Shevuot 39a:8שבועות ל״ט א
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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39aל״ט א

שכל העולם כולו נזדעזע בשעה שאמר הקב"ה בסיני (שמות כ, ו) לא תשא את שם ה' אלהיך לשוא

that the entire world trembled when the Holy One, Blessed be He, said at Mount Sinai: “You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain, for the Lord will not hold guiltless one who takes His name in vain” (Exodus 20:7).

וכל עבירות שבתורה נאמר בהן ונקה וכאן נאמר לא ינקה וכל עבירות שבתורה נפרעין ממנו וכאן ממנו וממשפחתו שנאמר (קהלת ה, ה) אל תתן את פיך לחטיא את בשרך ואין בשרו אלא קרובו שנאמר (ישעיהו נח, ז) ומבשרך לא תתעלם

And be aware that with regard to all of the other transgressions in the Torah it is stated: “And will…clear the guilty [venakkeh]” (Exodus 34:7); whereas here, with regard to taking a false oath, it is stated: “Will not hold guiltless [lo yenakkeh].” And be aware that with regard to all of the other transgressions in the Torah, punishment is exacted only from the transgressor, whereas here, punishment is exacted from him and from his family, as it is stated: “Do not allow your mouth to bring your flesh into guilt” (Ecclesiastes 5:5). The verse indicates that one who sins with his mouth, by taking a false oath, causes his flesh to be punished as well; and one’s flesh is nothing other than his relative, as it is stated: “And that you not hide yourself from your own flesh” (Isaiah 58:7).

וכל עבירות שבתורה נפרעין ממנו וכאן ממנו ומכל העולם כולו שנאמר (הושע ד, ב) אלה וכחש

And be aware that with regard to all of the other transgressions in the Torah, punishment is exacted only from the transgressor; whereas here, punishment is exacted from him and from the entire world, as it is stated: “Swearing, and lying, and murdering, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break all bounds…Therefore, the land mourns, and everyone who dwells therein languishes” (Hosea 4:2–3).

ואימא עד דעביד להו לכולהו לא ס"ד דכתיב (ירמיהו כג, י) מפני אלה אבלה הארץ וכתיב (הושע ד, ג) על כן תאבל הארץ ואומלל כל יושב בה

The Gemara suggests: And why not say that punishment is not exacted from the entire world unless he commits all of the sins mentioned in the verse? The Gemara answers: This should not enter your mind, as it is written: “Because of swearing the land mourns” (Jeremiah 23:10), indicating that taking a false oath is sufficient to cause the land to mourn. And it is similarly written in the verse in Hosea: “Therefore, the land mourns, and everyone who dwells therein languishes.” Both verses employ a term of mourning.

וכל עבירות שבתורה אם יש לו זכות תולין לו שנים ושלשה דורות וכאן נפרעין ממנו לאלתר שנאמר (זכריה ה, ד) הוצאתיה נאם ה' צבאות ובאה אל בית הגנב ואל בית הנשבע בשמי לשקר ולנה בתוך ביתו וכלתו ואת עציו ואת אבניו

The baraita continues with the judges’ forewarning: And be aware that with regard to all the other transgressions in the Torah, if the transgressor has merit, God suspends his punishment for two or three generations, and only if his descendants follow in his ways are they punished. Whereas here, punishment is exacted from him immediately, as it is stated: “This is the curse that goes forth over the face of the whole land…I cause it to go forth, says the Lord of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of he who swears falsely by My name; and it shall abide in the midst of his house and shall consume it, with its timber and its stones” (Zechariah 5:3–4).

הוצאתיה לאלתר ובאה אל בית הגנב זה הגונב דעת הבריות שאין לו ממון אצל חבירו וטוענו ומשביעו ואל בית הנשבע בשמי לשקר כמשמעו ולנה בתוך ביתו וכלתו ואת עציו ואת אבניו הא למדת דברים שאין אש ומים מכלין אותן שבועת שקר מכלה אותן

The baraita analyzes the verse: “I cause it to go forth” means immediately. “And it shall enter into the house of the thief”; this is referring to one who deceives people, e.g., one who has no money in the possession of another, but claims money from him and administers an oath to him in court, thereby causing an oath to be taken in vain. “And into the house of he who swears falsely by My name” is as it indicates, in accordance with its straightforward meaning. From the end of the verse: “And it shall abide in the midst of his house and shall consume it, with its timber and its stones,” you have therefore learned that a false oath consumes things that even fire and water do not consume, such as stones.

אם אמר איני נשבע פוטרין אותו מיד ואם אמר הריני נשבע העומדין שם אומרים זה לזה (במדבר טז, כו) סורו נא מעל אהלי האנשים הרשעים האלה וגו' וכשמשביעין אותו אומרים לו הוי יודע שלא על דעתך אנו משביעין אותך אלא על דעת המקום ועל דעת ב"ד

The baraita continues: If the defendant says at this point: I will not take an oath, the court dismisses him immediately, and rules him liable to pay. And if he says: I will take an oath, the people standing there say to each other: “Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest you be swept away in all their sins” (Numbers 16:26). And when the judges administer the oath to him, they say to him: Be aware that we administer an oath to you not according to your understanding of the oath, but according to the objective understanding of the Omnipresent and according to the understanding of the court, i.e., the judges’ intention.

