[56a - 47 lines; 56b - 54 lines]

1)[line 1] DANIN ES HA'EDIM B'CHINUY- the witnesses are interrogated using a byword [to refer to the Name of HaSh-m] (this has the effect of directing the blasphemy towards a person named "Yosi," as opposed to HaSh-m - RASHI)

2)[line 1]YOSI- this is the byword that refers to the Tetragrammaton, the four-letter Name of HaSh-m. It was chosen (a) because it is a name that contains four letters and its Gematriya, 86, is the same as that of the Divine Name El-kim (RASHI); (b) because three of its letters, Yud, Vav, Yud have the same Gematriya, 26, as the Tetragrammaton (ARUCH, Erech Kan IV, 2nd explanation); (c) according to the Girsa YOSEH (with a letter Heh at the end instead of a Yud) - because it is a name that contains four letters and three of the letters of "Yoseh" are identical to three of the letters of the Tetragrammaton (ARUCH ibid., 1st explanation)

3)[line 2] LO HORGIN B'CHINUY- (lit. we do not kill with a byword) when the judges are about to pronounce the guilty verdict, one of the witnesses is obligated to say exactly what he heard from the defendant, without using a byword. The defendant cannot be sentenced to death on the basis of testimony that replaced the Name of HaSh-m with a byword.

4a)[line 6]KOR'IN- tear [their garments as a sign of mourning]

b)[line 6] LO ME'ACHIN- they may never sew [the garments together again to be as good as new; however, they may baste ("Sholel") the garments together on the next day - RAMBAM Hilchos Avel 9:12. There are other opinions with regard to the translation of the words Me'achin and Sholelin, see HAGAHOS MAIMONIYOS 9:3:2.]

5)[line 9]" [' , ; ,] '""V'NOKEV SHEM [HASH-M MOS YUMAS, RAGOM YIRGEMU VO KOL HA'EDAH; KA'GER KA'EZRACH,] B'NOKVO SH-M YUMAS"- "And he who blasphemes the Name [of HaSh-m, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him; the stranger, as well as the native,] when he blasphemes the Name [of HaSh-m], he shall be put to death" (Vayikra 24:16).

6)[line 10] LISHNA DI'VERUCHEI- the language of a curse (lit. a blessing)

7)[line 11]" -""MAH EKOV LO KABO KEL?"- "How can I curse when HaSh-m has not cursed?" (Bamidbar 23:8).

8)[line 13] MIVRAZ HU- it is an expression for boring a hole [with a knife, the written Name of HaSh-m]

9)[line 13]"[ ,] ; [ ', ']""... VA'YIKOV CHOR B'DALTO..."- "[And Yehoyada the Kohen [Gadol] took a chest,] and bored a hole in its lid; [and set it beside the Mizbe'ach, on the right side as one comes into the house of HaSh-m, and the Kohanim who guarded the door put in there all the money that was brought to the house of HaSh-m]" (Melachim II 12:10).

10)[line 14]"... [ ]. ' -""... V'IBADTEM ES SHEMAM [MIN HA'MAKOM HA'HU]. LO SA'ASUN KEN LASH-M EL-KEICHEM"- "[And you shall overthrow their altars (the altars of idol worship), and break their pillars, and burn their Asherim with fire; and you shall cut down the carved images of their gods,] and you shall destroy any remembrance of them (lit. their name) [from that place]. Do not do as such to HaSh-m, your G-d" (Devarim 12:3-4).

11)[line 16]BAZA- he pierces

12)[line 18]CHAYIK- he engraves

13)[line 18] A'PUMA D'SAKINA- on the edge of a knife

14)[line 19] CHURFA D'SAKINA- the sharpness of a knife

15)[line 19] PERUSHEI SHEMEI- pronouncing the Name (without a curse or any other derogatory implication)

16)[line 20]" ""VA'YIKACH MOSHE V'AHARON ES HA'ANASHIM HA'ELEH ASHER NIKVU B'SHEMOS"- "And Moshe and Aharon took these men, who were specified by name" (Bamidbar 1:17).

17)[line 24] AZHARAS ASEH LO SHEMAH AZHARAH- an Azharah (a negative commandment) that is deduced from a positive commandment is not considered an Azharah (and cannot incur the death penalty - RASHI)

18)[line 25]" [ ] ...""VA'YIKOV [BEN HA'ISHAH HA'YISRE'ELIS ES HA'SHEM] VA'YEKALEL..."- "and [the son of the Israelite woman] pronounced [the Name] and he cursed..." (Vayikra 24:11)

19)[line 27]" ...""HOTZEI ES HA'MEKALEL..."- "Take out the one who cursed..." (Vayikra 24:14)

20)[line 34] L'RABOS HA'KINUYIN- to include the subordinate Names of HaSh-m

21)[line 37] SHEM HA'MEYUCHAD- the Tetragrammaton, the four-letter Name of HaSh-m

22)[line 39]MISAH- [the] death [penalty of Sekilah]. (According to the Chachamim, Vayikra 24:16 (the source for the death penalty regarding blasphemy; see above, entry #5) refers to the Tetragrammaton exclusively.)

