whilst if not, his action was not idolatrous at all. Hence, it surely must mean that he worshipped it idolatrously, through love or fear.1 But Raba answers you thus: His inadvertency arose through his declaring that idolatry is permissible. But if he declares it permissible, is it not forgetfulness of the law? It refers to a declaration that it is entirely permissible; whilst forgetfulness consists of partial confirmation and partial annulment.2
R. Zakkai recited to R. Johanan: If one sacrificed, offered incense, made libations, and prostrated himself [before an idol] in one state of unawareness,3 he is bound to bring only one sacrifice. Thereupon R. Johanan retorted: 'Go, teach this outside'.4
[But] R. Abba said, This teaching of R. Zakkai is the subject of a dispute between R. Jose and R. Nathan. For it has been taught: The prohibition of kindling [on the Sabbath] was singled out [from the general prohibition of work] to teach that it is merely the object of a negative precept — This is R. Jose's view. R. Nathan maintained, it was particularly specified to indicate 'separation'.5 Now, on the view that kindling was specified to teach that it is merely the object of a negative precept, prostration too was singled out for that purpose. Whilst if kindling was singled out to indicate 'separation', prostration was likewise singled out for the same reason.6 R. Joseph objected: Perhaps R. Jose maintains that kindling was singled out to teach that it is the object of a negative precept, only because he derives 'separation' of different acts of labour from the phrase 'of one of them'.7 For it has been taught: R. Jose said, [If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments of the Lord, concerning things which ought not to be done,] and shall do of one of them:8 this teaches that sometimes one sacrifice is incurred for 'all of them' [transgressions], whilst at others for each one [of the transgressions] a separate sacrifice must be brought. Whereon, R. Jonathan remarked, What is the reason of R. Jose [i.e., how does he deduce this from the verse]? — Because It is written, and shall do of one of them.9 This teaches that liability is incurred for one complete act of violation [i.e., 'one']; and for one which is but a part of one [i.e., 'of one']; and for transgressing actions forbidden in themselves [i.e., 'them'], and for actions [the prohibited nature of which is derived] from others [i.e., 'of them']; further, that one transgression may involve liability for a number of sacrifices [i.e. 'one' = 'them']. whilst many offences may involve but one sacrifice [i.e., 'them' = 'one']. Thus: 'one complete act of violation,' — the writing [on the Sabbath] of Simeon; 'one which is but a part of one,' — the writing of Shem as part of Simeon;10 'actions forbidden in themselves' [i.e., 'them'] — the principal acts of labour forbidden on the Sabbath; 'actions [the prohibited nature of which is derived] from others [i.e., "of them"]' — the derivatives;11 'One transgression may involve liability for a number of sacrifices [i.e., "one" = "them"]' — e.g., if one knew that it was the Sabbath [and that some work is forbidden on the Sabbath] — but was unaware that these particular acts are forbidden;12 'many offences may involve but one sacrifice [i.e., "them" = "one"]' — e.g., if he was unaware that it was the Sabbath, but knew that his actions are forbidden on the Sabbath.13 But here [in idol worship]. since separation of actions is not derived from elsewhere, may we not say that all agree [even R. Jose] that prostration was singled out to indicate 'separation'?14 [But is this so?] May not 'separation' of acts in the case of idolatry too be deduced from 'of one of them'?15 Thus, 'one complete act of idolatry' — sacrificing [to idols]; a part of one [i.e., 'of one'] — the cutting of one organ.16 'Actions forbidden in themselves' [i.e., 'them'] — principal acts; i.e., sacrificing, burning incense, making libations, and prostration; 'actions derived from others' [i.e., 'of them'] the derivatives of these — e.g., if he broke a stick before it;17 'one transgression may involve liability for a number of sacrifices,' [i.e., 'one'='them']. e.g., when one knows that it is an idol [and that idolatry is forbidden], but is unaware that the particular acts in question constitute idol-worship;18 many offences may involve but one sacrifice, [i.e., 'them' = 'one']; if he is unaware that it is an idol, but knows that these acts are forbidden in idol worship?19 — Now, how is the unawareness