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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Horayoth
Whence are these laws derived? — [From] that which our Rabbis taught: Then let him offer for his sin3 teaches that he4 brings his sin offering even [if he sinned] after he relinquished office. For it might have been argued,5 if a ruler who brings a sin offering in case of error in action alone does not bring his sin offering6 after he lost his rank how much less an anointed High Priest who does not bring his sin offering in case of error in action alone but only where error in action was accompanied by ignorance of the law; hence Scripture expressly stated, 'Then let him offer for his sin,'7 which teaches that he brings [the same offering] for his sin even [if he sinned] after he relinquished his office.
[And in case it be argued:] Let, then [the law that] a ruler also8 brings [the same sin offering]9 be deduced by an inference from major to minor:10 If an anointed High Priest who does not bring a sin offering for error in action alone brings nevertheless [the same] sin offering11 [even if he sinned] after relinquishing office, how much more should a ruler who brings a sin offering for error in action alone, bring the same sin offering12 [even if he sinned] after losing his rank; Scripture expressly stated, When a ruler sinneth,13 only when he is 'a ruler'14 but not when he is a layman.
MISHNAH. IF THEY15 COMMITTED A SIN BEFORE THEY WERE APPOINTED, AND WERE SUBSEQUENTLY APPOINTED, THEY ARE REGARDED16 AS LAYMEN. R. SIMEON SAID: IF THEIR SIN CAME TO THEIR KNOWLEDGE BEFORE THEY WERE APPOINTED THEY ARE LIABLE, BUT IF AFTER THEY WERE APPOINTED THEY ARE EXEMPT. WHO IS MEANT BY RULER? A KING; FOR IT IS STATED IN THE SCRIPTURES, ANY OF ALL THE THINGS WHICH THE LORD HIS GOD HATH COMMANDED,17 HE ABOVE WHOM THERE IS NONE BUT THE LORD HIS GOD.
GEMARA. Whence are these laws derived? — [From] that which our Rabbis taught: If the anointed priest shall sin,18 excludes sins committed previously.19 Could not this law, however, be arrived at by logical reasoning: If a ruler who brings a sin offering for error in action alone does not bring one for sins committed previously,20 how much less should a High Priest, who brings a sin offering only where error in action was accompanied by ignorance of the law, bring one for sins committed previously! But no; if this21 is said to apply to a ruler who indeed does not bring his sin offering after he lost his rank, could it be said to apply also to an anointed High priest who does bring his sin offering even after he relinquished office?22 Since he brings his sin offering even after relinquishing office it might have been assumed that he brings also for sins committed previously,19 hence Scripture stated, 'The anointed priest shall sin'18 [which teaches that] if he sinned while he was already anointed High Priest he brings [the prescribed sin offering], if, however, when he was still one of the common people he does not bring it.
A similar discussion also took place23 in respect of a ruler: When in ruler sinneth24 excludes sins he committed previously.19 Could not this law, however, be arrived at by logical reasoning: If an anointed High Priest who brings his sin offering even [if he sinned] after he relinquished office does not, nevertheless, bring one for sins he committed previously,19 how much less should a ruler who does not bring his sin offering25 [if he sinned] after he lost his rank, bring one for sins he committed previously. The anointed High Priest [it may, however, be retorted] may well be exempt from bringing26 because he is also exempt [where his sin consisted] of error in action alone, could it be said, however, [that the same law should apply] to a ruler who does bring one [where his sin consisted] of error in action a lone? Now, since he brings27 for error in action alone it might be assumed that he brings also for sins he committed previously,28 hence Scripture stated, 'When a ruler sinneth,'29 only if he sinned when he was already ruler,30 but not if he sinned while he was still a layman.
Our Rabbis taught: When31 a ruler sinneth32 might have been taken to imply a decree, hence Scripture stated, If the anointed priest shall sin;33 as there the meaning is 'if and when34 he sinneth' so here also the meaning is 'if and when he sinneth'.
