In Yevamot 49b the Sefaria translation adds the following words:

He was punished for referring to the Jewish people in a derogatory manner.

(As far as I can see, this isn't mentioned in the original text)

Where did they get this sentence from? From my very limited understanding of Hebrew (I'm still learning) the Sefaria translation seems to have come from Rashi's commentary:

נסרוה לפומיה ונח נפשיה - ומשום הכי איענש לנסורי פומיה משום דקרינהו לישראל עם טמא שפתים מדעתו שלא צוה לו הקב"ה ולא מחמת תוכחה דכתיב ואומר אוי לי כי נדמיתי

Could someone translate Rashi's commentary and confirm?

  • Rashi's overly patriotic perspective seems suspiciously similar to the one fiercely criticized by Amos (7:9-17).
    – user18041
    Apr 29, 2021 at 16:23

1 Answer 1


The relevant part at the beginning of Rashi reads: "And this is why he was punished by having his mouth sawed, because he called the Jews...". So Rashi is explaining not why he died or his punishment as a whole, but why specifically his mouth was sawed.

The Sefaria translation makes the same point a little earlier:

He died specifically as this point due to that which he said: “In the midst of a people of unclean lips, I dwell” (Isaiah 6:5). He was punished for referring to the Jewish people in a derogatory manner.

  • Though it may be that his remarks didn't make him worthy of death per se, just that he lost whatever miraculous protection he otherwise would have had.
    – Shalom
    Apr 26, 2021 at 2:08
  • This specific line in Gemara is not explaining why he died, just why he had that additional punishment.
    – N.T.
    Apr 26, 2021 at 7:19

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