of the idolatrous nature of a thing possible?20 If one [saw an idolatrous shrine,] thought it to be a synagogue, and bowed down to it? Surely his heart was to heaven! But it must mean that he saw a royal statue and bowed down to it. Now, if he accepted it as a god, he is a deliberate sinner; whilst if not, he has committed no idolatry at all. Hence it must surely mean that he worshipped it idolatrously through love or fear. Now, this interpretation [of the phrase 'of one of them'] is possible on Abaye's view that a penalty is incurred for this. But on Raba's view that there is no liability, what can you say? Hence you will have to explain it that his inadvertency arose through his declaring that idolatry is permissible.21 But on that assumption you may solve the problem which Raba propounded to R. Nahman, viz., 'What if one forgot both?22 [Now on that assumption] you may deduce that he is liable only for one sacrifice?23 — That causes no difficulty: then solve it!24
But canst thou apply this verse to idolatry? In this chapter,25 for the sin of an anointed High priest a bullock is prescribed;26 of a chief, a he-goat;27 and of a private individual, a she-goat or a lamb;28 whilst with respect to idolatry we have learnt: They agree that his sacrifice is a she-goat, as that of a private individual. There is nothing more to be said about the matter.29
When R. Samuel b. Judah came,30 he said:
Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
- Without knowing that this is idol worship. This constitutes inadvertency in respect of the action, but not forgetfulness (or ignorance) of the law, since he knows that idolatry per se is forbidden. Hence this Baraitha supports Abaye's ruling.
- E.g if the priest declares: Sacrificing and offering incense to idols are forbidden, but prostration is permitted, that is called ignorance of the law; if he declares that idolatry is not prohibited at all, it is, in Raba's opinion, regarded as inadvertency of action.
- I.e., he was not apprised between these actions of their forbidden character, subsequently forgetting it, but was unconscious thereof throughout.
- I.e., it is incorrect, and not to be admitted to the school as authentic teaching.
- In Ex. XX, 10, it is stated: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work. This is repeated in XXV, 2, with a special prohibition against kindling a fire, v. 3: Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the Lord: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death. Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations on the Sabbath day. Now kindling is prohibited by the general law of Ex. XX, 10: why is it singled out? R. Jose answers, to teach that whereas other modes of work are punishable by death, this is merely punishable like any other negative precept (viz., by flagellation). But R. Nathan maintained that it was in order to shew that if one did a number of separate acts on the Sabbath (in one state of forgetfulness) e.g., seething, reaping, and threshing, they are accounted as separate offenses, just as kindling was given as a separate offence, and a sacrifice must be brought on account of each.
- On 63a (infra) it is stated that prostration is specifically forbidden three times: (i) Ex. XX, 5: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them, (ii) Ibid. XXIII, 24: Thou shalt not bow down to their Gods, nor serve them; and (iii) Ibid. XXXIV, 14: For thou shalt not bow down to any other god. (The injunctions against prostration in Deut. are not included, since Deut. is a repetition of the preceding books). One prohibition teaches that prostration even as an abnormal mode of worship is forbidden; the second that as a normal mode of worship it is forbidden (v. 63a); and the third intimates 'separation', viz., that if a number of idolatrous acts were unwittingly committed (in one state of ignorance), separate atonement must be made for each. Now, R. Abba holds that interpretation to agree only with the view that kindling was specified in order to teach separation. But on the other view, prostration was singled out to indicate not 'separation' but that its deliberate transgression is the subject of a negative precept and not punished by extinction as other idolatrous acts, involving consequently no sin offering for its unwitting transgression, albeit here the punishment is greater, viz., death instead of extinction (v. Deut. XVII, 3, 5). Consequently, R. Zakkai's statement is not incorrect; it is in accord with the view of R. Jose.
