In Vayikra 24:12 it says they placed the person who cursed God in jail. The gemarah (Sanhedrin 78b) explains that Moshe did not know if this person's actions warranted the death punishment and that the m'kallel was killed due to a ho'raat shah, a temporary legal aberration.

My question is did the m'kallel himself know that he was performing an act that was punishable by death? If so, how?


1 Answer 1


Rashi on that Passuk (based on the abovementioned Gemara in Sanhedrin) writes that while the event with the blasphemer occurred chronologically at the same time as the one who collected wood on Shabbos, they were incarcerated in separate prisons since it was unclear what punishment the blasphemer would get, while it was known that the wood collector was liable for death.

The Siftei Chachamim explains that the purpose of keeping the blasphemer separate was since it was not known yet whether he would be receive the death penalty, if he would be put in the cell with the wood collector, he would have unjustly suffered grief by thinking that he too was liable to a death penalty, when in truth, at that time, it was unknown what his punishment would be.

Based on that Siftei Chachamim, one can imply that the blasphemer was also uncertain about what his punishment would be, since if he would have known his punishment, it would not have mattered where he was locked up.

שהמקושש במיתה. זה טעם הוא אלעיל למה לא הניחום ביחד ומפרש לפי שיודעין שזה במיתה אבל מקלל לא היו יודעין שהוא במיתה ושמא לא יהיה במיתה ויצטער זה שסבר הואיל ויושבין יחד:

That one who gathered wood [on Shabbos] was [condemned] to death. This is a reason for the above, why he [Moshe] did not put them together. He [Rashi] explains that this was because they knew that this one was liable to death, but did not know whether the blasphemer was liable to death. Perhaps he was not liable to death and would suffer by thinking, that because they are sitting together [he too, must be liable to death].

  • Then how would he be liable, if he were unable to be warned ? May 13, 2019 at 1:08
  • @NoachMiFrankfurt judaism.stackexchange.com/q/99084
    – DonielF
    May 13, 2019 at 1:48
  • @DonielF it's a good question and has my upvote, but no answer as of yet May 13, 2019 at 1:49
  • Doesn't answer the question. How could he receive the death penalty without a warning stating he was liable to death? Oct 10, 2019 at 6:08
  • @DanielKagan I think it does answer the question. This question is asking whether the Mekalel knew he would receive the death penalty, and the answer says no. How he was able to be punished without a valid warning is a related question, but not what the OP asked here. Oct 10, 2019 at 15:34

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