Sotah 48aסוטה מ״ח א
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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48aמ״ח א

ואנן קא יהבינן לכהנים

and we give it to the priests. Ezra penalized the Levites for not ascending with him from Babylonia to Eretz Yisrael by taking away their right to the first tithe. Consequently, the owner of the produce can no longer recite the declaration of tithes, which includes the statement: “I have done according to all that You have commanded me” (Deuteronomy 26:14), as he did not give the tithe to the Levites.

ולודי אשאר מעשרות אמר ריש לקיש כל בית שאין מתודה על מעשר ראשון שוב אין מתודה על שאר מעשרות מאי טעמא אמר אביי הואיל ופתח בו הכתוב תחילה

The Gemara asks: And let him at least declare that he donated the other tithes in the proper manner. Reish Lakish said: Any house that does not state the declaration about the first tithe can no longer state the declaration of the other types of tithes. The Gemara asks: What is the reason for this? Abaye said: Because the written verse began the declaration with the tithe given to the Levites: “And I also gave it to the Levite, and to the stranger, to the orphan, and to the widow, in accordance with all Your mitzvot that You commanded me” (Deuteronomy 26:13). If he cannot say the first part of the declaration, he cannot say the rest.

מכלל דאפרושי הוו מפרשי והא תניא אף הוא ביטל את הוידוי וגזר על הדמאי לפי ששלח בכל גבול ישראל וראה שאין מפרישין אלא תרומה גדולה בלבד ומעשר ראשון ומעשר שני מקצתן מעשרין ומקצתן אין מעשרין

The Gemara poses a question: The fact that Rabbi Yoḥanan canceled the declaration of tithes proves by inference that they would separate tithes in his days. But isn’t it taught (Tosefta 13:10): He, Yoḥanan the High Priest, also canceled the declaration of tithes and decreed with regard to doubtfully tithed produce [demai]? Why did he issue this decree? Because he sent messengers throughout the land, to all the borders of Eretz Yisrael to investigate, and saw that they would separate only teruma gedola, and as for first tithe and second tithe, some people would tithe and some people would not tithe.

אמר להם בני בואו ואומר לכם כשם שתרומה גדולה יש בה עון מיתה כך תרומת מעשר וטבל יש בהן עון מיתה

He said to them: My sons, come and I will tell you something: Just as the halakhot of teruma gedola include a transgression punishable by death at the hand of God, as one who ate produce from which teruma has not been separated is punished with death from Heaven, so too, the teruma of the tithe, the portion the Levites must separate from their first tithe and give to priests, and untithed produce, these include a transgression punishable by death at the hand of God, if the produce is eaten without the tithes having been taken.

עמד והתקין להם הלוקח פירות מע"ה מפריש מהן מעשר ראשון ומעשר שני מעשר ראשון מפריש ממנה תרומת מעשר ונותנה לכהן ומעשר שני עולה ואוכלו בירושלים מעשר ראשון ומעשר עני המוציא מחבירו עליו הראיה

Realizing that it was uncertain with regard to whether or not people were separating tithes, he arose and instituted an ordinance for them with regard to doubtfully tithed produce: One who purchases produce from an am ha’aretz, which may or may not have been tithed, must separate from the produce first tithe and second tithe due to the uncertainty as to whether or not the am ha’aretz separated them. As for first tithe, he then separates teruma of the tithe from it and gives it to a priest, and with regard to second tithe, he goes up and eats it in Jerusalem. However, with regard to the giving of first tithe to the Levite, and the poor man’s tithe, which can be eaten by anyone, as the Levites and the poor only have monetary rights to the produce, the burden of proof rests upon the claimant. Since the Levites and the poor cannot prove that these tithes had not already been set aside by the am ha’aretz, they cannot force the buyer to give them those tithes.

תרתי תקן ביטל וידוי דחבירים וגזר על דמאי של עמי הארץ

In any case, the Gemara proves from the baraita that not all people would separate tithes in the time of Yoḥanan the High Priest. The Gemara answers: He instituted two ordinances: He canceled the declaration of tithes of those devoted to the meticulous observance of mitzvot [ḥaverim], especially halakhot of teruma and tithes, and he decreed with regard to doubtfully tithed produce purchased from amei ha’aretz, because they may not have separated tithes at all.

