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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Horayoth
R. Jose b. Abin — others say, R. Jose b. Zebida — said: [As to an] analogy [in respect of the view'] of Symmachus — to what may the thing be compared? To [the case of] a man who brought [an offering for] his atonement at twilight when there was doubt whether it was still day5 and6 his atonement was effective or night has already fallen7 and his atonement was not effective,6 who does not bring an asham talui.8 And there is no need9 [to say that this is so] according to him who holds that the court bring [the sacrifice] since [in that case] the matter is not sufficiently known;10 but even according to him who holds that the public bring the sacrifice, in which case the matter is well known and people could have told him,11 [this case is nevertheless the same] as12 that of doubt whether it was still day, or night has already fallen.13 For even if he had wished to ask he might not have found anyone who could tell him.14
SAID BEN 'AZZAI TO HIM: HOW DOES SUCH A PERSON DIFFER FROM ONE WHO REMAINS etc. R. Akiba, surely, answered Ben 'Azzai well!15 — Raba replied: The difference between them is [the case of one who started on a journey.16 According to Ben 'Azzai he is liable because he is still at home;17 according to R. Akiba he is exempt since he has already started on his journey.18
IF THE COURT RULED THAT AN ENTIRE PRINCIPLE WAS TO BE UPROOTED. Our Rabbis taught: And something be hid,19 but not when an entire commandment be uprooted. How? One might assume that if they said, for example, that [the law concerning] the menstrtiant is not found in the Torah [or the law concerning] the Sabbath is not found in the Torah [or the law concerning] idolatry is not found in the Torah — they are liable,20 hence it was expressly stated, 'And something be hid'21 but not when an entire commandment he hid. They are consequently exempt. One might assume, however, that if they said: [The law concerning] the menstruant occurs in the Torah but if a man has intercourse with a woman that awaits a day corresponding to a day22 is exempt [or that the law concerning] the Sabbath occurs in the Torah but if a man carries anything from a private domain into a public domain he is exempt. [or that the law' concerning] idolatry occurs in the Torah but if a man only bows down to an idol be is exempt, they23 are exempt, hence it was expressly stated, 'and something he hid' but not the entire principle.
The Master said, 'One might assume that … they are exempt'. But [it may be asked] if when [the ruling was that] part [of a commandment] be retained and a part annulled they are exempt. and when an entire principle be uprooted they are also exempt, in what case, then, would they be liable?24 — The Tanna bad raised his question thus: It might have been assumed that dabar'25 means the entire commandment,26 hence it was expressly said. And something be hid. How does this prove it? — 'Ulla replied: In this text, read, 'and a part of a thing was hid'.27 Hezekiah replied: Scripture says. And do any of the commandments28 [which implies] of the commandments,29 but not all the commandments. Does not 'commandments' denote the plural?30 — R. Nahman b. lsaac replied:
It is written, commandment.31 R. Ashi replied: Dabar,32 here, is to be deduced from dabar mentioned in the case of a 'rebellious elder.'33 For concerning a 'rebellious elder' it was written, If there arise a matter too hard for thee34 … thou shalt not turn aside from the sentence which they shall declare unto thee, to the riqht hand, nor to the left hand;35 as in the case of the 'rebellious elder' the meaning is 'a part of the thing' and not all the thing36 so in the case of an [erroneous] ruling, [of a court] a part of the thing [is meant] and not an entire principle.
