The Ohr Zarua writes:

האור זרוע (שו"ת ח"א סי' קיד) כתב, ומורי הר"ר יהודה חסיד אמר לי שצריך הש"ץ [הקורא בתורה בפרשת הקללות בפ' בחוקתי ובפ' כי תבוא] להיות אהוב לציבור, שאם לא כן, כשקוראים התוכחה, סכנה הוא למי שאינו אוהבו. ואמר לי שאם אדם יודע שהחזן -אינו אוהבו, אם יקרא אותו בתוכחה, יזהר ואל יעמוד, - עכ"ל
My Rebbi R' Yehudah Chasid told me that the shliach tzibur (Torah reader) [of the curses in Parshas Bechukosai and Parshs Ki-Savo] must be liked by the congregation. Because if not, when he reads the curses, there is a danger to someone whom he doesn't like. He also told me that if someone knows that the chazzan (Torah reader) is not fond of him, if he will call him up for [the aliya of] the curses he should be careful and not go up.

The explanation to this is because the Baal-Koreh might have in his mind during the reading of the curses that they should fall upon the person whom he does not like.

Question: If the בעל קורא did indeed have in mind that the curse which he reads should befall a specific person, and he read a pasuk with Hashem's name in it (eg. 'יככה ה), would he be over (transgress) the aveira of מקלל חבירו בשם השם - cursing another person using Hashem's name?

[Would בית דין give him מלקות if there was התראה?]

  • It sounds like the situation you describe would fit the definition in e.g. Choshen Mishpat 27 perfectly, including the key word "arur", doesn't it?
    – WAF
    May 16, 2018 at 11:43
  • 1
    How would the eidim be sure who he's referring to?
    – Heshy
    May 16, 2018 at 11:55
  • My understanding of the tochacha is that the punishments are conditional. They come only if one disobeys the commandments (One might argue that it happens if we perform them by rote and not besimcha, but that's a separate drash.) So, are you assuming, here, that if the Ba'al Kri'a specifically knows that his friend is a sinner? And what "level" does he need to be? Because if he's just trying to curse his friend b/c he despises him, I don't think this counts, here, as it's clear that all these curses are attached to a premise.
    – DanF
    May 16, 2018 at 14:10
  • From my skim of the passage you cite, it sounds more like it is the reader who is vulnerable (to the ill will of the chazzan)?
    – Loewian
    May 16, 2018 at 15:00
  • @Loewian Who are you calling the "reader"? The one who gets the Aliya? or the actual person who reads the Torah? I understood the "Chazzan" and the "reader" to be one and the same. The one who reads the Torah after the "Oleh" recites the brachos. Thus the reader / chazzan endangers the 1 who gets the aliya by thinking of him. May 17, 2018 at 7:51

1 Answer 1


The Mishna in Shavuos 35a is the source for the Prohibition of cursing a friend. The example of cursing is using the very words of the Tochacha so of course a Baal Kore reading as a curse for the intended is considerred cursing according to the Torah and forbidden:

המקלל לעצמו וחבירו בכולן עובר בלא תעשה (דברים כח, כב) יככה ה' אלהים וכן יככה אלהים זו היא אלה הכתובה בתורה

The Tur Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 27,1 and Rambam hilchos Sanhedrin 26,3 Paskens that if one also uses other Names of Hashem (not only the 4 letter Name as its spelt) together with the curse, even foreign language name for Hashem, one is chayav Malkus (liable to lashes) when given Hasraa Toch kdei Dibbur (warning straight before action):

וכיון שמקלל בכינוי חייב, אם כן המקלל בכל לשון חייב, שהשמות שקוראין העכו"ם להקב"ה הם בכלל הכינויין.

Beis Yosef (ibid) adds if he Curse his friend without any of Hashem's Names though he does not get Malkus it is prohibited:

ומשמע דכל שאינו בשם או בכינוי אינו עובר בל"ת ומינה ילפינן לדיין: והראב"ד כתב על דברי הרמב"ם א"א אינו לוקה אלא בשם המיוחד

The Tur continues: Words such as Arur or Shavua or nidui followed by a curse e.g arur that person should die, are also curses even though they are not the curse phrases mentioned explicitly in the Torah.

ואם אמר "ארור יהא", הוי קללה, כי ארור בו נידוי בו שבועה בו קללה.


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