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Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

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Sanhedrin 67



(a) When our Mishnah says ...
1. ... 'ha'Meisis, Zeh Hedyot', it is coming to preclude - a Navi who is Meisis, from Sekilah.
2. ... 've'ha'Meisis es ha'Hedyot' - it is coming to preclude someone who is Meisis a Tzibur (though both of these will be queried in the Sugya).
(b) It does not however, preclude someone who is Meisis a king (since the Torah makes no such distinction).

(c) The Meisis must tell his 'client' - about the god from such-and-such a place, what it eats and what it drinks, and about the good and bad things that it does.

(d) We learn from "Lo Sachmol ve'Lo Sechaseh Alav" - that the witnesses do not need to warn the Meisis.

(a) Initially, if the Meisis will not speak to a Yachid in front of witnesses - one may request for the admission of two more 'clients' to join the group, whose sole purpose in fact, is to act as witnesses.

(b) Should the Meisis, for fear of Beis-Din, refuse that too, and proceeded to make his speech in front of the Nisas alone - one may, on another occasion, hide witnesses behind the wall, and ask him to repeat what he said.

(c) The Nisas responds to the Meisis - 'How can we forsake our G-d in Heaven to go and serve wood and stone'? (See Rashash).

(d) If the Meisis retracts, fine, but if not, the witnesses then come out of hiding and take him to Beis-Din.

3) The Mishnah cites five possible ways for the Meisis (see Tosfos Yom-Tov) to be Chayav. The first is when he says 'A'avod, Eilech ve'A'avod, Neilech ve'Na'avod' - or 'Ezbach, Eilech ve'Ezbach' ... 'Aktir ... ', 'Anasech ... ', or 'Eshtachaveh ... '. Any of these, says the Tana, will also render the Meisis, Chayav.


(a) We extrapolated from our Mishnah that both a Navi who is Meisis a Yachid, and a Yachid who is Meisis a Tzibur receive Chenek. We know that when the Tana says 'ha'Meisis es ha'Hedyot', he is coming to preclude 'Meisis es ha'Tzibur' and not 'Meisis es ha'Navi' - because although the Torah does make a distinction between a Yachid and Navi who are Meisis, nowhere does it distinguish between a Yachid who is Meisis a Navi.

(b) The author of our Mishnah is Rebbi Shimon, as we learn in a Beraisa. According to the Rabbanan there - both of the above cases receive Sekilah.

(c) The next Mishnah (the Seifa) describing 'Medi'ach', presents the case as 'ha'Omer Neilech ve'Na'avod Avodas-Kochavim'. According to Rav Yehudah Amar Rav, this pertains - to the Madichei Ir ha'Nidachas.

(d) This create a problem with our previous statement - which asserted that, the author of our Mishnah is Rebbi Shimon, in whose opinion the Madichei Ir ha'Nidachas receive Chenek (in which case they do not belong in this Perek, which deals only with Chayvei Sekilah).

(a) What Ravina answers 'Kula Rabbanan Hi', he means - that the Reisha is the first statement, and the Seifa, the second ('Lo Zu Af Zu Katani'), both according to the Rabbanan. Consequently, one cannot infer anything from it.

(b) Ravina's answer is inadequate however - because we will still have a Kashya from the Reisha 'ha'Meisis, Zeh ha'Hedyot', which still suggests (by implication), that our Mishnah holds like Rebbi Shimon, as we already explained.

(c) When Rav Papa therefore says 'Ki Katani Meisis Zeh Hedyot, le'Hachmanah', he means that 'Hedyot' in this context, merely means that he (all Mesisin, even a Navi) is a fool (Hedyot = idiot), and that is how we treat him, by hiding witnesses in the prescribed manner.

(d) We can prove that Ravina and Rav Papa do not argue - from the Lashon 'Amar Ravina' (and not 'Ravina Amar' [which would have suggested that he argues with Rav Papa]).

(a) The Tana adds one point to the Din of 'Machminim' discussed in our Mishnah. To ensure that, when the Meisis repeats what he said, the witnesses (who are hiding in the outer room) see him clearly, the Nisas - kindles lights in the inner room (where it is presumably dark).

