חוּץ מִלֹּא תִשָּׂא לֹא תִשָּׂא וְכֹל דְּדָמֵי לֵיהּ
except for: “You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain” (Exodus 20:6), about which the Torah states: “For God will not absolve him who takes His name in vain” (Exodus 20:6). The Gemara answers: It is not that this is the only negative mitzva that is not a minor transgression; rather, it is: “You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain” and any prohibition similar to it, meaning all severe prohibitions that carry punishment by a court.
תָּא שְׁמַע רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר כֹּל שֶׁהוּא מִלֹּא תִשָּׂא וּלְמַטָּה תְּשׁוּבָה מְכַפֶּרֶת מִלֹּא תִשָּׂא וּלְמַעְלָה תְּשׁוּבָה תּוֹלָה וְיוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים מְכַפֵּר לֹא תִשָּׂא וְכׇל דְּדָמֵי לֵיהּ
The Gemara proposes: Come and hear from that which was taught: Rabbi Yehuda says: For any sin from “You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain” and below, i.e., prohibitions less severe than that, repentance atones. For any sin from “You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain” and above, repentance suspends punishment and Yom Kippur atones. The Gemara rejects this: This does not constitute proof either, since one could say that it is referring to: “You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain” and anything similar to it.
תָּא שְׁמַע לְפִי שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בְּחוֹרֵב תְּשׁוּבָה וְנַקֵּה יָכוֹל אַף לֹא תִשָּׂא עִמָּהֶן תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר לֹא יְנַקֶּה יָכוֹל אַף שְׁאָר חַיָּיבֵי לָאוִין כֵּן תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר אֶת שְׁמוֹ שְׁמוֹ הוּא דְּאֵינוֹ מְנַקֶּה אֲבָל מְנַקֶּה שְׁאָר חַיָּיבֵי לָאוִין
Come and hear from a different source that was taught: Since it was stated at Horeb with regard to repentance: “Absolve,” one might have thought that even the transgression of: “You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain” is included among them; therefore, the verses states: “Will not absolve” (Exodus 20:6). One might have thought this is also true for those who are liable for violating all other prohibitions; therefore, the verse states: “His name.” God does not absolve the one who disrespects His name, but He absolves those who are liable for violating all other prohibitions and repent. This is proof that those who violate all other prohibitions are not comparable to one who violates: “You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain.”
תַּנָּאֵי הִיא דְּתַנְיָא עַל מָה תְּשׁוּבָה מְכַפֶּרֶת עַל עֲשֵׂה וְעַל לֹא תַעֲשֶׂה שֶׁנִּיתַּק לַעֲשֵׂה וְעַל מָה תְּשׁוּבָה תּוֹלָה וְיוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים מְכַפֵּר עַל כָּרֵיתוֹת וְעַל מִיתוֹת בֵּית דִּין וְעַל לֹא תַעֲשֶׂה גָּמוּר
The Gemara answers: This is a dispute between tanna’im, as it was taught in a baraita: For what does repentance atone? It atones for a positive mitzva and for a negative mitzva that can be rectified through a positive mitzva. And for what does repentance suspend punishment and Yom Kippur atone? It is for sins punishable by karet, and for sins punishable by the death penalty from the earthly court, and for full-fledged negative mitzvot. This indicates that there is a tanna who distinguishes between prohibitions that warrant lashes and those that do not. Therefore, there is a tannaitic dispute as to whether or not prohibitions that warrant punishment by the courts can be rectified by repentance alone.
אָמַר מָר לְפִי שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בְּחוֹרֵב וְנַקֵּה מְנָא לַן דְּתַנְיָא רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר אוֹמֵר אִי אֶפְשָׁר לוֹמַר נַקֵּה שֶׁכְּבָר נֶאֱמַר לֹא יְנַקֶּה וְאִי אֶפְשָׁר לוֹמַר לֹא יְנַקֶּה שֶׁכְּבָר נֶאֱמַר נַקֵּה הָא כֵּיצַד מְנַקֶּה הוּא לְשָׁבִין וְאֵינוֹ מְנַקֶּה לְשֶׁאֵינָן שָׁבִין
§ Since the Gemara cited this baraita, it now clarifies part of it. The Master said: Since it was stated at Horeb with regard to repentance: “Absolve.” The Gemara asks: From where do we derive this concept that repentance was mentioned there? The Gemara answers: As it was taught in a baraita that Rabbi Elazar says: It is not possible to say “absolve” (Exodus 34:7) about all transgressions, since “will not absolve” is already stated (Exodus 34:7). And it is not possible to say “will not absolve,” since “absolve” is already stated. How so? The Holy One, Blessed be He, absolves those who repent and does not absolve those who do not repent. Therefore, both “repentance” and “absolve” were mentioned at Horeb.