ואף הוא ביטל את המעוררים מאי מעוררים אמר רחבה בכל יום ויום שהיו עומדים לוים על דוכן ואומרים (תהלים מד, כד) עורה למה תישן ה' אמר להן וכי יש שינה לפני המקום והלא כבר נאמר (תהלים קכא, ד) הנה לא ינום ולא יישן שומר ישראל אלא בזמן שישראל שרויין בצער ועובדי כוכבים בנחת ושלוה לכך נאמר עורה למה תישן ה'

§ The mishna further taught: He also nullified the actions of the awakeners. The Gemara poses a question: What are awakeners? Raḥava says: On each and every day when the Levites stood on the platform in the Temple they would say: “Awake, why do you sleep, O Lord?” (Psalms 44:24). Therefore, they were called awakeners. Yoḥanan the High Priest said to them: Does the Omnipresent sleep, that you call upon Him to awaken? But isn’t it already stated: “Behold, He that keeps Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps” (Psalms 121:4)? Rather, when the Jewish people are in a state of suffering, and the nations of the world are in a state of calm and serenity, it is with regard to this that it is stated: “Awake, why do you sleep, O Lord?” If the verse were to be recited every morning it would be interpreted in the wrong way, so Yoḥanan the High Priest therefore canceled the daily recitation of this verse.

ואת הנוקפים מאי נוקפים אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל שהיו מסרטין לעגל בין קרניו כדי שיפול דם בעיניו אתא איהו בטיל משום דמיחזי כי מומא

The mishna also taught that Yoḥanan the High Priest canceled the strikers. The Gemara asks: What are strikers? Rav Yehuda says that Shmuel says: They are those who would scratch the calf being prepared for slaughter as an offering between its horns, in order that blood should fall in its eyes, so that the animal would not see and resist being slaughtered. He came and nullified this practice, because it looked like they are causing a blemish.

במתניתא תנא שהיו חובטין אותו במקלות כדרך שעושין אותו לפני עבודת כוכבים אמר להם עד מתי אתם מאכילין נבילות למזבח נבילות הא שחיט להו אלא טריפות שמא ניקב קרום של מוח עמד והתקין להם טבעות בקרקע

A different explanation of strikers was taught in a baraita (Tosefta 13:9): They are those who would beat the calf with sticks, to stun it before it was slaughtered, in the manner that they do it before idols. Yoḥanan the High Priest said to them: Until when will you feed unslaughtered animal carcasses to the altar? The Gemara asks: Are these animal carcasses actually unslaughtered animal carcasses? They were slaughtered, i.e., they did not die of their own accord. Rather, he said that the beatings would cause them to become like animals with a wound that will cause them to die within twelve months [tereifot], as perhaps these beatings will perforate the membrane surrounding the brain, which would make the calf a tereifa. He therefore arose and instituted an ordinance for them to put rings in the ground with which they could secure the animals, thereby making it easier to slaughter the animals without having to scratch them between the horns or hit them with sticks.

עד ימיו היה פטיש מכה בירושלים בחולו של מועד

The mishna stated that until the days of Yoḥanan the High Priest the hammer of smiths would strike in Jerusalem. The Gemara explains: This is referring to the intermediate days of a Festival. Though certain types of labor are permitted on those days, the banging of a hammer was outlawed, as the noise it made would detract from the feeling of sanctity of the day.

כל ימיו לא היה אדם צריך לשאול על הדמאי כדאמרן

They further taught that in all of his days a person did not need to inquire with regard to doubtfully tithed produce. The Gemara notes that this is like that which we stated above, that he instituted an ordinance with regard to the tithing of doubtfully tithed produce.

