Blog Yomi – Kesubos #32/Daf 33

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Is it lash or cash? We left off yesterday with the fundamental מַחְלוֹקֶת between עוּלָּא and רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן, whereby any time there is a crime committed involving both מָמוֹן (financial penalty) and מַלְקוֹת (lashes), עוּלָּא says you pay the financial penalty and are spared the flogging (מָמוֹנָא מְשַׁלֵּם, מִילְקָא לָא לָקֵי), and רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן says you lash the S.O.B. Why do they disagree?

עוּלָּא says he learns it out from a גְזֵרָה שָׁוֶה of ״תַּחַת״ ״תַּחַת״. The pasuk says that the offender in the rape case pays the father “תַּחַת אֲשֶׁר עִנָּהּ”, because he has tormented her; and with regard to personal injury the pasuk famously says: “עַ֚יִן תַּ֣חַת עַ֔יִן שֵׁ֖ן תַּ֣חַת שֵׁ֑ן יָ֚ד תַּ֣חַת יָ֔ד רֶ֖גֶל תַּ֥חַת רָֽגֶל”, and we learn that it doesn’t mean you literally take someone’s eye out if the damages someone else’s eye, but you pay him damages for the value of his eye. Just as there, with regard to injury, one pays money and is not flogged, so too, in any case where there is liability to both pay money and receive lashes, one pays money but is not flogged.

רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן disagrees, and says lash but no cash. What is his source? פַּרְשַׁת כִּי תֵצֵא where it states:

כִּֽי־יִהְיֶ֥ה רִיב֙ בֵּ֣ין אֲנָשִׁ֔ים וְנִגְּשׁ֥וּ אֶל־הַמִּשְׁפָּ֖ט וּשְׁפָט֑וּם וְהִצְדִּ֙יקוּ֙ אֶת־הַצַּדִּ֔יק וְהִרְשִׁ֖יעוּ אֶת־הָרָשָֽׁע

When there is a dispute between two parties and they go to adjudication, and a decision is rendered declaring the one in the right and the other in the wrong …

וְהָיָ֛ה אִם־בִּ֥ן הַכּ֖וֹת הָרָשָׁ֑ע וְהִפִּיל֤וֹ הַשֹּׁפֵט֙ וְהִכָּ֣הוּ לְפָנָ֔יו כְּדֵ֥י רִשְׁעָת֖וֹ בְּמִסְפָּֽר

If the guilty one is to be flogged, the magistrate shall have the person lie down and shall supervise the giving of lashes, by count, as warranted by the offense.

The operative phrase being ״כְּדֵי רִשְׁעָתוֹ״. So רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן concludes, as the Gemara stated: מִשּׁוּם רִשְׁעָה אַחַת אַתָּה מְחַיְּיבוֹ, וְאִי אַתָּה מְחַיְּיבוֹ מִשּׁוּם שְׁתֵּי רִשְׁעָיוֹת. וּסְמִיךְ לֵיהּ ״אַרְבָּעִים יַכֶּנּוּ״

The contiguous pasuk being: אַרְבָּעִ֥ים יַכֶּ֖נּוּ לֹ֣א יֹסִ֑יף פֶּן־יֹסִ֨יף לְהַכֹּת֤וֹ עַל־אֵ֙לֶּה֙ מַכָּ֣ה רַבָּ֔ה וְנִקְלָ֥ה אָחִ֖יךָ לְעֵינֶֽיךָ tells you that you impose מַלְקוֹת in this case, but nothing more.

Lashing in Iran

The obvious question is why רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן isn’t swayed by the גְזֵרָה שָׁוֶה of ״תַּחַת״ ״תַּחַת״, and the Gemara says he doesn’t view the pasuk of “תַּחַת אֲשֶׁר עִנָּהּ” as extraneous. Rather, he uses it to teach you that the 50 shekalim the rapist pays the father of the נַעַרָה is for קְנַס, but it doesn’t cover the other potential monetary damages for בּוֹשֶׁת וּפְגָם (degradation and humiliation).

The Gemara then enters into a discussion of עֵדִים זוֹמְמִין, the fact that they don’t need הַתְרָאָה (warning), and therefore in the event that there’s a consideration of lash vs. cash, they can’t be given מַלְקוֹת for false testimony because מַלְקוֹת can’t be administered without הַתְרָאָה.

Remember the “eye for an eye” discussion we had above? Well right before that pasuk in פַּרְשַׁת מִשְׁפָּטִים the Torah says:

וְכִֽי־יִנָּצ֣וּ אֲנָשִׁ֗ים וְנָ֨גְפ֜וּ אִשָּׁ֤ה הָרָה֙ וְיָצְא֣וּ יְלָדֶ֔יהָ וְלֹ֥א יִהְיֶ֖ה אָס֑וֹן עָנ֣וֹשׁ יֵעָנֵ֗שׁ כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֨ר יָשִׁ֤ית עָלָיו֙ בַּ֣עַל הָֽאִשָּׁ֔ה וְנָתַ֖ן בִּפְלִלִֽים

When men are fighting, and one of them accidentally pushes a pregnant woman and a miscarriage results, but no other damage ensues, the one responsible shall be fined according as the woman’s husband may exact, the payment to be based on reckoning of the value of the baby to the husband. (And one might wonder here, what about the value of the psychic pain of the mother who lost her baby? Why isn’t she compensated?)