Rab Judah said in the name of Samuel: The court is liable only when they ruled concerning a prohibition37 which the Sadducees38 do not admit,39 but if concerning a prohibition37 which the Sadducees admit40 they are exempt.41 What is the reason? It is a matter which anyone can learn at school.42
We learnt: [THE LAW' CONCERNING THE] MENSTRUANT OCCURS IN THE TORAH BUT IF A MAN HAS INTERCOURSE WITH A WOMAN THAT AWAITS A DAY CORRESPONDING TO A DAY HE IS EXEMPT. But why? Surely [the law concerning] a woman that awaits a day corresponding to a day is mentioned in the Scriptures: Then she shall number to herself,43 teaches that she counts one [day] for one [day]!44 — They might rule that the first stage of contact is permitted and only the consummation of coition is forbidden. Surely this also is written in the Scriptures: He hath made naked her fountain!45 — They might rule that in the natural way
it is forbidden; in an unnatural way it is permitted. But, surely, it is written, As with womankind.46 — They might rule that in the natural way even the first stage of contact is forbidden; in the unnatural way, however, consummation of coition only is forbidden but the first stage of contact is permitted. If so, [the same might apply] even [to the case of] a menstruant also!47 — The fact, however, is [that the ruling might have permitted]48 even in the natural way49 alleging [that the prohibition of] the first stage50 has reference to a menstruant woman only.51 And if you prefer I might say: The — ruling may have been that a woman is not regarded as a zabah52 except during the day time because it is written, all the days of her issue.53
We learnt: [THE LAW CONCERNING THE] SABBATH OCCURS IN THE TORAH BUT IF A MAN CARRIES ANYTHING FROM A PRIVATE DOMAIN INTO A PUBLIC DOMAIN IS EXEMPT [etc.]. But why? Surely the prohibition of carrying from [one domain into another] is mentioned in the Scriptures: Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on [the Sabbath day]!54 — They ruled that carrying out alone is prohibited but bringing in is permitted. And if you prefer I might say: They ruled that only carrying out and bringing in55 is prohibited but handing across and throwing56 is permitted.57 We learnt: [THE LAW CONCERNING] IDOLATRY OCCURS IN THE TORAH BUT IF A MAN ONLY BOWS DOWN TO AN IDOL HE IS EXEMPT [etc.]. But why? The case of him, who bows down is certainly mentioned in the Scriptures: for it is written, Thou shalt bow down to no other god!58 — They ruled that bowing down is prohibited only when performed in the usual manner but if in an unusual manner it is permitted. And if you prefer I might say: They ruled that bowing itself in a natural manner is only then prohibited when the hands and the feet are stretched out but bowing without stretching out the hands and the feet is permitted.
R. Joseph enquired: What [is the law where the court ruled that] ploughing is not forbidden on the Sabbath, is it assumed that, as they had admitted the whole law,1 the ruling is deemed to be a partial annulment and a partial retention [of a law]2 or, perhaps, since they have uprooted altogether the law of ploughing it is deemed to be an uprooting of an entire principle? — Come and hear! [THE LAW CONCERNING THE] MENSTRUANT OCCURS IN THE TORAH BUT IF A MAN HAS INTERCOURSE WITH A WOMAN THAT AWAITS A DAY CORRESPONDING TO A DAY HE IS EXEMPT [… THEY ARE LIABLE]. But why? surely, [the law concerning] a woman that awaits a day corresponding to a day has been uprooted completely!3 — R. Joseph can reply4 [that the law of] a woman that awaits a day corresponding to a day, that has been mentioned, is to be explained as above.5
Come and hear: [THE LAW CONCERNING THE] SABBATH OCCURS IN THE TORAH BUT IF A MAN CARRIES ANYTHING FROM A PRIVATE DOMAIN INTO A PUBLIC DOMAIN HE IS EXEMPT [… THEY ARE LIABLE]. But why? Surely. [the law concerning] carrying from [one domain into another] has been completely uprooted!3 — There also the explanation is as given above.5
Come and hear: [THE LAW CONCERNING] IDOLATRY OCCURS IN THE TORAH BUT IF A MAN ONLY BOWS DOWN TO AN IDOL HE IS EXEMPT [… THEY ARE LIABLE]. But why? Surely, the law concerning bowing to an idol has been completely uprooted!6 — It may be reported that [the law of] bowing also is to be explained as above.7
R. Zera enquired: What [is the law where the court ruled that] no Sabbath is to be kept in the seventh8 year? Wherein did they err? — In the following text: In ploughing time and in harvest thou shalt rest,9 when ploughing is carried on, [they explained,] Sabbath is to be observed but when no ploughing is carried on Sabbath is not to be observed. Is it to be assumed that, as they retain it10 in the other years of the Septennial, [their ruling] is deemed to be a partial annulment and a partial retention [of a law] or, perhaps, since they are uprooting it in the seventh year it is deemed to he an uprooting of an entire principle?