The Master said, '[It] might have been taken to imply a decree'; but could one possibly imagine such a thing!35 — Yes, it may be answered, for we find that it is written in the Scripture, And I shall put the plague of leprosy in a house of the land of your possession,36 which is an announcement to them that they will be visited by plagues; these are the words of R. Judah. R. Simeon said: [This text] excludes37 plagues due to supernatural causes.38 Now, as39 R. Judah declared [that the Scriptural text is] an announcement, so here also it might have been assumed that the text implies a decree, hence 'if' had to be written.40
According to R. Simeon, however, do not plagues that are due to supernatural causes impart Levitical uncleanness? Surely it was taught, When a man shall have,41 implies 'from the time of the promulgation onwards'.42 May not this, however, be arrived at by logical deduction? Uncleanness [is mentioned in connection] with one who has an issue,43 and uncleanness [is mentioned in respect] of plagues; as in the case of a man who has an issue, [the laws of uncleanness are applicable only] from the time of their promulgation onwards,44 so in the case of plagues [their laws of uncleanness are applicable only] from the time of their promulgation onwards! No; if [this restriction] is applicable to a man who has an issue, because he does not become unclean where it was due to accident, could it also be said to apply to plagues which do impart uncleanness even where they were due to supernatural causes.45 Hence Scripture stated, 'When a man shall have'46 which implies, 'from the time of the promulgation onwards'!47 — Raba replied: The exclusion48 refers to plagues that are due to ghosts,49 R. Papa replied: The exclusion refers to plagues that are due to witchcraft.49
Our Rabbis taught: When in ruler sinneth50 excludes a sick man. Should he, because he is, sick, be removed from his rank? — R. Abdimi b. Hama replied: The exclusion refers to a ruler who became leprous; as it is said, And the Lord smote the king, so that he was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in the house of freedom,'51 and Jotham the king's son wins over the household.52
Since it is stated, In the house of freedom51 it must be inferred that until then he was a servant;53 as is illustrated in the case54 of R. Gamaliel55 and R. Joshua.56 They once traveled on board a ship. R. Gamaliel had with him some bread only, while R. Joshua had with him bread and flour. When R. Gamaliel's bread was consumed he depended on R. Joshua's flour. 'Did you know', the former asked him, 'that we should be so much delayed that you brought flour with you?' The latter answered him, 'A certain star rises once in seventy years and leads the sailors57 astray, and I suspected it might rise and lead us astray.' 'You possess so much knowledge', the former said to him, 'and yet must travel on board a ship!'58 The other replied, 'Rather than be surprised at me, marvel at two disciples you have on land, R. Eleazar Hisma and R. Johanan b. Gudgada,59 who are able to calculate how many drops there are in the sea, and yet have neither bread to eat nor raiment to put on. He decided to appoint them as supervisors,60 and when he landed61 he sent for them, but they did not come.62 He sent for them a second time and when they came he said to them, 'Do you imagine that I offer you rulership?
Horayoth 10bIt is servitude that I offer you; as it is said, And they spoke to him saying: If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day.'1
Our Rabbis taught: When a ruler sinneth;2 R. Johanan b. Zakkai said: Happy3 is the generation whose ruler brings a sacrifice for a sin he has committed unwillingly. If its ruler brings a sacrifice, is there any need to say what one of the common people would do; and if he brings a sacrifice for a sin he has committed unwillingly, is there any need to say what he would do in case of a sin committed wilfully?
Raba son of Rabbah demurred: Now, then, it is written, And he shall make restitution for that which4 he hath done amiss in the holy thing,5 and concerning Jeroboam the son of Nebat it is written, Which4 he hath sinned, and wherewith6 she hath made [Israel] to sin,7 could the meaning there8 also be, 'happy is that generation'? — Here the case is different, because Scripture deliberately changed the expression.9
R. Nahman b. Hisda made the following exposition: What is meant by the Scriptural text: There is a vanity which is done upon the earth: [That4 there are righteous men, unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; again there are wicked men to whom it hanppeneth] etc?10 Happy11 are the righteous men unto whom it happeneth in this world according to the work of the wicked in the world to come;12 woe13 to the wicked men to whom it happeneth in this world according to the work of the righteous in the world to come.14 Said Raba: Would the righteous, then, if they enjoyed both worlds find it so distasteful? — But, said Raba, happy11 are the righteous men unto whom it happeneth in this world according to the work of the wicked in this world;14 woe13 to the wicked men unto whom it happeneth in this world according to the work of the righteous in this world.12
R. Papa and R. Huna son of R. Joshua once came before Raba. 'Have you', he asked them, 'mastered15 this or that tractate?' 'Yes', they replied. 'Are you', he asked, 'a little better off?'16 'Yes', they replied, 'for we have bought some17 land.' He, thereupon, exclaimed:18 Happy are the righteous unto whom it happeneth in this world according to the work of the wicked in this world.