וְאִם־אָס֖וֹן יִהְיֶ֑ה וְנָתַתָּ֥ה נֶ֖פֶשׁ תַּ֥חַת נָֽפֶשׁ

But if other damage ensues, specifically if the pregnant woman dies, it’s קָם לֵיה בְּדְרָבָּה מִינֵיה and the man responsible for her death receives the death penalty. And presumably the man received הַתְרָאָה because he has anger management issues.

The Gemara now asks a seemingly mind-boggling question. Are מַלְקוֹת worse than מִיתָה? In other words, are there situations in which one would choose death over lashing? The Gemara states at the top of דף ל״ג עמוּד א:

דִּלְמָא מַלְקוֹת חָמוּר? דְּאָמַר רַב: אִילְמָלֵי נַגְּדוּהּ לַחֲנַנְיָה מִישָׁאֵל וַעֲזַרְיָה — פְּלַחוּ לְצַלְמָא! אֲמַר לֵיהּ רַב סַמָּא בְּרֵיהּ דְּרַב אַסִּי לְרַב אָשֵׁי, וְאָמְרִי לַהּ רַב סַמָּא בְּרֵיהּ דְּרַב אָשֵׁי לְרַב אָשֵׁי: וְלָא שָׁנֵי לָךְ בֵּין הַכָּאָה שֶׁיֵּשׁ לָהּ קִצְבָה לְהַכָּאָה שֶׁאֵין לָהּ קִצְבָה

Perhaps the punishment of lashes is more severe, as Rav said: Had they flogged Chananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (see Daniel, chapter 3) instead of casting them into the fiery furnace, these three would have been induced to worship the graven image. Apparently, the punishment of lashes is more severe than death. Rav Samma, son of Rav Asi, said to Rav Ashi, and some say Rav Samma, son of Rav Ashi, said to Rav Ashi: And is there no difference to you between flogging that has a limit, e.g., forty lashes by Torah law, which is a less severe punishment, and flogging that does not have a limit, i.e., flogging administered to induce compliance, which is more severe?

At this juncture Rabbi Stern cited תּוֹסָפוֹת who states:

אילמלי נגדוה לחנניה מישאל ועזריה הוו פלחי לצלמא – תימה מנא לן דהא אמרי’ בהרואה (ברכות סא:) כשהוציאו את ר”ע אמר כל ימי הייתי מצטער על פסוק זה אימתי יבא לידי ואקיימנו בכל נפשך אלמא משמע דבכל נפשך מיירי אפי’ היו מייסרין את האדם ביסורין קשין דומיא דר’ עקיבא שהיו מסרקין בשרו במסרקי ברזל וכ”ש לנגודי ואור”ת דאותו צלם לא היה עבודת כוכבים ממש אלא היה עשוי לכבוד המלך ואעפ”כ היה בו קידוש השם ולכך מסרו עצמן למיתה והיינו דכתיב (דניאל ג) לאלהך לית אנן פלחין ולצלם דהבא די אקימת לא נסגוד משמע שהצלם לא היה תופס באלהות ומיהו פלחו לצלמא משמע שהצלם היה עבודת כוכבים מדקאמר פלחו

Rabbi Stern then opened to the Gemara in בְּרָכוֹת that תּוֹסָפוֹת references,

רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא אוֹמֵר: ״בְּכָל נַפְשְׁךָ״ אֲפִילּוּ נוֹטֵל אֶת נַפְשְׁךָ.

תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן: פַּעַם אַחַת גָּזְרָה מַלְכוּת הָרְשָׁעָה שֶׁלֹּא יַעַסְקוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּתּוֹרָה. בָּא פַּפּוּס בֶּן יְהוּדָה וּמְצָאוֹ לְרַבִּי עֲקִיבָא שֶׁהָיָה מַקְהִיל קְהִלּוֹת בָּרַבִּים וְעוֹסֵק בַּתּוֹרָה. אָמַר לוֹ: עֲקִיבָא אִי אַתָּה מִתְיָרֵא מִפְּנֵי מַלְכוּת

The Gemara relates at length how Rabbi Akiva fulfilled these directives. The Sages taught: One time, after the Bar Kochva rebellion, the evil empire of Rome decreed that Israel may not engage in the study and practice of Torah. Pappos ben Yehuda came and found Rabbi Akiva, who was convening assemblies in public and engaging in Torah study. Pappos said to him: Akiva, are you not afraid of the empire?

