The Gemara in many places including Berachot 15b talks about a shoteh(imbecile). What type(characteristics)of people does the gemara refer to as "Shoteh"?


Chagiga 3b is the main place in Talmud. This text does not easy lead to clear conclusions. But this is the main source. in psychiatry today perhaps those symptoms are included in the term "disorganized behavior".

The Sages taught: Who is considered an imbecile (who has no duty to fulfill mitsvot, has no punishment, who cannot make valid acquirement or monetary transactions, Rashi)? One who goes out alone at night, and one who sleeps in a cemetery (at night, Rashi), and one who rends his garment. It was stated that Rav Huna said: One does not have the halakhic status of an imbecile until there are all of these signs present in him at the same time. Rabbi Yoḥanan said: He is considered an imbecile even due to the appearance of one of these signs. The Gemara asks: What are the circumstances of the case under discussion? If he performs them in a deranged manner, then even the appearance of one sign should be enough to classify him as an imbecile. If he does not perform these actions in a deranged manner, but has a reason to act this way, then even if he performs all of them he should not be deemed an imbecile. The Gemara answers: Actually, the baraita is referring to one who performs these actions in a deranged manner, but each action on its own could be explained rationally. With regard to one who sleeps in the cemetery, one could say that he is doing so in order that an impure spirit should settle upon him (to make witchcraft, Rashi). Although it is inappropriate to do this, as there is a reason for this behavior it is not a sign of madness. And with regard to one who goes out alone at night, one could say that perhaps a fever took hold of him and he is trying to cool himself down (this is the second interpretation of Rashi, the first was a mental disorder that occur because of anxiety). And as for one who tears his garments, one could say that he is a man engaged in thought, and out of anxiety he tears his clothing unintentionally. Despite these possible explanations, since one performed all of these together they are considered like the actions of a forewarned ox that gored an ox, a donkey, and a camel. Since this ox gored three different animals on three separate occasions, it is considered predisposed to gore and becomes forewarned for every type of animal. Likewise, if someone performs three different deranged actions, it is assumed that there is no logical reason for his behavior and he is classified as an imbecile. Rav Pappa said: If Rav Huna had heard that which is taught in a baraita: Who is an imbecile? This is one who destroys whatever is given to him (one type of action is sufficient, Rashi), he would have retracted his statement that one is an imbecile only if he performs three deranged actions. A dilemma was raised before the Sages with regard to Rav Pappa’s statement: When Rav Pappa claims that Rav Huna would have retracted his statement, would he have retracted only from the case of one who tears his garments, as this person is similar to one who destroys whatever is given to him? Or perhaps he would have retracted his opinion with regard to all of the signs of an imbecile? The Gemara states that the dilemma shall stand unresolved, as no answer was found.

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