23)[line 39]AZHARAH- [are also included in] the negative commandment (against blasphemy, Shemos 22:27 - as well as the Kares penalty, as stated in Vayikra 24:15 - RASHI)

24)[line 46] DIBERAH TORAH KI'LESHON BENEI ADAM - the Torah [in this instance] speaks in the manner of man

Every word in the Torah is holy and contains worlds of insights and nuances. However, certain Sages of the Mishnah felt that there were some phrases recorded in the Torah that paralleled people's speech, and should not be used for homiletics or insights.


(a)People other than Jews are often referred to as Benei Noach (since all of mankind is descended from Noach). Mankind was commanded to keep seven Mitzvos from the time of Adam ha'Rishon and Noach, even before the Jewish nation existed. Although the Mitzvos of the Torah superseded these Seven Mitzvos for the Jewish nation, these Mitzvos remain binding to Benei Noach today.

(b)The seven Mitzvos are:

1.Avodah Zarah, not to worship idols.

2.Birkas (i.e. Kilelas) HaSh-m, not to curse HaSh-m.

3.Shefichus Damim, not to murder.

4.Giluy Arayos, not to engage in illicit or incestuous relationships. (Besides adultery, the Gemara (Sanhedrin 57b-58b) discusses which relatives a Ben Noach is prohibited to marry.)

5.Gezel, not to steal.

6.Ever Min ha'Chai, not to eat a limb that is detached from an animal when it is alive (see below, entry #27).

7.Dinim, enacting courts and appointing judges to keep law and order.

(c)All of these are general commandments with many details. Transgressing any one of them is considered such a breach in the natural order that the offender incurs the death penalty. Chazal termed this as, "Ben Noach - Azharaso Zo Hi Misaso" - "Any act prohibited to a Ben Noach invokes the death sentence" (RAMBAM Hilchos Melachim 9:14).

(d)Besides these seven major Mitzvos, Chazal received a tradition that there are other Mitzvos and prohibitions that are incumbent upon Benei Noach. The Beraisa (on Amud Beis) notes certain Tana'im who rule that other prohibitions are incumbent upon Benei Noach. These prohibitions are:

1.Dam Min ha'Chai, not to eat blood that is taken from an animal when it is alive.

2.Sirus, not to perform castration.

3.Kishuf, witchcraft.

4.Harba'as Behemah, mating different species of animals.

5.Harkavas ha'Ilan, grafting different species of plants.

(e)The Amora'im add two more prohibitions:

1.Keeping Shabbos; it is prohibited for Benei Noach to choose a day of the week on which to refrain from work (Sanhedrin 58b).

2.Learning Torah, other than the portions that deal with the seven major Mitzvos above (Sanhedrin 59a).

(f)The Rambam (ibid. 8:11) writes that all Benei Noach who accept upon themselves the Seven Mitzvos and are careful to keep them are termed "Chasidei Umos ha'Olam" ("the Pious Ones of the Nations") and they merit a share in the World to Come. However, they must keep these Mitzvos specifically because HaSh-m commanded them in the Torah through Moshe Rabeinu. If they keep and perform these Mitzvos as logical guidelines for the survival of the world, they are not termed "Chasidei Umos ha'Olam." When a Ben Noach fulfills a Mitzvah of the Torah that is not prohibited to him, he receives the reward of an "Eino Metzuveh v'Oseh" - "one who performs a Mitzvah in which he was not commanded." This reward is less than the reward of one who performs Mitzvos in which he was commanded (Gemara Bava Kama 38a; Kidushin 31a).

26)[last line]DININ- enacting courts and appointing judges to keep law and order

27)[last line] EVER MIN HA'CHAI

(a)Ever Min ha'Chai refers to a limb that is detached from an animal when it is alive, whether the limb contains only flesh (such as the tongue or heart) or whether it contains bone, flesh and sinews (such as a hand or foot). Basar Min ha'Chai refers to flesh detached from an animal when it is alive. Both are forbidden to be eaten by the Torah (RAMBAM Hilchos Ma'achalos Asuros 5:1).