מתני׳ משבטלה סנהדרין בטל השיר מבית המשתאות שנאמר (ישעיהו כד, ט) בשיר לא ישתו יין וגו'

MISHNA: This mishna continues with the list of items that were nullified. From the time when the Sanhedrin ceased song was also nullified from the places of feasts, i.e., it was no longer permitted to sing at a feast where wine was served, as it is stated: “With song they shall not drink wine” (Isaiah 24:9).

משמתו נביאים הראשונים בטלו אורים ותומים משחרב בהמ"ק בטל השמיר ונופת צופים ופסקו אנשי אמנה מישראל שנאמר (תהלים יב, ב) הושיעה ה' כי גמר חסיד וגו'

From the time when the early prophets died the Urim VeTummim was nullified. From the time when the Second Temple was destroyed the shamir worm ceased to exist and also the sweetness of the honeycomb, as the verse says with regard to the laws of the Torah: “More to be desired are they than gold, indeed, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb” (Psalms 19:11). And men of faith ceased from being among the Jewish people, as it is stated: “Help, Lord, for the pious man is finished; for the faithful fail from among the children of men” (Psalms 12:2).

רשב"ג אומר העיד ר' יהושע מיום שחרב בהימ"ק אין יום שאין בו קללה ולא ירד הטל לברכה וניטל טעם הפירות ר' יוסי אומר אף ניטל שומן הפירות ר' שמעון בן אלעזר אומר הטהרה נטלה את (הטעם ואת) הריח המעשרות נטלו את שומן הדגן וחכמים אומרים הזנות והכשפים כילו את הכל

Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel says that Rabbi Yehoshua testified: From the day the Temple was destroyed there is no day that does not include some form of curse. And since then the dew has not descended for blessing, and the taste has been removed from fruit. Rabbi Yosei says: Since then, the fat of fruit has also been removed. Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar says: Since then, the lost purity has removed the taste and the aroma from fruit; the tithes that were not separated have removed the fat of the grain. And the Sages say: Promiscuity and witchcraft have consumed it all.

גמ׳ וממאי דמשבטלה סנהדרי כתיב אמר רב הונא בריה דרב יהושע דאמר קרא (איכה ה, יד) זקנים משער שבתו בחורים מנגינתם

GEMARA: The Gemara poses a question with regard to the first clause of the mishna: And from where is it derived that the verse: “With song they shall not drink wine” (Isaiah 24:9) is written about the period from the time when the Sanhedrin was nullified? Rav Huna, son of Rav Yehoshua, said: From that which the verse states: “The Elders have ceased from the gate, the young men from their music” (Lamentations 5:14). This indicates that the dissolution of the Sanhedrin, who are the Elders from the gate, is linked to the end of the young men singing.

אמר רב אודנא דשמעא זמרא תעקר אמר רבא זמרא בביתא חורבא בסיפא שנאמר (צפניה ב, יד) קול ישורר בחלון חרב בסף כי ארזה ערה

Rav said: The ear that hears song should be uprooted, as it is prohibited to listen to music after the destruction of the Temple. Rava said: If there is song in a house there will be destruction on the threshold, as it is stated: “Voices shall sing in the windows; desolation shall be in the doorposts; for its cedar work shall be uncovered” (Zephaniah 2:14).

מאי כי ארזה ערה אמר ר' יצחק בית המסובך בארזים עיר הוא אלא אפי' בית המסובך בארזים מתרועע אמר רב אשי שמע מינה כי מתחיל חורבא בסיפא מתחיל שנאמר חרב בסף ואיבעית אימא מהכא (ישעיהו כד, יב) ושאיה יוכת שער אמר מר בר רב אשי לדידי חזי ליה ומנגח כי תורא

The word “uncovered” [era] could be read to mean: Its city [ira]. The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of: For its cedar work shall be its city? Furthermore, Rabbi Yitzḥak wondered when he said: Is a house interlaced with cedars not as strong as a city, and therefore not threatened by desolation? Rather, it means that even a house interlaced with cedars will become unstable [mitroe’a] if song is heard there. Rav Ashi said: Learn from it that when the destruction starts it starts with the threshold, as it is stated: “Desolation shall be in the posts.” And if you wish, say instead that they derive this idea from here: “In the city is left desolation, and the gate is smitten unto ruin [she’iyya]” (Isaiah 24:12). The term “ruin” here is referring to the destructive demon known as She’iyya, who strikes the gate first. Mar bar Rav Ashi said: I saw it, this She’iyya, and it was goring and wreaking havoc like an ox.

