I have part of a midrash floating around in my head, and I was hoping someone would recognize it and point me towards a source.

Here's what I remember:

It spoke of two people that were sentenced to the same punishment. One did a severe transgression (perhaps treason), while the second committed a minor transgression.

The one who committed the minor transgression asked the court to publicize his sin, so that no one would think he committed the same major transgression the first person did.

Does this ring any bells?

1 Answer 1


The bells rung for me are in the Rashi on Bamidbor 27 (13) .

Verse 13 says

And when you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your people, just as Aaron your brother was gathered.

Verse 14 starts,

Because you disobeyed My command in the desert of Zin when the congregation quarreled, [when you were] to sanctify Me through the water before their eyes


and the part of Rashi's commentary (on 13) that seems relevant is:

….On each occasion that their death is mentioned, their sin is mentioned, for a decree had been pronounced against the generation of the desert, that they should die in the desert on account of their sin that they did not believe. Moses therefore requested that his sin be mentioned, so that it should not be said that he was one of those who rebelled.

This is analogous to two women who were flogged by the court, one for immoral behavior [adultery] and the other for eating unripe produce of the sabbatical year [a lighter offense]…. Here too, wherever their death is mentioned, their sin is mentioned, to tell you that they had no [sin] other than this [sin] alone. - [Sifrei Pinchas 23, Yoma 86b]


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