(b) The fact that they recognize the Meisis' voice will not suffice - they must actually recognize him before he can be sentenced to death (see Rashash).

(c) We have already cited our Mishnah, with Rav Yehudah Amar Rav's interpretation of it. Our Mishnah continues with the Din of Mechashef. The Tana rules that someone who performs illusionary Kishuf (making people believe that he has produced something, when he hasn't) is - Patur, because he has not performed a Ma'aseh.

(d) Rebbi quoting Rebbi Yehoshua said in support of this, that if two people perform Kishuf in front of us - where one of them actually harvests a field of squash (or cucumbers) through Kishuf, and the other only makes out that he did (as there is no field there to begin with), the former is Chayav, the latter, Patur.

(a) We know that a wizard is Chayav like a witch - from Ov ve'Yid'oni, where the Torah specifically writes "Ish ve'Ishah".

(b) And the reason that the Torah presents the case of 'Machshefah' (and not Mechashef) is - because it is mostly women who indulge in it.

(c) Rebbi ...

1. ... Yossi ha'Hagelili learns via the 'Gezeirah-Shavah', "Mechashefah Lo Sechayeh" from "Lo Sechayeh Kol Neshamah" (with regard to the seven nations of Cana'an) - that a Mechashefah is killed by the sword.
2. ... Akiva learns via the 'Gezeirah-Shavah', "Mechashefah Lo Sechayeh" from "Im Beheimah Im Ish Lo Yichyeh" (with regard to Har Sinai) - that she is killed by stoning.
(d) It is easy to understand why Rebbi Yossi ha'Hagelili prefers to learn "Lo Sechayeh" from "Lo Sechayeh" (rather than from "Lo Yichyeh"). Despite Rebbi Yossi Hagelili's argument, Rebbi Akiva learns Machshefah from Har Sinai and not from the Shiv'ah Umos - because he counters, it is better to learn Yisrael from Yisrael (who receives any one of four deaths) rather from Nochrim, who are only subject to the sword.



(a) Rebbi Yehudah objects to ben Azai, who learns from the S'michus of Mechashefah to bestiality, that Mechashefah receives Sekilah - on the grounds that he doesn't hold of S'michus (except in Seifer Devarim). Consequently, based on the principle 'S'tam Miysah Chenek', the witch ought to receive Chenek.

(b) Rebbi Yehudah himself learns it from Ov and Yid'oni - which were initially part of the K'lal of 'Mechashefah', and now that the Torah singled them out and gave them a Din Sekilah, they reflect on the entire K'lal (one of Rebbi Yishmael's thirteen principle 'Kol Davar she'Hayah bi'Chelal ve'Yatza min ha'Kelal le'Lamed ... ').

(c) To answer the Kashya on Rebbi Yehudah from the fact that Ov and Yid'oni are 'Sh'nei Kesuvim ha'Ba'im ke'Echad', we cite Rebbi Zecharyah - who gives Rebbi Yehudah's opinion as 'Sh'nei Kesuvim ha'Ba'im ke'Echad, Melamdin'.

(d) Rebbi Yochanan explained the word 'Keshafim' as - the acronym of 'Makchishin Pamalya shel Ma'alah' (meaning that they negates the Heavenly decrees, even to the point of causing someone who was not destined to die, to die nonetheless).

(a) Rebbi Chanina on the other hand, based on the Pasuk "Ein Od mi'Levado" says - that nothing can negate Hashem's decrees, not even Kishuf.

(b) And this explains why he challenged the witch who was trying to take dust from under his feet (to bewitch him) - to go ahead and keep trying, because if he was not destined to suffer, her efforts would be in vain.

(c) We reconcile this with Rebbi Yochanan's previous statement - by differentiating between other people and Rebbi Chanina, who, due to his many merits, enjoyed Divine protection.

(d) Rebbi Ayvu bar Nagri Amar Rebbi Chiya bar Aba translates "Lateihem" (in Va'eira) as Ma'aseh Sheidim - because Sheidim are generally hidden (and that is what the word 'Lat' means).