אמר רב הונא זמרא דנגדי ודבקרי שרי דגרדאי אסיר רב הונא בטיל זמרא קם מאה אווזי בזוזא ומאה סאה חיטי בזוזא ולא איבעי אתא רב חסדא זלזיל ביה איבעאי אווזא בזוזא ולא משתכח

Rav Huna said: The song of those who pull ships and lead the herd is permitted, for their singing assists them to establish a rhythm in their work. However, that of weavers is forbidden, as they sing only for their own enjoyment. The Gemara relates that subsequently, Rav Huna nullified all types of song, and this led to a general blessing: The price of one hundred ducks stood at a dinar, and one hundred se’a of wheat at a dinar, and there was no desire for them even at such a cheap price, due to their great abundance. Later, when Rav Ḥisda came and belittled this prohibition, people began to sing again. As a result, prices increased greatly, and this led to a situation whereby one wanted a single duck for one dinar and it could not be found.

אמר רב יוסף זמרי גברי ועני נשי פריצותא זמרי נשי ועני גברי כאש בנעורת למאי נפקא מינה לבטולי הא מקמי הא

Rav Yosef said: If men sing and women respond, this is licentiousness. If women sing and men respond, it causes the evil inclination to burn as if one were setting fire to chips of kindling. The Gemara poses a question: What difference is there? Rav Yosef indicates that in any case both are prohibited. The Gemara answers: To nullify one before the other, i.e., if it is impossible to ban singing entirely, they should at least stop the most problematic form.

אמר ר' יוחנן כל השותה בארבעה מיני זמר מביא חמש פורעניות לעולם שנאמר (ישעיהו ה, יא) הוי משכימי בבקר שכר ירדפו מאחרי בנשף יין ידליקם והיה כנור ונבל תוף וחליל ויין משתיהם ואת פועל ה' לא יביטו

Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Anyone who drinks wine with the accompaniment of four types of instruments brings five types of retribution to the world, as it is stated: “Woe to them who rise early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; who tarry late into the night, until wine inflames them. And the harp and the psaltery, the drum and the pipe and wine, are at their feasts, but they do not regard the work of the Lord” (Isaiah 5:11–12).

מה כתיב אחריו (ישעיהו ה, יג) לכן גלה עמי מבלי דעת שגורמין גלות לעולם וכבודו מתי רעב שמביאין רעב לעולם והמונו צחה צמא שגורמין לתורה שתשתכח מלומדיה (ישעיהו ה, טו) וישח אדם וישפל איש שגורמין שפלות לשונאו של הקב"ה ואין איש אלא הקדוש ב"ה שנאמר (שמות טו, ג) ה' איש מלחמה ועיני גבוהים תשפלנה שגורמין שפלות של ישראל

After listing the sin of those who drink wine with musical accompaniment, the verse states their punishment: What is written afterward? “Therefore, My people have gone into captivity, for want of knowledge” (Isaiah 5:13), meaning that they cause exile to the world; “and their honorable men are famished” (Isaiah 5:13), as they bring famine to the world; “and their multitude are parched with thirst” (Isaiah 5:13), that they cause the Torah, which is compared to water, to be forgotten by those who learn it. “And mankind is bowed down, and man is humbled” (Isaiah 5:15), that they cause the enemy of the Holy One, Blessed be He, i.e., God Himself, to be brought down, as “man” in the phrase “and man is humbled” means nothing other than the Holy One, Blessed be He, as it is stated: “The Lord is a man of war” (Exodus 15:3). The verse continues: “And the eyes of the lofty are humbled” (Isaiah 5:15), that they cause the Jewish people to be brought down. These are the five retributions.

ומה כתיב אחריו לכן

And what punishment is written afterward for the people who drank wine with musical accompaniment? “Therefore,