אָמְרוּ: לֹא הָיוּ יָמִים מוּעָטִים, עַד שֶׁתְּפָסוּהוּ לְרַבִּי עֲקִיבָא וַחֲבָשׁוּהוּ בְּבֵית הָאֲסוּרִים, וְתָפְסוּ לְפַפּוּס בֶּן יְהוּדָה וַחֲבָשׁוּהוּ אֶצְלוֹ. אָמַר לוֹ: פַּפּוּס, מִי הֲבִיאֲךָ לְכָאן? אָמַר לוֹ: אַשְׁרֶיךָ רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא שֶׁנִּתְפַּסְתָּ עַל דִּבְרֵי תוֹרָה. אוֹי לוֹ לְפַפּוּס שֶׁנִּתְפַּס עַל דְּבָרִים בְּטֵלִים.

The Sages said: Not a few days passed until they seized Rabbi Akiva and incarcerated him in prison, and seized Pappos ben Yehuda and incarcerated him alongside him. Rabbi Akiva said to him: Pappos, who brought you here? Pappos replied: Happy are you, Rabbi Akiva, for you were arrested on the charge of engaging in Torah study. Woe unto Pappos who was seized on the charge of engaging in idle matters.

בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁהוֹצִיאוּ אֶת רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא לַהֲרִיגָה זְמַן קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע הָיָה, וְהָיוּ סוֹרְקִים אֶת בְּשָׂרוֹ בְּמַסְרְקוֹת שֶׁל בַּרְזֶל, וְהָיָה מְקַבֵּל עָלָיו עוֹל מַלְכוּת שָׁמַיִם. אָמְרוּ לוֹ תַּלְמִידָיו: רַבֵּינוּ, עַד כָּאן?! אָמַר לָהֶם: כל יָמַי הָיִיתִי מִצְטַעֵר עַל פָּסוּק זֶה ״בְּכָל נַפְשְׁךָ״ אֲפִילּוּ נוֹטֵל אֶת נִשְׁמָתְךָ. אָמַרְתִּי: מָתַי יָבֹא לְיָדִי וַאֲקַיְּימֶנּוּ, וְעַכְשָׁיו שֶׁבָּא לְיָדִי, לֹא אֲקַיְּימֶנּוּ? הָיָה מַאֲרִיךְ בְּ״אֶחָד״, עַד שֶׁיָּצְתָה נִשְׁמָתוֹ בְּ״אֶחָד״. יָצְתָה בַּת קוֹל וְאָמְרָה: ״אַשְׁרֶיךָ רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא שֶׁיָּצְאָה נִשְׁמָתְךָ בְּאֶחָד״.

The Gemara relates: When they took Rabbi Akiva out to be executed, it was time for the recitation of Shema. And they were raking his flesh with iron combs, and he was reciting Shema, thereby accepting upon himself the yoke of Heaven. His students said to him: Our teacher, even now, as you suffer, you recite Shema? He said to them: All my days I have been troubled by the verse: With all your soul, meaning: Even if God takes your soul. I said to myself: When will the opportunity be afforded me to fulfill this verse? Now that it has been afforded me, shall I not fulfill it? He prolonged his uttering of the word: One, until his soul left his body as he uttered his final word: One. A voice descended from heaven and said: Happy are you, Rabbi Akiva, that your soul left your body as you uttered: One.

אָמְרוּ מַלְאֲכֵי הַשָּׁרֵת לִפְנֵי הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא: זוֹ תּוֹרָה וְזוֹ שְׂכָרָהּ? ״מִמְתִים יָדְךָ ה׳ מִמְתִים וְגוֹ׳״! אָמַר לָהֶם: ״חֶלְקָם בַּחַיִּים״. יָצְתָה בַּת קוֹל וְאָמְרָה: ״אַשְׁרֶיךָ רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא שֶׁאַתָּה מְזֻומָּן לְחַיֵּי הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא״

The ministering angels (מַלְאֲכֵי הַשָּׁרֵת) said before Hashem: This is Torah and this is its reward? As it is stated: “From death, by Your hand, O Lord, from death of the world” (Psalms 17:14); Your hand, G-d, kills and does not save. G-d said the end of the verse to the ministering angels: “Whose portion is in this life.” And then a Divine Voice (בַּת קוֹל) emerged and said: Happy are you, Rabbi Akiva, as you are destined for life in the World-to-Come, as your portion is already in eternal life.

Rabbi Stern related that he gleaned this today from Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky, that even in his death, רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא was the ultimate רַבִּי of כְּלַל יִשְׂרָאֵל, literally teaching to the end about opportunities to do the right thing, and accomplish what is required of us.

See the source image

About Leonard J. Press, O.D., FAAO, FCOVD

Developmental Optometry is my passion as well as occupation. Blogging allows me to share thoughts in a unique visual style.
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1 Response to Blog Yomi – Kesubos #32/Daf 33

  1. doctuhdon says:

    Excellent discussion of complex topics !

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