(b)The prohibition for Benei Yisrael to eat Ever Min ha'Chai is learned from the verse, "v'Lo Sochal ha'Nefesh Im ha'Basar" - "You shall not eat the spirit together with the flesh" (Devarim 12:23). If the limb contains only flesh (e.g. the tongue or heart), one receive lashes for eating a k'Zayis of flesh. If the limb contains bones, sinews and flesh, then the bone and sinews may be combined with the flesh to make up a k'Zayis if the limb is eaten in its natural state (i.e. if the flesh was not detached from the limb prior to its consumption). One does not receive lashes for eating less than a k'Zayis, even if he ate an entire limb. (RAMBAM Hilchos Ma'achalos Asuros Ch. 5; SEFER HA'CHINUCH #452)

(c)The prohibition for Benei Noach to eat Ever Min ha'Chai is learned from the verse, "... mi'Kol Etz ha'Gan Achol Tochel" - "... from all of the trees of the Garden [of Eden] you may surely eat" (Bereishis 2:16). The implication is that Adam may eat from all of the trees, but he may not eat Ever Min ha'Chai (Gemara, Amud Beis). This follows the teaching of Rebbi Yochanan. Other sages learn the prohibition from different verses (as the Gemara will teach in the ensuing Dapim).


28)[line 1] DAM MIN HA'CHAI- the blood of a live animal (as the Torah prohibits to Benei Yisrael in Devarim 12:23, and as Rebbi Chananyah ben Gamliel teaches its prohibition to Benei Noach from Bereishis 9:4; see Sanhedrin 59a)

29)[line 2]SEIRUS- castration

30)[line 3]KISHUF- witchcraft (as the Torah prohibits in Shemos 22:17, and as described in the Mishnah and Gemara, Sanhedrin 67a)

31a)[line 5]" , , ""LO YIMATZEI VECHA MA'AVIR BENO U'VITO BA'ESH, KOSEM KESAMIM, ME'ONEN U'MENACHESH U'MECHASHEF"- "There shall not be found among you any one who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire [of the Molech], or who uses divination, or an astrologer, or a reader of omens, or a witch" (Devarim 18:10).


See Background to Sanhedrin 53:5.

c)[line 6] KOSEM KESAMIM- one who holds a stick and predicts the future, answering questions on the basis of his divination (RASHI to Devarim 18:10; RAMBAM Hilchos Avodas Kochavim 11:6-7)

d)[line 6]ME'ONEN- the Tana'im argue (Sanhedrin 65b) as to whether this is astrology, a form of witchcraft, or the deception of professional magicians. (Besides the verse quoted above, the Torah prohibits the practice of Me'onen in Vayikra 19:26; see RAMBAM Hilchos Avodas Kochavim 11:8-9.)

e)[line 6]MENACHESH- one who is superstitious and acts on the basis of omens (Sanhedrin 65b-66a). (Besides the verse quoted above, the Torah prohibits the practice of Menachesh in Vayikra 19:26; see RAMBAM Hilchos Avodas Kochavim 11:4.)

32a)[line 6]" , ""V'CHOVER CHAVER, V'SHO'EL OV V'YIDE'ONI V'DORESH EL HA'MESIM"- "Or an animal charmer, or one who practices the forms of witchcraft known as "Ov" and "Yid'oni," or a necromancer" (Devarim 18:11).

b)[line 6] CHOVER CHAVER- (a) one who gathers snakes, scorpions or other animals together using incantations (Sanhedrin 65a, RASHI to Devarim 18:11); (b) one who uses incantations in conjunction with certain actions to achieve various magical results (RAMBAM Hilchos Avodas Kochavim 11:10)

c)[line 7] SHO'EL OV V'YID'ONI - one who inquires [using a practitioner] of Ov or Yid'oni (OV V'YID'ONI)

See Background to Sanhedrin 53:6.

d)[line 7] DORESH EL HA'MESIM- one who fasts and sleeps in a graveyard in order to have spirits of Tum'ah rest upon him, or to have the dead appear to him in his dreams. He then directs questions to these spirits or dead people (Sanhedrin 65b; RAMBAM Hilchos Avodas Kochavim 11:13)


(a)The word Kil'ayim means "forbidden mixture," which refers to two items, each of which is permitted, which the Torah prohibits to combine. Although the term "Kil'ayim" refers to many different types of forbidden mixtures (see Background to Kidushin 39:23a), our Gemara is referring to Harba'as Behemah.

(b)Harba'as Behemah refers to the prohibition of mating together any two different types of animals or birds (Bava Kama 54b), as the Torah states, "Behemtecha Lo Sarbi'a Kil'ayim" (Vayikra 19:19). One who intentionally transgresses this prohibition is liable to Malkos.