Rabina replied: Come and hear! If a prophet taught11 that anything12 of the words of the Torah was to be uprooted, he is guilty; if only to annul a part of it and to retain a part he is, R. Simeon said, exempt. And in respect of idolatry, even if he said that the idol be worshipped only to-day and destroyed to-morrow, he is guilty.13 From this14 it may be inferred that [the ruling that] no Sabbath is to be kept in the Sabbatical year is to be deemed as partial annulment and partial retention.15 This proves it.
MISHNAH. IF THE COURT RULED AND ONE OF THEM KNEW THAT THEY HAD ERRED AND SAID TO THEM, YOU ARE MISTAKEN', OR IF THE MUFLA16 OF THE COURT WAS NOT PRESENT,17 OR IF ONE OF THEM WAS A PROSELYTE OR A BASTARD OR A NATHIN18 OR TOO OLD TO HAVE CHILDREN,19 THEY ARE20 EXONERATED, FOR CONGREGATION WAS MENTIONED21 HERE22 AND CONGREGATION WAS MENTIONED FURTHER ON;23 AS CONGREGATION FURTHER ON [REFERS TO MEN] ALI. (IF WHOM MUST BE CAPABLE OF DECIDING MATTERS OF LAW24 SO [IN THE CASE OF] CONGREGATION. MENTIONED HERE [THE RULING IS INVALID] UNLESS25 THEY ARE ALL CAPABLE OF DECIDING MATTERS OF LAW.
GEMARA. OR IF THE MUFLA OF THE COURT WAS NOT PRESENT. Whence is this derived? — R. Shesheth replied, and so It was taught by the School of R. Ishmael: Why has it been said that a court that ruled concerning a prohibition26 which the Sadducees admit, are exempt? because they should have learned and did not learn; [in the case of] the absence of the mufla of the court they are also exempt, because they should have learned and did not learn.27
CONGREGATION WAS MENTIONED HERE AND CONGREGATION WAS MENTION FURTHER IN … UNLESS THEY ARE ALL CAPABLE OF DECIDING MATTERS OF LAW. And whence is this28 derived there? — For R. Hisda said: Scripture states, That they may stand there with thee;29 with thee implies 'such as are like thee'. Might it not be suggested that with thee [has reference] to the divine presence?30 — but, said R. Nahman b. Isaac. Scripture states, And they shall bear the burden with thee,31 'with thee' implies 'such as are like thee'.32
MISHNAH. IF THE COURT ISSUED A [WRONG] DECISION UNWITTINGLY AND ALL THE PEOPLE ACTED UNWITTINGLY ACCORDINGLY, A BULLOCK MUST BE BROUGHT.33 [IF THE COURT RULED] WILFULLY AND [THE PEOPLE] ACTED UNWILLINGLY ACCORDINGLY, A LAMB OR A GOAT34 MUST BE BROUGHT. [IF THE COURT RULED] UNWILLINGLY AND [THE PEOPLE] ACTED WILLINGLY ACCORDINGLY, THEY ARE EXEMPT.
GEMARA. [IF THE COURT RULED] UNWITTINGLY AND [THE PEOPLE] ACTED WILFULLY, THEY ARE EXEMPT. [From this35 it follows] that one acting unwittingly though in a way similar to one acting wilfully, is liable; and how' is this to be imagined? When e.g., the court ruled that suet was permitted and a man mistook it for fat and ate it.36 May it then he suggested that this answers Rann b. Hania's enquiry!37 — He can tell you: Because in the first clause it was taught, [IF THE COURT RULED] WILFULLY AND THE PEOPLE ACTED UNWITTINGLY it was also taught in the final clause,38 [IF THE COURT RULED] UNWITTINGLY AND [THE PEOPLE] ACTED WILFULLY.39
MISHNAH. IF THE COURT ISSUED AN [ERRONEOUS] RULING AND. ALL THE PEOPLE OR A MAJORITY OF THEM ACTED ACCORDINGLY, A BULLOCK MUST BE BROUGHT.40 AND IN [THE CASE OF] IDOLATRY A BUTTOCK OR A GOAT41 ARE TO BE BROUGHT; THESE ARE THE WORDS OF R. MEIR. R. JUDAH SAID: THE TWELVE TRIBES BRING TWELVE BULLOCKS;42 AND IN RESPECT OF IDOLATRY TWELVE BULLOCKS AND TWELVE GOATS.
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