(Permission is granted to print and redistribute this material
as long as this header and the footer at the end are included.)


brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld

Ask A Question about the Daf

Previous daf

Sanhedrin, 63

SANHEDRIN 63 (8 Kislev) - Dedicated l'Iluy Nishmas: Shoshana Raizel bas Reb Yisrael Leib -- Mrs. Rose Shaw -- on the second Yahrzeit of her passing, by her son, Dr. Allen Shaw (Atlanta), and grandchildren, Sheila Jutan and family (Singapore) and Yisrael Shaw and family (Jerusalem).


QUESTION: Rav Nachman quotes Rav who rules that a person is obligated to bring a Korban Chatas for accepting an Avodah Zarah as his god by saying, "You are my god." The Gemara asks that in order to be Chayav to bring a Korban Chatas, one must do a physical act of sin. Why should a person who merely accepted an Avodah Zarah be Chayav if his act involved nothing more than speech, and speech is not considered a "Ma'aseh," a physical act? The Gemara answers that Rav made this statement according to the view of Rebbi Akiva, who maintains that speaking is enough of a Ma'aseh to obligate the person to bring a Chatas.

The Gemara then says that Rav is teaching a Chidush which we would not have known otherwise. We might have thought that one is Chayav to bring a Chatas only for the sin of Megadef, blasphemy, when done without a Ma'aseh, because the verse explicitly states that one is Chayav to bring a Chatas for that sin even though it is done only with speech; other sins do not obligate a Chatas when done without a Ma'aseh. Rav therefore teaches that a sin of Avodah Zarah that is done with speech is Chayav a Chatas, and the reason why he is Chayav is because the verse (Shemos 32:8) compares Avodah Zarah done with speech to Avodah Zarah done with an act of slaughtering.

If, according to Rav, one is obligated to bring a Chatas because of a Hekesh in the Torah that compares speaking to slaughtering, then why does the Gemara say that he must be following the view of Rebbi Akiva? The same Hekesh should apply even according to the Rabanan, since the verse -- through the Hekesh -- explicitly teaches that one must bring a Chatas for sin act done without a Ma'aseh! (TOSFOS HA'ROSH, MAHARSHA)

ANSWER: The TOSFOS HA'ROSH and MAHARSHA answer that once the verse obligates a person to bring a Chatas for a sin done through *speech* for Avodah Zarah, we should learn from this verse that a person is Chayav a Chatas for sinning through speech for all other Aveiros as well, through a Binyan Av. It must be that the Rabanan who argue with Rebbi Akiva do not learn such a Hekesh, and that is why Rav's statement must be following only the view of Rebbi Akiva.

According to the answer of the Tosfos ha'Rosh, what was the Gemara's question in the first place? The Gemara asks that perhaps Rebbi Akiva requires a Korban only for Megadef, since the verse mentions the punishment of Kares with regard to Megadef. Why does the Gemara say that Rebbi Akiva might require a Korban only for Megadef done without a Ma'aseh, since the verse of Megadef is written in a Parshah that is discussing bringing a Korban Chatas for the sin of Avodah Zarah? Even if the Torah specifies that a Chatas is brought for a sin done without a Ma'aseh only with regard to Megadef, we should learn from there that in all cases a Chatas is brought for a sin done without a Ma'aseh! In addition, why does the Gemara assume in other places (65a and elsewhere) that Rebbi Akiva does not require a Ma'aseh in order to bring *any* Korban Chatas? Perhaps Rebbi Akiva maintains that one is Chayav a Chatas for a sin done without a Ma'aseh only for Megadef and for accepting Avodah Zarah! (TOSFOS 65a, DH Man, and SHITAH MEKUBETZES, Kerisus 2a:5, 3b:25)

The Rishonim answer that Rebbi Akiva indeed learns from Megadef that a Ma'aseh is never necessary in order to be Chayav a Chatas. The Shitah Mekubetzes (in Kerisus) explains that when the Gemara here says that Rebbi Akiva maintains that one who *accepts* Avodah Zarah is Chayav a Chatas because of a Hekesh, it was not really necessary to bring the Hekesh. The Gemara could have said simply that we learn from Megadef to every other case (through a Binyan Av). The Gemara mentions the Hekesh simply because the Binyan Av is not necessary here because, for there happens to be a Hekesh (but without the Hekesh we also would have learned this law). (See also the Shitah Mekubetzes in Kerisus 3b:25, who gives other answers.)