1.Animals that are produced through Harba'as Behemah are permitted to be used (see Tosfos Chagigah 2b DH Lisa).


See Background to Bava Kama 113:17.


See Background to Kidushin 39:23a:b-c.

c)[line 12] HARKAVAS HA'ILAN

See Background to Kidushin 39:23a:d.

35)[line 14]" ' - , ""VA'YETZAV HASH-M EL-KIM AL HA'ADAM LEIMOR, 'MI'KOL ETZ HA'GAN ACHOL TOCHEL'"- "And HaSh-m commanded Adam saying, 'From all of the trees of the Garden [of Eden] you may surely eat'" (Bereishis 2:16) - Rebbi Yochanan uses this verse word by word to teach the seven Mitzvos of Benei Noach, as the Gemara continues.

36)[line 16]" , [ , ' ; ' ]""KI YEDATIV LEMA'AN ASHER YETZAVEH ES BANAV..."- "For I love him, since he will command his children [and his household after him that they shall keep the way of HaSh-m, to do justice and judgment; that HaSh-m may bring upon Avraham that which He has spoken of him]" (Bereishis 18:19) - This verse demonstrates that the concepts of justice and judgment are linked to the words "va'Yetzav" and "Yetzaveh."

37)[line 21]" , [ ; - ]""SHOFECH DAM HA'ADAM..."- "Whoever sheds the blood of a man, by man shall his blood be shed, for in the image of G-d He made man" (Bereishis 9:6).

38)[line 22]", , [ , ...]""LEIMOR, HEN YESHALACH ISH ES ISHTO V'HALCHAH ME'ITO V'HAYESAH L'ISH ACHER, [HA'YASHUV ELEHA OD, HA'LO CHANOF TECHENAF HA'ARETZ HA'HI...]"- "Saying, 'If a man sends away his wife, and she goes from him, and becomes another man's, [can he return to her again? Surely that land would become guilty...]'" (Yirmeyahu 3:1) - This verse demonstrates the connection between the word "Leimor" and illicit relations.

39)[line 23] V'LO EVER MIN HA'CHAI- and not the detached limb of a living animal or bird [that fell off by itself] (Adam was commanded not to kill animals to eat. If an animal died on its own, the meat was permitted to him. However, an Ever Min ha'Chai that fell off on its own was still prohibited - TOSFOS DH Achol)

40)[line 25]"[ ] -... [ - ; - ]""... V'NIKRAV BA'AL HA'BAYIS EL HA'EL-KIM..."- "[If the thief is not found,] then the master of the house shall be brought to the judges [to swear... the cause of both parties shall come before the judges, and whom the judges shall condemn, he shall pay double to his neighbor]" (Shemos 22:7-8) - The word "El-kim," means judges in this context. (Regarding the practice of pronouncing (and writing) the word as if it were the name of HaSh-m, see YOSEF DA'AS to Sanhedrin 2b, p. 8.)

41)[line 26]" , [ ; , ]""SARU MAHER MIN HA'DERECH ASHER TZIVISIM, ASU LAHEM [EGEL MASECHAH...]"- "They have turned aside quickly from the way which I commanded them; they have made [a molten calf; and they have worshipped it, and have sacrificed to it, and said, 'These are your gods, O Yisrael, which have brought you out of the land of Egypt']" (Shemos 32:8) - This verse demonstrates the connection between the word "va'Yetzav" and Avodah Zarah.

42)[line 27]" , ; ""ASHUK EFRAYIM, RETZUTZ MISHPAT; KI HO'IL HALACH ACHAREI TZAV"- "Efrayim is oppressed and broken in judgment, because he willingly walked after the command [of the prophets of the Ba'al Avodah Zarah (RASHI); or, the wicked kings (RADAK)]" (Hoshea 5:11) - This verse likewise demonstrates the connection between the word "va'Yetzav" and Avodah Zarah. However, the word "Halach" connotes that an action must be done in order to be guilty.

43)[line 30] U'FALACH LAH- and [actually] worships it

44)[line 30]" (= ) () [] OVED KOCHAVIM (SHE'ASA'AH) [SHE'ASAH] AVODAH ZARAH- a Nochri who made an idol or another form of Avodah Zarah

45)[line 31]" (= )B'AVODAS KOCHAVIM- with regard to idol worship

46a)[line 34]GIPUF- hugging

b)[line 34]NISHUK- kissing

47)[line 35]K'DARKAH - according to its "way," i.e. using a rite that is specific to that Avodah Zarah (AVODAH ZARAH: AVODASAH)

(a)Avodah Zarah is the term for a Pesel (an idol or graven image) or anything such as the sun or the moon, or even a person, which people mistakenly believe is an independent power with G-d-like attributes, which they worship and to which they pray. It is prohibited to do even the most minute action that demonstrates the ascendancy of Avodah Zarah. Avodah Zarah is one of the three cardinal sins about which we are commanded, "Yehareg v'Al Ya'avor" - "One should be killed rather than transgress." (The other two are Giluy Arayos - forbidden relations and Sheficus Damim - murder. But see RAMBAM Hilchos Yesodei ha'Torah 5:1-4.)