שָׁאַל רַבִּי מַתְיָא בֶּן חָרָשׁ אֶת רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן עֲזַרְיָה בְּרוֹמִי שָׁמַעְתָּ אַרְבָּעָה חִלּוּקֵי כַפָּרָה שֶׁהָיָה רַבִּי יִשְׁמָעֵאל דּוֹרֵשׁ אָמַר שְׁלֹשָׁה הֵן וּתְשׁוּבָה עִם כׇּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד
Furthermore, with regard to the topic of repentance, Rabbi Matya ben Ḥarash asked Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya when Rabbi Elazar was in Rome: Have you heard the teaching that there are four distinctions in the process of atonement that Rabbi Yishmael would derive? He said to him: They are not four but three distinctions, and repentance is necessary with each one.
עָבַר עַל עֲשֵׂה וְשָׁב אֵינוֹ זָז מִשָּׁם עַד שֶׁמּוֹחֲלִין לוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר שׁוּבוּ בָּנִים שׁוֹבָבִים עָבַר עַל לֹא תַעֲשֶׂה וְעָשָׂה תְּשׁוּבָה תְּשׁוּבָה תּוֹלָה וְיוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים מְכַפֵּר שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר כִּי בַיּוֹם הַזֶּה יְכַפֵּר עֲלֵיכֶם מִכֹּל חַטֹּאתֵיכֶם עָבַר עַל כָּרֵיתוֹת וּמִיתוֹת בֵּית דִּין וְעָשָׂה תְּשׁוּבָה תְּשׁוּבָה וְיוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים תּוֹלִין וְיִסּוּרִין מְמָרְקִין שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וּפָקַדְתִּי בְשֵׁבֶט פִּשְׁעָם וּבִנְגָעִים עֲוֹנָם
These are the categories: If one violates a positive mitzva and repents, he is forgiven even before he moves from his place, i.e. immediately, as it is stated: “Return, you backsliding children, I will heal your backsliding” (Jeremiah 3:22), implying that when one repents he is immediately forgiven.If one violates a prohibition and repents, repentance suspends his punishment and Yom Kippur atones for his sin, as it is stated: “For on this day shall atonement be made for you, to purify you from all your sins” (Leviticus 16:30). If one commits a transgression that warrants karet or a sin punishable by death from the earthly court and then repents, repentance and Yom Kippur suspend his punishment, and suffering absolves and completes the atonement, as it is stated: “Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with strokes” (Psalms 89:33).
אֲבָל מִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ חִילּוּל הַשֵּׁם בְּיָדוֹ אֵין לוֹ כֹּחַ בִּתְשׁוּבָה לִתְלוֹת וְלֹא בְּיוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים לְכַפֵּר וְלֹא בְּיִסּוּרִין לְמָרֵק אֶלָּא כּוּלָּן תּוֹלִין וּמִיתָה מְמָרֶקֶת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וְנִגְלָה בְאׇזְנָי ה׳ צְבָאוֹת אִם יְכוּפַּר הֶעָוֹן הַזֶּה לָכֶם עַד תְּמוּתוּן
But in the case of one who has caused desecration of God’s name, his repentance has no power to suspend punishment, nor does Yom Kippur have power to atone for his sin, nor does suffering alone have power to absolve him. Rather, all these suspend punishment, and death absolves him, as it is stated: “And the Lord of Hosts revealed Himself to my ears: This iniquity shall not be atoned for until you die” (Isaiah 22:14).
הֵיכִי דָּמֵי חִילּוּל הַשֵּׁם אָמַר רַב כְּגוֹן אֲנָא אִי שָׁקֵילְנָא בִּישְׂרָא מִטַּבָּחָא וְלָא יָהֵיבְנָא דְּמֵי לְאַלְתַּר אָמַר אַבָּיֵי לֹא שָׁנוּ אֶלָּא בְּאַתְרָא דְּלָא תָּבְעִי אֲבָל בְּאַתְרָא דְּתָבְעִי לֵית לַן בַּהּ
§ The Gemara asks: What are the circumstances that cause desecration of God’s name? Rav said: For example, in the case of someone like me, since I am an important public figure, if I take meat from a butcher and do not give him money immediately, people are likely to think that I did not mean to pay at all. They would consider me a thief and learn from my behavior that one is permitted to steal. Abaye said: They taught this statement of Rav only in a place where they do not ask for the money, where it is not customary for the butcher himself to come and collect payment from the customer. When the customer does not pay immediately, people may suspect him of theft. But in a place where they ask for the money from the customer some time later, we have no problem with doing this. Since everyone understands he is buying on credit, he is not desecrating God’s name.