QUESTIONS: The Gemara explains that according to Rebbi Ami, if a person does multiple acts of worship of Avodah Zarah which are not the normal manner (she'Lo k'Darkah) of worshipping the Avodah Zarah, he is obligated to bring only one Korban Chatas for all of his acts. This is because the Torah states, "v'Lo Sa'avdem" (Shemos 20:5), grouping all of the forms of worship together as one act. Abaye argues and says that such a person is obligated to bring many Chata'os; he does not learn from the verse of "Lo Sa'avdem" that they are all considered one Isur. What, though, does he learn from that verse? RASHI (DH li'Dvarav) explains that the verse is teaching that he is Chayav for multiple Lavim for the Aveirah of Avodah she'lo k'Darkah, serving Avodah Zarah in an unusual manner.
(a) Rashi seems to be contradicting what he wrote on the Mishnah (60b, DH Over). There, Rashi explains that the verse of "Lo Sa'avdem" is teaching that a person transgresses a Lav for doing any action which demonstrates a love for Avodah Zarah, even if it is not the normal manner of serving the Avodah Zarah, and it is not one of the Avodos performed in the Beis ha'Mikdash (for example, hugging and kissing an Avodah Zarah). Why does Rashi not explain that this is what the verse teaches according to Abaye?

(b) In addition, Rashi here (DH Aval ha'Megapef) further contradicts his words on the Mishnah (60b) when he cites two different verses for the source of the Lav of expressing love for Avodah Zarah, and he ignores the verse of "Lo Sa'avdem!" (MAHARSHA)

(a) The Torah says "Lo Sa'avdem" twice, as Rashi notes here (DH Lo Sa'avdem) and in the Mishnah (DH Over). Rashi points out that both verses are extra (on 60b, the words of Rashi should read "d'Lo Sa'avdem *Yeseirei* Kesivei," and not "Yeseira;" see MAHARSHAL and MAHARSHA. The *first* verse is teaching the Chiyuv for hugging Avodah Zarah, according to Rashi on the Mishnah. The *second* verse is teaching the Halachah of Rebbi Ami, or, according to Abaye, it is teaching an extra Lav.

However, this seems to contradict the Gemara earlier (61b) which uses one verse of "Lo Sa'avdem" to teach that it is prohibited to bow down to a person who makes himself into an Avodah Zarah. Hence, only *one* "Lo Sa'avdem" is extra!

Perhaps Rashi learns that the verse is not used up by the Derashah teaching the Isur against bowing down to a person, because if that was the only thing it was teaching, then the verse should have said "Do not bow" twice ("Lo Sish'tachaveh v'Lo Sish'tachaveh"), instead of saying "Lo Sish'tachaveh v'Lo Sa'avdem." Since it changes the second command to the wording of Avodah, we learn that it is also including hugging and kissing. On the other hand, it cannot be referring *only* to hugging and kissing, because -- since those are only expressions of love and not acts of Avodah -- it should not have used the word "Lo Sa'avdem" to refer to them. It must be that it is also referring to bowing to a person who claims to be a god.

According to the original Girsa of Rashi that appears in the manuscripts and older printed editions of the Gemara (see DIKDUKEI SOFRIM 60b, #300), the answer might be more basic. In those texts, Rashi on the Mishnah (60b) reads that there are two *extra* "Lo Sa'avdem" phrases, since the words "Lo Sa'avdem" appear *three* times (in the first Dibros, in the second Dibros, and in Shemos 23:24), and *two* of them are seemingly unnecessary. Hence, we are using one of the two extra "Lo Sa'avdem" phrases to teach the Isur of hugging Avodah Zarah, and the second one to teach the Halachah of Rebbi Ami, or, according to Abaye, to teach an extra Lav. The reason why our editions read differently is due to the emendations of the MAHARSHAL in the text of Rashi. The Maharshal emends the text of Rashi, because Rashi here (DH Shalosh) writes explicitly that the words written in the second set of Dibros are not considered an extra phrase, since it is only a review of what is written in the first Dibros. (Even the MAHARSHA, who argues with the Maharshal and tries to preserve the original Girsa, does not actually preserve the Girsa that predated the Maharshal, but rather a compromise Girsa in which Rashi (on 60b) is saying, as the Maharshal asserts, that the two Dibros are counted as one.)