- Lev. IV, 2.
- [H]. This is a peculiar construction. The Scripture should have written, 'and shall do one (not of) of them', or, 'and do of them' (one being understood), or, 'and shall do one' (of them being understood). Instead (of which, a partitive preposition is used before each. Hence each part of the pronoun is to be interpreted separately, teaching that he is liable for the transgression of 'one' precept; and for part of one (i.e.. for 'of one'); for 'them' (explained as referring to the principal acts); and for the derivatives 'of them' (acts forbidden because they partake of the same nature as the fundamentally prohibited acts); also, each pronoun reacts upon the other, as explained in the discussion.
- A sin offering for the unwitting violation of the Sabbath is not due unless a complete action is performed. The writing of a complete word — Simeon — is given as an example. Now, if one commenced writing the word Simeon [H], SHiMe'oN in Hebrew, and only wrote the first two letters thereof, viz., Shem, [H], SHeM, he is also liable, though his intention was only partly fulfilled, because Shem is a complete name in itself; similarly, if he commenced writing Daniel and only wrote Dan. This the Talmud calls one action which is part of another (i.e. — 'of one'). If, however, the part he wrote is not complete in itself, e.g., the first two letters of Reuben, in Hebrew, there is no liability.
- Labour forbidden on the Sabbath is divided into two categories: (i) fundamental or principal acts, forbidden in themselves and named in the Talmud 'fathers' — 39 are enumerated in Shab. 73a; and (ii) derivative or secondary acts, regarded as species of the former, and called 'toledoth', lit., 'offsprings'. E.g., Sowing, ploughing, and reaping belong to the first category; planting, digging, and vintaging are their respective derivatives.
- Hence, though he violated only one injunction, viz., the sacredness of the Sabbath, yet since he was ignorant of each of these acts, he is regarded as having committed a number of separate inadvertent transgressions, for each of which a sacrifice is due.
- Therefore, since all his actions were the result of being unaware of one single fact, viz., that it was the Sabbath, only one sacrifice is due. In this discussion 'them' is taken to indicate more than one. We see from this Baraitha that R. Jose derives 'separation' of labour on the Sabbath from this verse, therefore he is bound to interpret the singling out of kindling as teaching something else, viz., that kindling is only subject to a negative precept.
- This difficulty is left unanswered, and a further one is raised.
- Since that verse refers to sin in general, not particularly to the Sabbath, its deductions apply to idolatry too.
- The ritual slaughtering and the sacrificing of an animal consists of cutting through two organs, the windpipe and the gullet. Now, if one cuts only one organ (in idol worship) he commits 'part of one' forbidden action. Nevertheless, he incurs the penalty of idolatry, because this partial action is a complete action elsewhere, for a fowl sin-offering needs only the severing of one organ.
- I.e., in honour of the idol. As an idolatrous act, this being similar to slaughter, whereby the neck is broken, is hence a derivative. A penalty is incurred only if this is the normal mode of worship of that particular deity. 'A.Z. 51a.
- E.g., knowing that sacrifice is forbidden, but thinking that burning incense and offering libations are permitted.
- The reasoning is the same as in the case of the Sabbath.
- This is the answer.
- Though this does not constitute unawareness that a particular thing is an idol and consciousness that these particular acts are forbidden in idol worship, yet it is a case where many transgressions involve but one sacrifice.
- This refers to the Sabbath. If one did a number of forbidden acts on the Sabbath, unaware that it was the Sabbath and also ignorant that these particular acts are forbidden on the Sabbath.
- For if one declared that idolatry is permissible, it is as though he were unaware that a particular thing was an idol, as explained at the beginning of 62a. Hence if we deduce from the verse that in idolatry only one sacrifice is needed for such inadvertence, the same must apply to the Sabbath. At this stage of the discussion it is assumed, however, that this deduction is impossible, as otherwise Raba would not have propounded his problem. Consequently the verse cannot be applied to idolatry, and R. Abba is justified in regarding kindling and prostration as interdependent both in interpretation and in the resultant laws and R. Zakkai's statement is admissible as correct — according to R. Jose.