(e) And he translates "Lahateihem" as - witchcraft, quoting as a source the Pasuk "ve'es Lahat ha'Charev ha'Mishapeches" because (like Ma'aseh Keshafim, which operate without the assistance of Sheidim) the sword turned round by itself.

(a) Abaye distinguishes between Ma'aseh Sheidim - which require a vessel, and Ma'aseh Kechafim, which don't (Consequently, on might be able to know which kind of spell the magician is about to cast, by whether he was fussy about using a vessel or not.

(b) Abaye compared Hilchos Keshafim to Hilchos Shabbos - inasmuch as, like the latter, there are cases where one is Chayav, cases where one is Patur Aval Asur and cases which are permitted Lechatchilah.

(c) Someone who performs a Ma'aseh Keshafim is Chayav like someone who performs a Ma'aseh Melachah on Shabbos. The case in Hilchos Keshafim that is ...

1. ... Patur Aval Asur, like the Shevusin on Shabbos is - where the magician only creates the illusion that he is performing magic, when really he is not (like we learned in our Mishnah).
2. ... Mutar like it is permitted to guard a trapped animal, to squeeze the pus out of a boil or to trap a snake whilst stopping it from biting is - where one uses the Name of Hashem, and not a magical formula.
(d) And we learn this from Rav Chanina and Rav Oshaya, who would study Seifer ha'Yetzirah every Erev Shabbos and in the process, they would create a third calf (which we explained earlier), which they would eat on Shabbos.

(e) Rav Ashi saw Karna's father - producing bundles of valuabe coats from his nose.

(a) Commenting on the Pasuk "Etzba Elokim Hi", Rebbi Elazar explains that Paroh's magicians were unable to produce lice - because Ma'aseh Sheidim is incapable of creating anything that is smaller than a barley.

(b) According to Rav Papa, they can't even create larger creatures either, and the reason that the magicians declared "Etzba Elokim Hi" is - because they cannot even gather together creatures as small as that (as they can larger creatures), because they are too weak to come from far away.

(c) Rav told Rebbi Chiya that he saw an Arab take ...

1. ... his sword - and cut up his camel into pieces.
2. ... his bell - ring it, and the pieces came together again.
(d) Rebbi Chiya told him - that the Arab did not really cut up his camel at all (otherwise the remains of blood and dung ought to have been visible), but only appeared to do so.
(a) The (bewitched) donkey that Ze'iri purchased in Alexandria shel Mitzrayim - disintegrated and turned into the plank of a bridge (which it originally was) when he took it down to the river to water it.

(b) He should have known that witchcraft was rampant in Alexandria, and he ought to have tested his purchase by the water *before* purchasing it (because whatever is bewitched disintegrates by water).

(c) They nevertheless gave him his money back - because his name was Ze'iri (he had a good name and people respected him).

(a) When Yanai arrived at an inn and asked for some water - they brought him Shesisa (a mixture of flour and water), and he noticed that the woman who served it was mumbling something, giving rise to the suspicion she had bewitched the Shesisa.

(b) He ...

1. ... ascertained that the food was bewitched - by pouring a little onto the floor (where it turned into scorpions).
2. ...reacted to that discovery - by pretending to have drunk the Shesisa, and offered the woman some of his own bewitched drink, upon which she turned into a donkey.
(c) After he rode her into town - her friend came and broke the spell, and Yanai found himself riding on a woman.

(d) The Yanai mentioned in this incident cannot possibly have been the Amora Rebbi Yanai - because the latter would not have practiced witchcraft.

(a) In spite of the Pasuk "va'Ta'al ha'Tzefarde'a va'Techas es Eretz Mitzrayim", the frogs filled the whole of Egypt - because swarms of frogs were born from it.

(b) This is also the opinion of Rebbi Akiva in a Beraisa. But according to Rebbi Elazar ben Azarya - the frog croaked and all the frogs came from far and wide to plague the Egyptians.

(c) Rebbi Elazar ben Azarya said to Rebbi Akiva - that he should stick to Nega'im ve'Ohalos (the most complex Halachos, because that he was where he was expert), and leave Agadah to others.

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