This is Tehillim 82:7 in Masoretic:

אֲנִי-אָמַרְתִּי, אֱלֹהִים אַתֶּם; וּבְנֵי עֶלְיוֹן כֻּלְּכֶם

Yet, see the following passage in Avodah Zarah 5a where Tehillim 82:6-7 is quoted by Rabbi Yose,

רבי יוסי אומר לא קיבלו ישראל את התורה אלא כדי שלא יהא מלאך המות שולט בהן שנאמר (תהילים פב) אני אמרתי אלהים אתם ובני עליון כלכם חבלתם מעשיכם אכן כאדם תמותון

I am curious about the phrase חבלתם מעשיכם. It's not in the Masoretic text, so where did it originate?

  • 3
    Isn't that just the stama degemara interjecting a phrase for flow?
    – Double AA
    Commented Nov 15, 2012 at 3:48
  • Maybe, but I wasn't sure. Do others agree?
    – user2088
    Commented Nov 15, 2012 at 4:15
  • But why would the gemara have a reason to add anything at that point? I am not engaged in that gemara, but at first glance the interjection seems to have no purpose.
    – b a
    Commented Nov 15, 2012 at 5:24
  • Rebbe Akiva Eager makes a list of many places in Shas where pasukim are quoted not how they appear in Tanach. I believe the Rebbe Akiva Eager is somewhere in Mesectas Shabbos. I will look for it.
    – Yehoshua
    Commented Nov 15, 2012 at 11:00
  • @Yehoshua: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/11293/603 - Shabbat 55B
    – Menachem
    Commented Nov 15, 2012 at 16:55

1 Answer 1


As noted by @DoubleAA in the comments, the term is not part of the verse but rather interjected by Reish Lakish in order to properly explain his drashic interpretation of the two verses in Tehillim. The first verse seems to say that Yisrael are higher spiritual entities, while the second says they die like mortals - how can this be? Reish Lakish explains that the first verse describes the spiritual level of Yisrael after receiving the Torah while the second describes their level after the Sin of the Calf. The term "חבלתם מעשיכם" describes the factor that caused the change in spirituality - the bad deed committed by Yisrael.

According to R"L, there's an upside to the lower spiritual level, being that Yisrael's renewed mortality is what brought forth the birth of all of their eventual descendants (see Rabbi Steinsaltz's commentary and the English translation here).

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