Rabbah b. Bar Hana said in the name of R. Johanan: What is meant by the Scriptural text, For the ways of the Lord are right, and the just do walk in them; but transgressors do stumble therein?19 This may be applied20 to two men both of whom roasted their paschal lambs, and one of them ate his with the intention of performing the commandment, while the other ate his merely to enjoy a substantial meal.21 To him who ate with the intention of performing the commandment [applies], The just do walk in them,22 while to him who ate merely to enjoy a substantial meal [applies], But transgressors do stumble therein.22
Said Resh Lakish to him: Do you call him 'wicked'! Granted he has not performed the commandment to perfection, has he not, however, eaten of the paschal lamb? But it22 may be applied23 to two men, one of whom had his wife and his sister with him at home and the other also had his wife and sister with him at home. One happened to come in contact with his wife while the other happened to come in contact with his sister. To him who happened to come in contact with his wife [applies] The just do walk in them,22 while to him who happened to come in contact with his sister [applies], But transgressors do stumble therein.22
What a comparison! We spoke of one way;24 but here, is it not a case of two ways?25 But it22 may be applied23 to Lot and his two daughters. To them, whose intention was the performance of a commandment [applies], The just do walk in them,22 but to him, since his intention was to commit a sin [applies], But transgressors do stumble therein.22 Is it not possible that he also intended to perform a commandment? R. Johanan replied: This entire verse shows that his intention was transgression: And Lot lifted up26 [is analogous to], His Master's wife lifted up her eyes;27 His eyes26 [is analogous to] Samson said. … 'Get her for me, for she is pleasing in my eyes;'28 And beheld26 [is analogous to], Shechem the son of Hamor beheld her;29 All the plain30 of the Jordan26 [is analogous to], For on account of a harlot in man is brought to a loaf30 of bread;31 That it was well watered26 [is analogous to], I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink.32
But was he33 not a victim of circumstances?34 — It was taught in the name of R. Jose son of R. Honi: Why is there a point on the waw of u-be-kumah35 mentioned in connection with the elder daughter? To indicate that though he did not know when she lay down36 he well knew when she arose.36 What, however, could he do?37 Surely what was done could not be undone?38 — Matters might have been different: He should not have drunk again on the following evening.
Rabbah made the following exposition: What is meant by the Biblical text, A brother transgressed against a strong city, and their contentions are like the bars of a castle?39 — A brother transgressed against a strong city refers to Lot who separated himself from Abraham;40 and their contentions are like the bars of the castle, because he caused contentions between Israel and Ammon, as it is said, An Ammonite or a Moabite shall not enter into the assembly of the Lord.41
Raba (others say R. Isaac) made the following exposition: What is the meaning of the Biblical text, He that separateth himself seeketh his own desire, and snarleth against all sound wisdom?42 — He that separateth himself seeketh his own desire, refers to Lot who separated himself from Abraham: And snarleth43 against all sound wisdom, for his shame was exposed44 in the Synagogues and in the houses of study, as we learnt: An Ammonite and a Moabite are forbidden [to enter into the assembly] for ever.
'Ulla said: Tamar45 committed adultery and Zimri46 also committed adultery. Tamar committed adultery and kings and prophets descended from her;47 Zimri committed adultery and through him many ten thousands of Israel fell.48
R. Nahman b. Isaac said: A transgression with good intent is
more meritorious than the performance of a commandment with no intent; for it is said, Blessed above women Jael be,<49 style="background-color:#FF9DFF">48 the wife of Heber the Kenite, above women in the tent shall she be blessed.50 Who are the women in the tent? Sarah, Rebeka, Rachel and Leah. But this51 is not so! For did not Rab Judah say in the name of Rab: Let a man always engage in Torah and the performance of commandments even though his motive may be ulterior,52 because even ulterior motive will ultimately lead to disinterested [study and performance]?53 Say. 'Like the meaningless performance of a commandment.'54 R. Johanan said: That profligate55 had seven sexual connections at that hour; for it is said, Between her feet he sunk, he fell. he lay, etc.56 But, surely, she enjoyed the transgression! — R. Johanan said in the name of R. Simeon b. Yohai: Even the favours of the wicked are distasteful to the righteous.
[Reverting to] the above text,57 'Rab Judah said in the name of Rab: Let a man always engage in Torah and the performance of commandments even though his motive be ulterior, because ulterior motive will ultimately lead to disinterested [study and performance;]'58 for as a reward for the forty-two sacrifices which the wicked Balak offered59 he gained the privilege of having Ruth descended from him; for R. Jose son of R. Hanina said: Ruth was the daughter of the son of Eglon who was the son of the son of Balak the King of Moab.
R. Hiyya b. Abba said in the name of R. Johanan: Whence is it deduced that the Holy One, blessed be He, does not deprive one even of the reward for an elegant expression? From here: Whereas in the case of the elder daughter,60 who called her son Moab,61 the All Merciful said to Moses, Be not at enmity with Moab, neither contend with them in battle,62 'battle'
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