אָמַר רָבִינָא וּמָתָא מַחְסֵיָא אַתְרָא דְּתָבְעִי הוּא אַבָּיֵי כִּדְשָׁקֵיל בִּישְׂרָא מִתְּרֵי שׁוּתָּפֵי יָהֵיב זוּזָא לְהַאי וְזוּזָא לְהַאי וַהֲדַר מְקָרֵב לְהוּ גַּבֵּי הֲדָדֵי וְעָבֵיד חוּשְׁבָּנָא
Ravina said: My native city of Meḥasya is a place where they ask for and collect the money. The Gemara relates that when Abaye bought meat from two partners, he would give the money to this one and the money to this one, so that each would know that he had paid. And afterward he would bring them together and perform the calculation to see whether he was receive his change.
רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן אָמַר כְּגוֹן אֲנָא דִּמְסַגֵּינָא אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת בְּלָא תּוֹרָה וּבְלָא תְּפִילִּין יִצְחָק דְּבֵי רַבִּי יַנַּאי אָמַר כׇּל שֶׁחֲבֵירָיו מִתְבַּיְּישִׁין מֵחֲמַת שְׁמוּעָתוֹ (הַיְינוּ חִילּוּל הַשֵּׁם) אָמַר רַב נַחְמָן בַּר יִצְחָק כְּגוֹן דְּקָא אָמְרִי אִינָשֵׁי שְׁרָא לֵיהּ מָרֵיהּ לִפְלָנְיָא
Rabbi Yoḥanan said: What is an example of desecration of God’s name? For example, someone like me, if I would walk four cubits without Torah and without phylacteries, and the onlookers did not know that it is only on account of my body’s weakness, that would be a desecration of God’s name. Yitzḥak from the school of Rabbi Yannai said: Any case when one’s friends are embarrassed on account of his reputation, meaning his friends are embarrassed due to things they hear about him, this is a desecration of God’s name. Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said: One creates a profanation of God’s name, for example, when people say about him: May his Master forgive so-and-so for the sins he has done.
אַבָּיֵי אָמַר כִּדְתַנְיָא וְאָהַבְתָּ אֵת ה׳ אֱלֹהֶיךָ שֶׁיְּהֵא שֵׁם שָׁמַיִם מִתְאַהֵב עַל יָדְךָ שֶׁיְּהֵא קוֹרֵא וְשׁוֹנֶה וּמְשַׁמֵּשׁ תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים וִיהֵא מַשָּׂאוֹ וּמַתָּנוֹ בְּנַחַת עִם הַבְּרִיּוֹת מָה הַבְּרִיּוֹת אוֹמְרוֹת עָלָיו אַשְׁרֵי אָבִיו שֶׁלִּמְּדוֹ תּוֹרָה אַשְׁרֵי רַבּוֹ שֶׁלִּמְּדוֹ תּוֹרָה אוֹי לָהֶם לַבְּרִיּוֹת שֶׁלֹּא לָמְדוּ תּוֹרָה פְּלוֹנִי שֶׁלִּמְּדוֹ תּוֹרָה רְאוּ כַּמָּה נָאִים דְּרָכָיו כַּמָּה מְתוּקָּנִים מַעֲשָׂיו עָלָיו הַכָּתוּב אוֹמֵר וַיֹּאמֶר לִי עַבְדִּי אָתָּה יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר בְּךָ אֶתְפָּאָר
Abaye said: As it was taught in a baraita that it is stated: “And you shall love the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 6:5), which means that you shall make the name of Heaven beloved. How should one do so? One should do so in that he should read Torah, and learn Mishna, and serve Torah scholars, and he should be pleasant with people in his business transactions. What do people say about such a person? Fortunate is his father who taught him Torah, fortunate is his teacher who taught him Torah, woe to the people who have not studied Torah. So-and-so, who taught him Torah, see how pleasant are his ways, how proper are his deeds. The verse states about him and others like him: “You are My servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified” (Isaiah 49:3).
