Megillah, Daf Zayin, Part 6



Today’s section opens with another new mishnah.


משנה. אין בין שבת ליום הכפורים אלא שזה זדונו בידי אדם וזה זדונו בכרת.


Mishnah. There is no difference between Shabbat and Yom Kippur except that the deliberate violation of the one is punished by a human court and the deliberate violation of the other by karet.


One who deliberately transgresses Shabbat is punished by being executed by a human court. We should remember that this is theoretical. Rabbis did not carry out the death penalty and for the most part did not carry out any form of physical punishment.

Deliberate transgression of Yom Kippur is punishable by karet, which can be translated as "being cut off" but is a penalty not carried out by a human court.


גמרא. הא לענין תשלומיןזה וזה שוין.

מני מתניתיןרבי נחוניא בן הקנה היא. דתניא, רבי נחוניא בן הקנה היה עושה את יום הכפורים כשבת לתשלומין. מה שבת מתחייב בנפשו ופטור מן התשלומיןאף יום הכפורים מתחייב בנפשו ופטור מן התשלומין.


Gemara. [We can deduce] from this that in respect of compensation they are the same. Whose view does the Mishnah follow? That of R. Nehunia b. HaKaneh, as it has been taught: R. Nehunia b. HaKaneh used to make Yom Kippur the same as Shabbat in respect of compensation: just as [one who deliberately breaks] Shabbat forfeits his life but is exempt from compensation, so too [one who deliberately breaks] Yom Kippur forfeits his life but is exempt from compensation.


There is a principle in halakhah that if a person commits one crime for which there are two penalties, he gets the worse of the two penalties. Thus if someone burns down a house on Shabbat (intentionally) he is executed but he is not liable for making compensation for the property damage. According to R. Nehuniah b. Hakaneh, the same is true for Yom Kippur, even though its punishment is not death but karet. The mishnah, according to the Talmud, agrees with this position.


תנן התם: כל חייבי כריתות שלקו נפטרו מידי כריתתן, שנאמר +דברים כ"ה+ ונקלה אחיך לעיניךכיון שלקה הרי הוא כאחיך, דברי רבי חנניה בן גמליאל.


We have learned elsewhere: If any who has incurred the penalty of karet is flogged they are exempt from karet, as it says, "Lest your brother should be dishonored in your eyes" (Deuteronomy 25:3) once he has been flogged, he is like thy brother, the words of R. Hananiah b. Gamaliel.


According to R. Hananiah b. Gamaliel, if someone is liable for karet and he is flogged he is now exempt from the karet punishment. This is derived from the verse in Deuteronomy once someone has been flogged, he returns to being your brother.

אמר רבי יוחנן: חלוקין עליו חביריו על רבי חנניה בן גמליאל.

אמר רבא: אמר בי רב: תנינא אין בין יום הכפורים לשבת אלא שזה זדונו בידי אדם וזה זדונו בהיכרת. ואם איתאאידי ואידי בידי אדם היא!


R. Yohanan said: R. Hananiah b. Gamaliel’s colleagues disagreed with him on this point.

Rava said: They said in the school of Rav: We have [also] learned [this]: There is no difference between Yom Kippur and Shabbat except that he who breaks the one deliberately is punished by a human court, while he who breaks the other deliberately is punished with karet.

Now if [R. Hananiah’s opinion] is correct, then both are punished by the human court?


R. Yohanan says that there are others who disagree with R. Hananiah b. Gamaliel. They would hold that even if one is lashed, he remains liable to the punishment of karet. Lashes don’t exempt one from karet.

Rava cites a proof for this from the school of Rav which cited our mishnah from Megillah, according to which transgressions of Yom Kippur are not punished by a human court. But if a person who committed a transgression punishable by karet is to be lashed, then transgressing Yom Kippur is also punishable by a human court, contra the mishnah. .


אמר רב נחמן: הא מנירבי יצחק היא, דאמר: מלקות בחייבי כריתות ליכא. דתניא, רבי יצחק אומר: חייבי כריתות בכלל היו, ולמה יצאת כרת באחותולדונה בכרת ולא במלקות.


R. Nahman replied: Whose view is this? That of R. Yitzchak, who said that lashes are never inflicted on those who are obligated for karet, as it has been taught: R. Yitzchak says: Those who are obligated for karet are included in the general statement. Why then is karet specially mentioned in the case of [one who has relations with] his sister? To show that she is punished with karet and not with lashes.


R. Nahman disagrees with R. Yohanan. A person who is obligated for karet does receive lashes and is thereby exempt from karet. The mishnah in Megillah represents R. Yitzchak’s opinion only, who holds that if someone transgresses something for which he is obligated for karet, he can never be lashed. This is based on a midrash on Leviticus 18. Leviticus 18:29 says that anyone who transgresses one of the incest prohibitions in the chapter is liable for karet. But then Leviticus 20:17 says that one who sleeps with his sister receives karet. This seems to be superfluous. R. Yitzchak reads the verse as saying that such a person receives only karet, no lashes. And this then becomes a paradigm. Anyone who is liable for karet is not lashed.

רב אשי אמר: אפילו תימא רבנן, זהעיקר זדונו בידי אדם, וזהעיקר זדונו בהיכרת.


R. Ashi said: You may even say that it is the view of the Rabbis: in the case of the one [the breaker of Sabbath], the essential [punishment for] an intentional transgression is inflicted by the human court, but in the case of the other, the essential punishment for his intentional transgression is karet.


R. Ashi says that the mishnah in Megillah can even accord with the rabbis who hold that if a person liable for karet is flogged he is exempt from karet. When the mishnah said that Shabbat is punishable by a human court and Yom Kippur by a divine court, it referred to the main punishment. The main punishment for transgressing Shabbat is the death penalty and the main punishment for transgressing Yom Kippur is karet, even though lashes can be handed out for it as well.