שכן מצינו במשה רבינו כשהשביע את ישראל אמר להן דעו שלא על דעתכם אני משביע אתכם אלא על דעת המקום ועל דעתי שנאמר (דברים כט, יג) ולא אתכם לבדכם וגו'

This is as we have found written with regard to Moses, our teacher. When he administered an oath to the Jewish people in the plains of Moab so that they would accept the Torah upon themselves, he said to them: Know that it is not according to your understanding that I administer an oath to you, but according to the understanding of the Omnipresent and according to my understanding. As it is stated: “Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath” (Deuteronomy 29:13), which is homiletically interpreted to mean: Not only according to your intention.

כי את אשר ישנו פה אין לי אלא אותן העומדין על הר סיני דורות הבאים וגרים העתידין להתגייר מנין ת"ל (דברים כט, יד) ואת אשר איננו

Having quoted a verse, the baraita tangentially interprets the subsequent verse. From the phrase: “But with he who stands here with us this day” (Deuteronomy 29:14), I have derived only that those who stood at Mount Sinai were included in this covenant. From where do I derive that the subsequent generations, and the converts who will convert in the future, were also included? The verse states: “And also with he who is not here with us this day” (Deuteronomy 29:14).

ואין לי אלא מצוה שקיבלו עליהם מהר סיני מצות העתידות להתחדש כגון מקרא מגילה מנין ת"ל (אסתר ט, כז) קימו וקבלו קיימו מה שקבלו כבר

And I have derived only that the mitzvot that the Jewish people accepted upon themselves at Mount Sinai were included in the oath. From where is it derived that mitzvot that were to be initiated in the future, for example, the reading of the Megilla, the Scroll of Esther, on Purim, were also included? The verse states: “The Jews ordained and took upon themselves…that they would keep these two days” (Esther 9:27), which is homiletically interpreted to mean: They ordained, in the generation of Esther, mitzvot that they had already accepted upon themselves by oath in the plains of Moab.

מאי אף היא בלשונה נאמרה

§ The Gemara analyzes the baraita. What is the precise meaning of the statement: An oath imposed by the judges may also be recited in its language?

כדתנן אלו נאמרין בכל לשון פרשת סוטה וידוי מעשר קריאת שמע ותפלה וברכת המזון ושבועת העדות ושבועת הפקדון וקאמר נמי שבועת הדיינין אף היא בלשונה נאמרה

The Gemara answers: It is as we learned in a mishna (Sota 32a): These are recited in any language and it is not required that they be recited in Hebrew: The portion of the warning and the oath administered by the priest to a woman suspected by her husband of having been unfaithful [sota]; the declaration of tithes, which occurs after the third and the sixth year of the seven-year Sabbatical cycle, when one declares that he has given his tithes appropriately; the recitation of Shema; and the Amida prayer; and Grace after Meals; and the oath of testimony, where one takes an oath that he does not have any testimony to provide on a given issue; and the oath on a deposit, where one takes an oath that he does not have possession of another’s deposit. All these may be recited in any language. And the baraita also states, as an addendum to this halakha, that an oath imposed by the judges may also be recited in its language, i.e., in any language.

אמר מר אומרין לו הוי יודע שכל העולם כולו נזדעזע בשעה שאמר הקב"ה לא תשא את שם ה' אלהיך לשוא מ"ט אילימא משום דאתיהב בסיני עשר דברות נמי אתיהב

§ The Master said in the baraita above that the judges say to him: Be aware that the entire world trembled when the Holy One, Blessed be He, said: “You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain.” What is the reason that the entire world trembled? If we say it was because this prohibition was given at Mount Sinai, this is difficult, as when the entire world trembled, the rest of the Ten Commandments were also given at Mount Sinai. This quality is not unique to this specific prohibition.

ואלא משום דחמירא ומי חמירא והתנן אלו הן קלות עשה ולא תעשה חוץ מלא תשא חמורות זו כריתות ומיתות ב"ד ולא תשא עמהן

And if it is rather due to the fact that this prohibition is severe, is it more severe than all the other prohibitions? But didn’t we learn in a baraita: These are minor transgressions: Violation of an ordinary positive mitzva and an ordinary negative mitzva, except for: “You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain.” And these are major transgressions: Those for which one is liable to receive excision from the World-to-Come [karet] or a court-imposed death penalty; and “You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain” is also among them. Evidently, this transgression is no more severe than transgressions that incur karet or the death penalty.

אלא כדקתני טעמא וכל עבירות שבתורה נאמר בהן ונקה וכאן נאמר לא ינקה

Rather, the reason the world trembled particularly when this prohibition was given is as it is taught subsequently in the baraita: And with regard to all of the other transgressions in the Torah it is stated: “And will…clear the guilty,” whereas here, it is stated: “Will not hold guiltless.”