If this original Girsa is correct, it apparently represents a Mahadura Kama, an earlier version, of Rashi's commentary. What he writes here (63a) is a Mahadura Basra in which he rejects the original explanation because of the Gemara which says that there are only three times where the words "Lo Sish'tachaveh" appear. (Apparently, the Mahadura Kama of Rashi did not consider "Ki Lo Sish'tachaveh" in Shemos 34:14 to be a Lo Ta'aseh. Rather the verse there is giving a reason for why we must destroy the idols: destroy them so that you will not bow down to a foreign god.) According to the Mahadura Basra, the later version, of Rashi, we must find another source for the prohibition of hugging Avodah Zarah, and that is why Rashi later on the page provides different sources for that Isur.

(b) The MAHARSHA explains why Rashi here gives a different source for not hugging and kissing an Avodah Zarah than the one that he gives in the Mishnah. He explains that Rashi in the Mishnah was following the opinion of Abaye who does not use "Lo Sa'avdem" to teach that one is Chayav a single Chatas for performing many Avodos. Rebbi Ami, though, uses the verse to teach that principle, and therefore he must have another source for the Lav not to hug and kiss an Avodah Zarah, and those are the sources that Rashi here cites.

The BINYAN SHLOMO and the ARUCH LA'NER point out that this is inconsistent with what Rashi himself says earlier on the page, because, as we wrote above, Rashi says that according to Abaye, "Lo Sa'avdem" is not teaching the Isur of hugging and kissing Avodah Zarah, but rather it is simply giving the extra Lav. In addition, if it is clear that Rebbi Ami had other sources for the Isur of hugging and kissing an Avodah Zarah, then why should Rashi assume that Abaye is arguing with Rebbi Ami about those sources (if we do not find in the Gemara that they argue about that)?

The Binyan Shlomo and the Aruch la'Ner answer that Rashi here found it necessary to bring a second source for the Isur of not hugging and kissing an Avodah Zarah in order to show that it is Asur to hug and kiss the type of Avodah Zarah that is normally served in a disgraceful manner (such as Pe'or). The verse that Rashi cites on the Mishnah is teaching that it is Asur to hug and kiss an Avodah Zarah that is served in an honorable manner. In the Mishnah, Rashi does not cite the second source, because the Gemara has not yet introduced the concept that there is a distinction between the idols that are worshipped in an honorable way and those that are worshipped in a disgraceful way.

Although this explains why it is necessary to bring two verses to teach the Isur of hugging Avodah Zarah, the assumption of these Acharonim seems to contradict what TOSFOS writes (63a, DH Achas, and 61a, end of DH Minayin). Tosfos proves that once we find that the Torah equates serving Avodah Zarah which is normally served in an honorable manner to serving Avodah Zarah which is normally served in a disgraceful manner, it is no longer necessary to bring a second verse to prohibit the latter. For this reason, it is not necessary to bring a second verse of Onesh (punishment) for bowing to an Avodah Zarah which is normally served in a disgraceful manner, and it is not necessary to bring a second verse for slaughtering to an Avodah Zarah which is normally served in a disgraceful manner. Why, then, should it be necessary to bring a second verse to teach the Isur of hugging an Avodah Zarah that is served in a disgraceful manner?

The Binyan Shlomo attempts to answer this question by suggesting that the second verse is not necessary for Avodos which are punishable with Kares, but perhaps the second verse *is* necessary for Avodos which are punishable with Malkus, such as hugging. However, the opposite would seem to be true -- if we can give the greater punishment without a second verse, then we certainly can give the weaker punishment without a second verse! In addition, even if it is possible to differentiate between hugging and slaughtering by saying that hugging is only prohibited with a Lav, if there is no source that forces Rashi to make that differentiation, then why should Rashi assume that a second verse is necessary?

According to what we mentioned above (end of (a), regarding the original text of Rashi on 60b), all of Rashi's words in this Sugya are easily understood. Rashi there (60b) uses the verse "Lo Sa'avdem" because he learns that there are three times when the Torah uses the phrase (Shemos 20:5, Shemos 23:24, and Devarim 5:9). Rashi here (63a) retracted that reasoning and has one less verse, and therefore he has to find a new verse to replace the verse of "Lo Sa'avdem" as the source for the Isur of hugging Avodah Zarah.