(b)The prohibition against serving Avodah Zarah is one of the Ten Commandments, " . ... ..." "Lo Yiheyeh Lecha Elohim Acherim Al Panai. Lo Sa'aseh Lecha Fesel v'Chol Temunah... Lo Sishtachaveh Lahem v'Lo Sa'ovdem..." - "You shall not possess any foreign gods, ever (lit. in my presence). You shall neither make for yourself a graven image nor any likeness of that which is in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the water beneath the earth. You shall not prostrate yourself to them nor worship them for I am HaSh-m, your G-d..." (Shemos 20:3-5).

(c)A person who serves Avodah Zarah b'Mezid (intentionally) is liable to the Kares punishment. If he received the proper warning and witnesses saw his action, he is liable to Sekilah (stoning). A person who worships Avodah Zarah b'Shogeg (unintentionally) is liable to offer a Korban Chatas (RAMBAM Hilchos Avodas Kochavim 3:1). A person who makes an idol or other Avodah Zarah, even for a Nochri, is liable to Malkus (lashes) (Rambam ibid. 3:9).

(d)Many rites were invented for specific forms of Avodah Zarah. If a person serves an Avodah Zarah with a rite specific to it, he is Chayav as above, (c). If one serves an Avodah Zarah with a rite that was intended for another Avodah Zarah, he is exempt from punishment. However, the verses show that a person who performs the services of Zibu'ach (sacrificing an animal), Kitur (burning incense), Nisuch (pouring a libation) and Hishtachava'ah (bowing down) is Chayav, whether it is specific to the Avodah Zarah or not (Sanhedrin 60b, see Rambam ibid. 3:3).

(e)The prohibition against Avodah Zarah is included in the seven Mitzvos Benei Noach, the seven commandments in which all of humanity is obligated (see above, entry #25).

48)[line 36]MARAH- a place in the wilderness of Shur, one of the stations of Benei Yisrael during their sojourn in the desert after the Exodus from Egypt, but before their arrival at Mount Sinai (Shemos 15:22-26). From the verses (see next entry), we learn that the people received certain commandments at Marah.

49)[line 37]"... [ ]""... SHAM SAM LO CHOK U'MISHPAT, V'SHAM NISAHU"- "[And he cried out to HaSh-m, and HaSh-m showed him a tree, which he threw into the waters, and made the waters sweet;] there He made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there He tested them" (Shemos 15:25).

50a)[line 40]EDAH- a Beis Din [of 23 for capital cases]

b)[line 40]EDIM- [two] witnesses

c)[line 40]HASRA'AH

If a person transgresses a Lav for which the punishment is the death penalty or lashes, he can only be put to death or lashed if he has been given a proper Hasra'ah (warning). The warning must be, "Abstain, because this action is prohibited and you will be punished with the death penalty (or with lashes) for doing it," or something to that effect. The warning must specifically name the Lav or Av Melachah that the person is about to transgress. (Some Rishonim maintain that they must mention the specific verse of the Azharah in the Torah.)

51)[line 41] DINEI KENASOS

(a)The laws of Kenasos (fines) are one category of Dinei Mamonos, laws of monetary matters. Kenasos, which were only imposed by judges of Eretz Yisrael who were Semuchin (ordained), are either a fixed sum of money or an amount more than or less than the damage caused. It is not normal compensation, which is termed "Mamon."

(b)In every case of Kenas, the guilty party does not have to pay the Kenas if he admits to his liability of his own accord. Only if witnesses testify to his guilt in court must he pay.

52a)[line 42]PELACH- region, county

b)[line 43]IR- city (of at least one hundred twenty or two hundred thirty residents - see Tana'ic argument in the Mishnah, Daf 2b)

53a)[line 46](") ["](Da"CH) [Da"B]- Dinim and Birkas HaSh-m

b)[line 46]"Sa"CH- Sirus and Chil'ayim

54a)[line 51] LO SEMIRUNI- do not replace Me

b)[line 52] YEHEI MORA'I ALEICHEM- let My fear be upon them