Rashi in Makkos 4b comments on the words עדים זוממין אין צריכין התראה (false witnesses do not need fore warning to receive punishment), as follows:

בכתובות אמרינן טעמא באלו נערות (דף לג.) נתרי בהו אימת כו' אבל כל שאר עונשין בב"ד של מטה צריכין התראה
(The reason is because it's impossible to forewarn the witnesses not to testify falsely {see kesubos 33a }, but all other punishments implemented by the Rabbinical court on earth need fore warning)

Why does he bother to tell us here that we are dealing with the Beis Din shel Matto?

  • 2
    maybe to imply that a person is punished without hasroa, for everything (by 'heaven')
    – hazoriz
    Commented Jan 7, 2018 at 16:00
  • @hazoriz I think that that's an answer Commented Jan 7, 2018 at 19:35

1 Answer 1


Beis din shel mato have to be 100% sure that the guy knew what he was doing and that he didn't forget the warning/didn't know what he was doing was bad, hence one needs warning תוך כדי דיבור (within the time of a greeting to ones teacher) to warn the guy prior to his sin as quoted in Kesubos 33a. Otherwise they'd punish someone who forgot the warning which is unfair.
The reason why we have to be so sure is learnt from Kesubos 15a: ספק נפשות - דיני נפשות להקל דהא והצילו העדה כתיב- במדבר לה- death sentences are judged favourably since it is written in Bamidbar 35:"The Congregation (sanhedrin) shall save" (note that Malkus (lashes) in this regard is a punishment which has the same laws as death sentence either because it weakens the person like death מה לי קטלא פלגא מה לי קטלא כולה Bava Kama 65a or there is a Hekdesh between Malkus and Misa. Tosfos Yeshanim Kesubos 36b).

However Hashem knows everyone's inner thoughts and intentions when they sin whether they "forgot" that they were doing something wrong or not therefore Kareis and other divine punishments can be implemented on a willful sin. If the guy forgot, Hashem will not implement kareis. And if the guy remembers then Hashem knows he did it on purpose and will punish accordingly.

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