וכל עבירות שבתורה לא נאמר בהן לא ינקה והכתיב (שמות לד, ז) ונקה לא ינקה

The Gemara asks: And is it not stated with regard to all of the other transgressions in the Torah that God “will not hold guiltless [lo yenakkeh]” one who transgresses? But isn’t it written: “And Who will by no means clear the guilty [venakkeh lo yenakkeh]” (Exodus 34:7)?

ההוא מיבעי ליה לכדרבי אלעזר דתניא רבי אלעזר אומר אי אפשר לומר ונקה שכבר נאמר לא ינקה א"א לומר לא ינקה שכבר נאמר ונקה הא כיצד מנקה הוא לשבים ואינו מנקה לשאינן שבים

The Gemara answers: That verse is necessary for that which is derived through the homiletic interpretation of Rabbi Elazar, as it is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Elazar says: It is not possible to say: And will clear the guilty [venakkeh], about all transgressions, since: Will not clear the guilty [lo yenakkeh], is already stated. And it is not possible to say: Will not clear the guilty [lo yenakkeh], since: And will clear the guilty [venakkeh], is already stated. How can these texts be reconciled? The Holy One, Blessed be He, clears those guilty ones who repent and does not clear those who do not repent.

כל עבירות שבתורה נפרעין ממנו וכאן ממנו וממשפחתו וכל עבירות שבתורה ממשפחתו לא

§ It is stated in the baraita that with regard to all of the transgressions in the Torah, punishment is exacted only from the transgressor, whereas here, punishment is exacted from him and from his family. The Gemara asks: And is punishment not exacted from the transgressor’s family with regard to all of the other transgressions in the Torah?

והכתיב (ויקרא כ, ה) ושמתי אני את פני באיש ההוא ובמשפחתו ותניא אמר ר"ש אם הוא חטא משפחתו מה חטאת לומר לך אין לך משפחה שיש בה מוכס שאין כולה מוכסין ושיש בה לסטים שאין כולה לסטים מפני שמחפין עליו

But isn’t it written in the Torah with regard to one who worships Molech: “Then I will set My face against that man, and against his family, and I will cut him off” (Leviticus 20:5)? And it is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Shimon said: If he sinned, how did his family sin? Why are they punished? This serves to tell you that there is no family that has an unauthorized tax collector among them in which all of the family members are not regarded as unauthorized tax collectors, and similarly, there is no family that has a bandit [listim] among them in which all of the family members are not regarded as bandits. This is because they cover for him. Evidently, punishment is exacted from the transgressor’s family with regard to transgressions other than taking a false oath.

התם בדינא אחרינא הכא בדינא דידיה כדתניא רבי אומר והכרתי אותו מה ת"ל לפי שנאמר ושמתי אני את פני יכול כל המשפחה כולה בהיכרת ת"ל אותו אותו בהיכרת ולא כל המשפחה כולה בהיכרת

The Gemara answers: There, with regard to other transgressions, the transgressor’s family is punished with another punishment, less severe than the one the transgressor receives, whereas here, with regard to a false oath, the transgressor’s family is punished with his punishment. As it is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi says: Why must the verse state with regard to one who worships Molech: “And I will cut him off”? Since it is stated earlier in the verse: “Then I will set My face against that man, and against his family,” one might have thought that the entire family is liable to be punished with karet. Therefore, the verse states: “And I will cut him off,” indicating that only he is liable to be punished with karet, whereas his entire family is not liable to be punished with karet.

וכל עבירות שבתורה נפרעין ממנו וכאן ממנו ומכל העולם כולו (שנאמר אלה וכחש וכתיב על כן תאבל הארץ ואימא עד דעביד להו לכולהו לא ס"ד דכתיב מפני אלה אבלה הארץ)

§ The baraita teaches: And with regard to all of the other transgressions in the Torah, punishment is exacted only from him, whereas here, punishment is exacted from him and from the entire world, as it is stated: “Swearing and lying, and murdering, and stealing, and committing adultery,” and it is written: “Therefore, the land mourns.” The Gemara suggests: And why not say that punishment is not exacted from the entire world unless he commits all the sins mentioned in the verse? The Gemara answers: This should not enter your mind, as it is written: “Because of swearing the land mourns” (Jeremiah 23:10), indicating that a false oath is sufficient to cause the land to mourn.

וכל עבירות שבתורה מכל העולם לא והכתיב (ויקרא כו, לז) וכשלו איש באחיו איש בעון אחיו מלמד שכל ישראל ערבים זה בזה

The Gemara asks: And with regard to all of the other transgressions in the Torah, is punishment not exacted from the entire world? But isn’t it written: “And they shall stumble one upon another” (Leviticus 26:37)? This verse is homiletically interpreted to mean that they shall stumble spiritually, one due to the iniquity of another, which teaches that the entire Jewish people are considered guarantors for one another. Apparently, any transgression makes the entire world liable to be punished.