Synopsis of Subjects in Tractate Maccot
MISHNA I. TO X. How should witnesses be made collusive? There are another sort of witnesses who are not subject to the punishment of collusive ness but who are to suffer stripes instead. Where do we find a hint in the Scripture that collusive witnesses shall be punished with stripes? There are four points concerning collusive witnesses, etc. And they are not sold as Hebrew slaves. As it reads: "He shall be sold for his theft, but not for his collusiveness." A collusive witness pays his share. What does this mean? We testify that so and so has divorced his wife and has not paid the amount mentioned in her marriage contract, etc. We testify that so and so owes to his neighbor a thousand zuz, etc. If one says I will make you a loan with the stipulation that the Sabbathic year shall not release me, it nevertheless releases. If one loans money to his neighbor without a fixed term of return, he has no right to demand it before the elapse of thirty days. We testify that so and so owes 200 zuz to his neighbor, and they were found collusive, etc. To a negative commandment that does not contain manual labor, stripes does not apply. The fine of money may be divided into two or three shares; however, this is not to be done with stripes. Witnesses cannot be made collusive unless the falsehood lies in their bodies. A woman once brought witnesses, and they were found false. She then brought another party, who were also found false; she then brought another party, etc. Because she is suspicious should all Israel be suspected of testifying falsely? Collusive witnesses are not to be killed unless the sentence of capital punishment for the defendant is rendered. There is no punishment on the ground of a fortiori conclusions. May I not live to see the consolation of our nation, if I have not killed a collusive witness for the purpose of removing from the mind of the saducier, etc. The verse punishes one, an accomplice who conjoins himself to transgressors with the same punishment, etc. And we may learn from this; that so much the more will he who conjoins himself to those who are engaged in meritorious acts, be rewarded, etc. There is no capital punishment, unless two witnesses have warned this culprit. If both of the witnesses have seen him who warned them, they are considered conjoined, The court of Sanhedrin is to be established in Palestine as well as in the countries outside of it. In the large cities but not in the small ones,
MISHNA I. TO V. The following are exiled, he who kills a person unintentionally. The act of one who thought that such is allowed is not to be considered an accident, but almost intentional. If one has climbed a ladder and the step under him broke and killed, one Boraitha declares him guilty, etc. If the iron of a hatchet slipped off and killed. One threw a lump of brittle stone at a date tree, and the dates fell off and killed (a child). What is considered second force according to Rabbi? If one throws a stone in a public ground and it kills, he is to be exiled. The punishment of exile attaches but to a private set. Is hewing wood always considered a private affair? All kinds of human beings are exiled when they killed by accident an Israelite. A father is exiled if he killed his son accidentally. A heathen or a slave is to be exiled or punished with stripes through an Israelite and vice versa. A stranger or an idolator who has killed even unintentionally is put to death. Only then when, thinking that such is allowed; "For he is a prophet." How is this to be understood? Because he is a prophet she has to be returned, but if a layman, she would not, etc. Exile does not apply to a blind one. An enemy is not exiled (as such a punishment does not suffice). If the rope to which the man's instrument was attached, broke--then he is exiled; but if the instrument slips out of his hand, exile is not sufficient. Whither are they to be exiled? To the cities of refuge, etc. They were also obliged to prepare roads from one city to the other. Formerly all murderers, accidental as well as intentional, used to flee to the cities of refuge, etc. "Giliad is become a city of workers of wickedness," etc. What does this expression mean? The city of refuge must neither be too large nor too small, but middle-sized ones. Be situated in places where there is water and markets. If a disciple is exiled, his master is exiled with him; because the expression, "and live," means you shall supply him with the sources of moral life. He who loves the abundance of scholars possesses the fruit of knowledge. I learned much from my masters, more, however, from my colleagues, and still more from my disciples. The Holy One, blessed be He, appoints them into one inn, and he who had killed intentionally is placed under a ladder, while the other, who killed unintentionally, descends the steps, falls and kills him. According to one he wrote only the eight verses, which begin with. "And Moses died," etc.,
MISHNA VI. TO X. There is no difference between the high priests who were anointed with the holy oil, etc. Therefore the mothers of the priests used to support the murderers with food and clothes, etc. It is counted as a sin to the priest who should pray that no accident might happen in that generation. If a sage has put some one under the ban conditionally, etc. The forty years during which Israel was in the desert, the remains of Judah were dismembered in his coffin until Moses prayed for him, etc. If after the decision has been rendered, the high priest dies, he is not exiled, etc. If it happens that a murderer goes outside of the limit, etc. What has the high priest done that the murderer's fate should depend upon his death? Joab erred twice in so acting: (a) he thought that the horns of the altar protect, etc. The cities of refuge are not given for cemeteries. If one killed accidentally in the city of refuge, he is to be exiled, etc. If a murderer was exiled, the townsmen like to honor him, he has to say to them "I am a murderer,"
MISHNA I. TO V. To the following stripes apply: Crimes under the category of Korath, as well as under that of capital punishment, are also punished with stripes if they were so warned. To a negative command, which is preceded by a positive one, stripes apply. The culprit does not get stripes unless he abolishes the succeeding positive command. R. Simeon b. Lakish, however, differs, and says: He is free from stripes only when he has fulfilled the succeeding one. He who took the mother-bird with her children gets, according to R. Jehudah, stripes. It happened with a children teacher who struck too much the children, and R. A'ha excommunicated him; Rabbma, however, returned him because he could not find as good a teacher. Stripes also apply to him who partook of the first fruit before the ceremony of reading was performed. If a positive succeeds a negative, no stripes apply. A stranger who had consumed sin and transgression offerings before their blood was sprinkled is free from any punishment. Concerning the first fruit, placing it in the temple is the main thing, and not the ceremony of reading. The culpability for second tithe arises only after it has seen the face of the wall of Jerusalem. He who makes a baldness in the hair of his head, or rounds it, etc., is liable. The culpability arises only, then, when he took it off with a razor. What should be the size of the bald spot which would make him culpable? If one made an incision with an instrument he is culpable. For dead he is culpable at all courts whether by hand or instrument. The culpability for etching-in arises only when he has done both, wrote and etched-in with dye, etc. A Nazarite who was drinking wine the whole day is culpable only for one negative. There is an instance that one may plough only one bed and shall be culpable for eight negatives. The number of stripes is forty less one,
MISHNA VI.-IX. The examination as to the number of stripes he can receive and remain alive must be such that can be equally divided by three. If one commits a sin to which two negatives apply, etc. How is the punishment with stripes to be performed? The striker strikes him with one hand so that the strokes shall become weaker. If, after he has been tied, he succeeds to run away from the Court, he is free. As he was already disgraced, he is not taken to be disgraced again. The Lord wanted to make Israel blissful and therefore he multiplied to them his commands. At three places the Holy Spirit appeared. At the court of Shem, etc. Six hundred and thirteen commands were said to Moses, etc. Isaiah reduced them to six. Michah came and reduced them to three. Isaiah (the second) again reduced them to two. "Keep ye justice and do equity." Amos reduced them to one. "Seek ye for me, and ye shall live,"
He who speaks ill of his neighbor, he who listens to such evil-speaking, finally, he who bears false testimony deserves to be thrown to the dogs,
Source: Sacred Texts