QUESTION: The Gemara says that all forms of Leitzanus, mockery, are forbidden, except for Leitzanus about Avodah Zarah. This implies that it is not permitted to mock other sinners. The Gemara in Kidushin (81a) relates that Rebbi Meir and Rabbi Akiva would mock sinners ("Ovrei Aveirah"). The Gemara says that, eventually, the Satan taught them a lesson by showing them how difficult it is to overpower him (the Yetzer ha'Ra) when he is "working" on someone. However, the Tana'im certainly would not have mocked sinners had it been forbidden to do so. How, then, are we to understand our Gemara? If the Gemara means that one should not mock sinners except for those who serve Avodah Zarah, because the Satan might become upset and attempt to teach him a lesson, then why should Avodah Zarah be different than other Aveiros? That is, if the Gemara here is saying an objective Isur, then how could Rebbi Meir and Rebbi Akiva have done it? If it is saying that one should not mock other sinners because of what the Satan might then do, then why should Avodah Zarah be different? (REBBI TZADOK HA'KOHEN in TZIDKAS HA'TZADIK #260)


(a) REBBI TZADOK HA'KOHEN suggests that when the Gemara says that one may mock Avodah Zarah it does not mean to limit Leitzanus only to Avodah Zarah. Rather, Avodah Zarah is representative of all of the negative commandments, as we are taught that "Anochi Hashem Elokecha" (Shemos 20:2) represents all positive commandments, and "Lo Yiheyeh Lecha Elohim Acherim" (Shemos 20:3) represents all negative commandments. The Gemara is including all evil acts in the words "Avodah Zarah."

According to this answer, it is not clear what the source would be for allowing a person to mock *any* sin, since the two sources brought by our Gemara refer specifically to Avodah Zarah.

RAV YITZCHAK HUTNER zt'l (in PACHAD YITZCHAK, Purim 1:4) suggests that even if it is permitted to mock *all* evil, perhaps the Gemara singles out Avodah Zarah since that is where mockery is most effective. Mockery serves to remove the value attached to an object or action. When a person does evil, he is attaching value to an act which is really valueless. However, the most severe distortion of value is in the case of Avodah Zarah, where a person takes an object that has absolutely no value and no power and he gives it the highest value possible, empowering it with the status of a deity. The most appropriate weapon against Avodah Zarah, therefore, is mockery, which attacks the misplaced value that was given to the Avodah Zarah. That is why the Gemara says that Leitzanus of Avodah Zarah is permitted. The Gemara is not limiting the allowance of mockery only to Avodah Zarah, as Rebbi Tzadok points out, but rather it singles out Avodah Zarah because mockery is most effective in combatting Avodah Zarah.

According to this explanation, the Gemara might be bringing a verse as a source for mocking Avodah Zarah to show that mockery is so effective against Avodah Zarah that even the Navi used it (but it is not necessary to bring a source to permit mocking all other Aveiros).

(b) Rebbi Tzadok suggests further that the reason our Gemara tells us not to mock other forms of evil is because of the conclusion of the Gemara in Kidushin (81a), that the Satan might take revenge. Avodah Zarah, however, is different. The reason for this is because the Satan can take revenge only if the person who is mocking the evil is himself not perfectly clean of sin or temptation. Even a Tzadik has a minimal Yetzer ha'Ra to sin with most sins. However, the Anshei Kneses ha'Gedolah eliminated the Yetzer ha'Ra for Avodah Zarah (64a), such that a Jew does not have even a minimal Yetzer ha'Ra for Avodah Zarah, and therefore it is permitted to mock Avodah Zarah without fear of repercussions.

Rebbi Tzadok cannot mean that our Gemara is based on the fact that the Anshei Kneses ha'Gedolah eliminated the Yetzer ha'Ra for Avodah Zarah, since the Gemara brings proof that it is permitted to mock Avodah Zarah from verses that were written *before* the Anshei Kneses ha'Gedolah eliminated that Yetzer ha'Ra! He must mean that even before the Anshei Kneses ha'Gedolah eliminated it, Jews who were not steeped in Avodah Zarah had no Yetzer ha'Ra for it, as our Gemara says here (end of the page).

(c) RASHI in Kidushin (81a) explains that Rebbi Akiva and Rebbi Meir were mocking sinners for sinning by asserting that they could have easily overcome their Yetzer ha'Ra, and thus they should be ashamed of themselves. Perhaps our Gemara is not referring to this form of mockery, since, as Rebbi Tzadok writes, it is permitted to mock any sinner for his sins (although it is inadvisable to do so because of what the Gemara in Kidushin concludes, that the Satan might then start up with the one mocking the sinner).

Our Gemara is teaching that it is permitted in one instance to mock something that is not inherently evil. The mockery in the cases that the Gemara brings was not directed against the people who sinned by worshipping Avodah Zarah. Rather, it was directed against a form of the Avodah Zarah itself, making fun of how it looks. Such mockery is permitted only in the case of Avodah Zarah. (M. Kornfeld)

Next daf


For further information on
subscriptions, archives and sponsorships,
contact Kollel Iyun Hadaf,