rabbi Meir does not accept that principle, it is only in cases involving monetary matters; but in cases involving ritual matters, e.g., an oath of testimony discussed in the mishna, he accepts the principle, and the witness is liable even in that case.

הרי סוטה דאיסורא הוא

The Gemara asks: But sota is a case involving ritual, and not monetary matters, and the verse states only what will befall the sota if she did not commit adultery: “And if you did not go astray to defilement, while under your husband, you shall be absolved [hinnaki]” (Numbers 5:19), and the verse does not state what will befall the woman if she committed adultery.

ואמר ר' תנחום בר חכינאי (במדבר ה, יט) הנקי כתיב טעמא דכתיב הנקי הא לאו הכי מכלל לאו אתה שומע הן לא אמרינן

A difficulty is raised: According to Rabbi Meir, who does not accept the principle: From a negative statement you can infer a positive statement, both the positive and the negative eventualities should have been written in the verse. And Rabbi Tanḥum bar Ḥakhinai says to resolve the difficulty: Hinnaki is written, meaning: You shall be absolved. But since it is written without the letter yod, it is interpreted as though ḥinnaki is written, meaning: You shall be strangulated, which is the eventuality if she committed adultery. The Gemara concludes: The reason that this verse is not difficult is that hinnaki is written and ḥinnaki is interpreted; but if that were not the case, we do not say: From a negative statement you can infer a positive statement. Apparently, even in ritual matters, Rabbi Meir does not accept the principle.