- I.e., the fact that this interpretation solves Raba's problem does not militate against its correctness. Consequently, the verse can be applied to idolatry, and R. Abba's views are again refuted.
- Introduced by the passage under discussion, viz., If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments of the Lord … and shall do of one of them.
- Lev. IV, 3.
- Ibid. 22f.
- Ibid. 27f, 32.
- I.e., to this no answer is possible. Consequently this verse cannot teach separation of idolatrous actions. In R. Joseph's view, as expressed by his objection, it is deduced from the singling out of prostration.
- From Palestine to Babylon.
This is the teaching which he [R. Zakkai] recited to him [R. Johanan]: [In one respect] the Sabbath is more stringent than other precepts; [in another,] it is the reverse. Now the Sabbath is more stringent than other precepts — in that if one did two acts of work in one state of unawareness, he must make atonement for each separately; this is not so in the case of other precepts. Other precepts are more stringent than the Sabbath, for in their case, if an injunction was unwittingly and unintentionally violated, atonement must be made: this is not so with respect to the Sabbath.1
The Master said: 'The Sabbath is more stringent than other precepts, in that if one did two acts of work etc.' How so? Shall we say that he reaped and ground [corn]? Then an analagous violation of other precepts would be the partaking of forbidden fat and blood — but in both cases, two penalties are incurred! But how is it possible in the case of other precepts that only one liability is incurred? E.g., if one ate forbidden fat twice;2 then by analogy, the Sabbath was desecrated by reaping twice — but in each case, only one liability is incurred! Therefore R. Johanan said to him? 'Go, teach it outside!'
But what is the difficulty? Perhaps it can be explained after all as referring to reaping and grinding. whilst 'this is not so in the case of other precepts' refers to idolatry, and in accordance with the dictum of R. Ammi, who said: If one sacrificed, burnt incense, and made libations [to an idol] in one state of unawareness, only one penalty is incurred [though a number of services were performed]! — This cannot be explained as referring to idolatry, because the second clause states: 'Other precepts are more stringent than the Sabbath, for in their case, if an injunction was unwittingly and unintentionally violated, atonement must be made.' Now, how is an unwitting and unintentional transgression of idolatry possible? If one thought it [sc. an idolatrous shrine] to be a synagogue, and bowed down to it — but his heart was to heaven! But it must mean that he saw a royal statue, and bowed down to it; now, if he accepted it as a god, he is a deliberate sinner; whilst if he did not accept it as a god, he has not committed idolatry at all. Hence it must mean that he worshipped it idolatrously through love or fear. Now this agrees with Abaye's view that a penalty is incurred; but on Raba's view that there is no liability, what can you say? You will therefore explain that his inadvertency arose through his declaring that idolatry is permissible.3 Then 'this is not so in the case of the Sabbath' will mean that there is no liability at all.4 But this cannot be so, for when Raba propounded to R. Nahman, 'What if one is unaware of both [i.e. that it is the Sabbath, and that labour on the Sabbath is forbidden],' his problem was whether one sacrifice is incurred or two [one for each act of work]; but none maintain that he is entirely exempt? What difficulty is this! Perhaps after all, it ought be said, the first clause [dealing with the greater severity of the Sabbath] refers to idolatry, whilst the second treats of other precepts; the unwitting and unintentional transgression of which consisted of thinking that [melted forbidden fat] was spittle, which he swallowed. [For this, liability is incurred,] which is not so with regard to the Sabbath, there being no liability [in an analogous case, e.g.,] if one intended lifting something detached from the soil, but accidently tore out a plant from the earth, he is exempt from a penalty.5 Now, this is in accordance with R. Nahman's dictum in Samuel's name, viz., He who violates the injunction of forbidden fat or consanguineous relationship whilst intending to do something else6 is liable to a penalty, since he derived pleasure thereby. But he who mistakenly did a forbidden act on the Sabbath whilst intending to do another7 is free from penalty — because the Torah prohibited only a calculated action.8 But R. Johanan [who said, 'Go, teach it outside'.] was consistent with his attitude [elsewhere], that two clauses of a Mishnah must not be interpreted as referring each to different circumstances — for R. Johanan said: He who will explain to me the Mishnah of 'a barrel' to agree with one Tanna entirely, I shall carry his clothes for him to the baths.9 To revert to the main text:
Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
- The Talmud discusses further on what is meant by unwittingly and unintentionally.