אֲבָל מִי שֶׁקּוֹרֵא וְשׁוֹנֶה וּמְשַׁמֵּשׁ תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים וְאֵין מַשָּׂאוֹ וּמַתָּנוֹ בֶּאֱמוּנָה וְאֵין דִּבּוּרוֹ בְּנַחַת עִם הַבְּרִיּוֹת מָה הַבְּרִיּוֹת אוֹמְרוֹת עָלָיו אוֹי לוֹ לִפְלוֹנִי שֶׁלָּמַד תּוֹרָה אוֹי לוֹ לְאָבִיו שֶׁלִּמְּדוֹ תּוֹרָה אוֹי לוֹ לְרַבּוֹ שֶׁלִּמְּדוֹ תּוֹרָה פְּלוֹנִי שֶׁלָּמַד תּוֹרָה רְאוּ כַּמָּה מְקוּלְקָלִין מַעֲשָׂיו וְכַמָּה מְכוֹעָרִין דְּרָכָיו וְעָלָיו הַכָּתוּב אוֹמֵר בֶּאֱמוֹר לָהֶם עַם ה׳ אֵלֶּה וּמֵאַרְצוֹ יָצָאוּ
But one who reads Torah, and learns Mishna, and serves Torah scholars, but his business practices are not done faithfully, and he does not speak pleasantly with other people, what do people say about him? Woe to so-and-so who studied Torah, woe to his father who taught him Torah, woe to his teacher who taught him Torah. So-and-so who studied Torah, see how destructive are his deeds, and how ugly are his ways. About him and others like him the verse states that the gentiles will say: “Men said of them: These are the people of the Lord, yet they had to leave His land” (Ezekiel 36:20). Through their sins and subsequent exile, such people have desecrated the name of God.
אָמַר רַבִּי חָמָא (בַּר) חֲנִינָא גְּדוֹלָה תְּשׁוּבָה שֶׁמְּבִיאָה רִפְאוּת לְעוֹלָם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר אֶרְפָּא מְשׁוּבָתָם אוֹהֲבֵם נְדָבָה
§ Further on the topic of repentance, Rabbi Ḥama bar Ḥanina said: Great is repentance, as it brings healing to the world, as it is stated: “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely” (Hosea 14:5), which teaches that repentance from sin brings healing.
רַבִּי חָמָא (בַּר) חֲנִינָא רָמֵי כְּתִיב שׁוּבוּ בָּנִים שׁוֹבָבִים דְּמֵעִיקָּרָא שׁוֹבָבִים אַתֶּם וּכְתִיב אֶרְפָּא מְשׁוּבוֹתֵיכֶם לָא קַשְׁיָא כָּאן מֵאַהֲבָה כָּאן מִיִּרְאָה
Rabbi Ḥama bar Ḥanina raised a contradiction between two verses. It is written in one verse: “Return, you backsliding children” (Jeremiah 3:22), implying that initially when you sinned, it was only because you were backsliding, i.e., rebelling. It was merely an act of immaturity and foolishness and could be ignored as if it had never happened. But it is written: “I will heal your backsliding” (Jeremiah 3:22), implying that He will heal the sin from this point onward, and that they are still sinners. He resolved this contradiction, explaining that this is not difficult: Here, where everything is forgiven as if the Jewish people never sinned, it is referring to repentance out of love; there, where the sin is still remembered despite the forgiveness and repentance, it is referring to repentance out of fear.
רַב יְהוּדָה רָמֵי כְּתִיב שׁוּבוּ בָּנִים שׁוֹבָבִים אֶרְפָּא מְשׁוּבוֹתֵיכֶם וּכְתִיב (הִנֵּה) אָנֹכִי בָּעַלְתִּי בָכֶם וְלָקַחְתִּי אֶתְכֶם אֶחָד מֵעִיר וּשְׁנַיִם מִמִּשְׁפָּחָה לָא קַשְׁיָא כָּאן מֵאַהֲבָה אוֹ מִיִּרְאָה כָּאן עַל יְדֵי יִסּוּרִין אָמַר רַבִּי לֵוִי גְּדוֹלָה תְּשׁוּבָה שֶׁמַּגַּעַת עַד כִּסֵּא הַכָּבוֹד שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר שׁוּבָה יִשְׂרָאֵל עַד ה׳ אֱלֹהֶיךָ
Similarly, Rabbi Yehuda raised a contradiction between two verses. It is written: “Return, you backsliding children I will heal your backsliding” (Jeremiah 3:22), implying that anyone can achieve healing, which is dependent only on repentance. But it also states: “Return, O backsliding children, says the Lord, for I am a lord to you, and I will take you one from a city, and two from a family” (Jeremiah 3:14), implying that repentance is available only to certain individuals. He resolved the contradiction and explained that this is not difficult: Here, it is referring to repentance out of love or fear, which few people achieve; there, it referring is repentance through suffering, as everyone has thoughts of repentance when they suffer. Rabbi Levi said: Great is repentance, as it reaches the heavenly throne, as it is stated: “Return, Israel, to the Lord your God” (Hosea 14:2). This implies that repentance literally reaches to God.