I was learning today's Tanya (יג תמוז, beginning of אגרת התשובה פרק ד)

I have a question based on the following part:

כשעבר עבירה שחייבים עליה כרת, הי׳ מת ממש קודם חמשים שנה

A violator of a sin punishable by excision would actually die before his fiftieth year.

ובמיתה בידי שמים, מת ממש קודם ששים שנה

In the case of death by divine agency he would actually die before sixty,

כחנניה בן עזור הנביא, בירמיהו

like the prophet Chananiah ben Azur in Jeremiah.

From here we see that כרת is dying before one turns fifty and that מיתה בידי שמים is dying before one turns sixty.

So, my question is what happens if someone does an aveirah for which the punishment is one of these after 50 or 60 (for כרת or מיתה בידי שמים respectively)? Do they die instantaneously?

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1 Answer 1


We see from the following Gemora, that between 60 and 80 if someone dies suddenly - [without being sick for three days - תוספות שבת כה. ד"ה וכרת], it is somewhat of a Kares.

Moed Katan 28a:

רב יוסף כי הוה בר שיתין עבד להו יומא טבא לרבנן אמר נפקי לי מכרת א"ל אביי נהי דנפק ליה מר מכרת דשני מכרת דיומי מי נפיק מר א"ל נקוט לך מיהא פלגא בידך

The Gemara relates that when Rav Yosef turned sixty he made a holiday for the Sages. Explaining the cause for his celebration, he said: I have passed the age of karet. Abaye said to him: Master, even though you have passed the karet of years, have you, Master, escaped the karet of days? As previously mentioned, sudden death is also considered to be a form of karet. He said to him: Grasp at least half in your hand, for I have at least escaped one type of karet.

רב הונא נח נפשיה פתאום הוו קא דייגי רבנן תנא להו זוגא דמהדייב לא שנו אלא שלא הגיע לגבורות אבל הגיע לגבורות זו היא מיתת נשיקה

It was related that Rav Huna died suddenly, and the Sages were concerned that this was a bad sign. The Sage Zuga from Hadayeiv taught them the following: They taught these principles only when the deceased had not reached the age of strength, i.e., eighty. But if he had reached the age of strength and then died suddenly, this is death by way of a divine kiss.

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