- In one state of unawareness, not being reminded in between that this fat is forbidden,
- And since he has never known of any prohibition, it is not only regarded as unwitting, but as unintentional too. Cf. 62a top.
- If one worked on the Sabbath, not knowing that there is any prohibition against it.
- Cutting or tearing out anything growing in the earth is a forbidden labour on the Sabbath. His offence was both unwitting and unintentional for (i) he had no intention of tearing out anything and (ii) he did not know that this was growing in the soil, Now, had he known that it was growing in the soil and deliberately uprooted it in ignorance of the forbidden nature of that action, his offence would have been unwitting but intentional. By analogy, had be intended to eat the melted fat, thinking that it was permitted, his offence would be regarded as unwitting but intentional. Since, however, he did not intend eating it at all, but accidentally swallowed it, thinking at the same time that it was spittle, his offence was both unwitting and unintentional.
- E.g., if he reached out for a permitted piece, and accidentally took the forbidden fat, or mistook his sister for his wife.
- Whether the other itself was forbidden or permitted. So Tosaf. Rashi, however, in Shebu. 19a explains it that he intended doing a permitted act, but mistakenly did a forbidden one, in accordance with the example given here.
- Hence the distinction drawn in the second clause between the Sabbath and other precepts is quite feasible.
- I.e., I would be his servant. The reference is to a Mishnah on B.M. 40b: If a barrel was entrusted to a man's keeping, a particular place being assigned to it, and this man moved it from the place where it was first set down, and it was broken. — Now, where it was broken whilst he was handling it, then if he was moving it for his own purposes (e.g., to stand on it), he must pay for it; if for its sake (e.g., if it was exposed to harm in the first place), he is not liable. But if it was broken after he had set it down, then in both cases he is not liable. If the owner, however, had assigned a place to it, and this man moved it, and it was broken, whether whilst in his hand or after he had set it down: if he moved it for his sake, he is liable; if for its own, he is not. The Talmud then proceeds to explain that the first clause is in accordance with R. Ishmael, who maintained that if one stole an article and returned it without informing its owner, he is free from all further liability in respect of it. Consequently, if he moved the barrel for his own purpose (which is like stealing), and set it down elsewhere, no particular place being assigned to it, his liabilities have ceased. But the second clause agrees with R. Akiba's ruling that if an article is stolen and returned, the liability remains until the owner is informed of its return. Consequently, if he moved it for his own purpose, he remains liable even after it is set down. But R. Johanan was dissatisfied with this explanation, holding that both clauses should agree with one Tanna. Now, the Talmud does actually explain that it can agree with one Tanna, viz., by assuming that in the first clause the barrel was subsequently returned to its original place, but that in the second clause it was not. Consequently, it concurs entirely with R. Ishmael, but his liability continues in the second instance because he did not return it to its first place. But R. Johanan rejects this explanation, not deeming it plausible to conceive of such different circumstances in the two clauses of the Mishnah. For the same reason, when R. Zakkai taught that sometimes the Sabbath is more stringent than other precepts, and sometimes it is the reverse, R. Johanan would not accept an interpretation whereby 'other precepts' in the first clause means idolatry, whilst in the second it referred to forbidden fat.