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Mishnayos Sanhedrin Perek 7 Mishnah 3

סנהדרין פרק ז׳ משנה ג׳


The mitzva of those who are killed, i.e., the process of execution by decapitation, is carried out in the following manner: The executioners cut off his head with a sword, the way that the monarchy does when a king sentences a person to death. Rabbi Yehuda says: This manner of execution is improper, as it degrades him. Rather, they place the head of the condemned on the block, and chop it off with a cleaver [bekofitz]. The Rabbis said to him: If you are concerned about his degradation, there is no death penalty more degrading than that. It is better for him to be executed in the manner described first. The mitzva of those who are strangled is carried out in the following manner: The agents of the court submerge the condemned one in dung up to his knees so he cannot move, and one of them places a rough scarf within a soft one, and wraps it around his neck. This one, i.e., one of the witnesses, pulls the scarf toward him, and that one, the other witness, pulls it toward him, until the soul of the condemned one departs.

מִצְוַת הַנֶּהֱרָגִים, הָיוּ מַתִּיזִין אֶת רֹאשׁוֹ בְסַיִף כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁהַמַּלְכוּת עוֹשָׂה. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר, נִוּוּל הוּא זֶה, אֶלָּא מַנִּיחִין אֶת רֹאשׁוֹ עַל הַסַּדָּן וְקוֹצֵץ בְּקוֹפִיץ. אָמְרוּ לוֹ, אֵין מִיתָה מְנֻוֶּלֶת מִזּוֹ. מִצְוַת הַנֶּחֱנָקִין, הָיוּ מְשַׁקְּעִין אוֹתוֹ בַזֶּבֶל עַד אַרְכֻּבּוֹתָיו וְנוֹתְנִין סוּדָר קָשָׁה לְתוֹךְ הָרַכָּה וְכוֹרֵךְ עַל צַוָּארוֹ, זֶה מוֹשֵׁךְ אֶצְלוֹ וְזֶה מוֹשֵׁךְ אֶצְלוֹ, עַד שֶׁנַּפְשׁוֹ יוֹצְאָה:


רבי יהודה אומר ניוול הוא זה – that he kills him while standing and he falls.

סדן – a thick piece of wood inserted into the ground like that of smiths, and they explained it like the Baraitha (Talmud Sanhedrin 52b), that the reason that Rabbi Yehuda disputes the Sages, since the Torah states (Leviticus 18:3): “…nor shall you follow their laws,” to which the Rabbis responded to him since it is written with a sword in the Torah and the Biblical verse stated (Exodus 21:20): “[When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod, and he dies there an then], he must be avenged,” so we don’t derive it from them, and the Halakha is according to the Sages.

רבי יהודה אומר ניוול הוא זה. שהורגו מעומד ונופל:

סדן. עץ עבה תקוע בארץ כמות של נפחים. ובברייתא פירשו, דטעמא דפליג ר׳ יהודה אדרבנן, מפני שאמרה תורה (שם י״ח) ובחוקותיהם לא תלכו. ואמרי ליה רבנן, כיון דכתיב סייף באורייתא, דאמר קרא נקום ינקם (שמות כ״א:כ׳), לא מינייהו גמרינן. והלכה כחכמים: