1

Just as it is a mitzvah to execute a person who is obligated to be executed; so, too, it is a positive commandment to give lashes to a person who is obligated to receive lashes, as Deuteronomy 25:2 states: 'And the judge should cause him to fall and will have him beaten in his presence.' Although transgressions punishable by lashes are adjudicated by three judges, lashes are equivalent to execution.

א

כְּשֵׁם שֶׁמִּצְוָה לְהָמִית אֶת הַמְחֻיָּב מִיתָה כָּךְ מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לְהַלְקוֹת אֶת הַמְחֻיָּב מַלְקוֹת. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כה ב) "וְהִפִּילוֹ הַשֹּׁפֵט וְהִכָּהוּ לְפָנָיו". וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁמַּלְקוֹת בִּשְׁלֹשָׁה בִּמְקוֹם מִיתָה הִיא עוֹמֶדֶת:

2

Lashes are administered in the present age in any place, according to Scriptural Law in the presence of three judges who were given semichah. This punishment is not, however, administered in the presence of three ordinary people.

ב

מַלְקִין בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה בְּכָל מָקוֹם מִן הַתּוֹרָה בִּפְנֵי שְׁלֹשָׁה סְמוּכִין אֲבָל לֹא בִּפְנֵי הֶדְיוֹטוֹת:

3

All the lashes that are administered by the judges of the diaspora in every place are 'stripes for rebellious conduct.'

ג

וְכָל מַלְקִיּוֹת שֶׁמַּלְקִין דַּיָּנֵי חוּצָה לָאָרֶץ בְּכָל מָקוֹם אֵינָהּ אֶלָּא מַכַּת מַרְדּוּת:

4

A person is not punished by lashes unless his transgression was observed by witnesses and they administered a warning to him. The witnesses are questioned and cross-examined in the same manner as they are in cases involving capital punishment.

The following laws apply when a person transgresses a negative commandment that can be corrected by a positive commandment. Before the transgressor violates the negative commandment, witnesses must administer a warning, telling him: 'Do not perform this activity. If you perform it and do not fulfill the positive commandment associated with it, you will receive lashes.' If, after receiving such a warning, the transgressor violates the commandment and does not fulfill the positive commandment, he receives lashes. Although the warning involved uncertainty, - for if he fulfills the positive commandment, he will be released unpunished - an uncertain warning is considered as a warning.

ד

אֵין אָדָם לוֹקֶה אֶלָּא בְּעֵדִים וְהַתְרָאָה וּבוֹדְקִין הָעֵדִים בִּדְרִישָׁה וּבַחֲקִירָה כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁעוֹשִׂים בְּדִינֵי נְפָשׁוֹת. עָבַר עַל לָאו שֶׁנִּתַּק לַעֲשֵׂה וְהִתְרוּ בּוֹ וְאָמְרוּ לוֹ אַל תַּעֲשֶׂה דָּבָר זֶה שֶׁאִם תַּעֲשֶׂנּוּ וְלֹא תְּקַיֵּם עֲשֵׂה שֶׁבּוֹ תִּלְקֶה. וְעָבַר וְלֹא קִיֵּם הָעֲשֵׂה הֲרֵי זֶה לוֹקֶה. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהַתְרָאָה בְּסָפֵק הִיא שֶׁאִם יְקַיֵּם יִפָּטֵר הַתְרָאַת סָפֵק הַתְרָאָה הִיא:

5

The following rules apply when a person performs a prohibited act that is punishable both by lashes and execution by the court, e.g., he slaughtered an animal and its offspring on the same day as a sacrifice to a false divinity. If he was warned that his act is punishable by execution, he is stoned to death and is not given lashes, for he is obligated for a more severe judgment. If he was given a warning only for lashes, he receives lashes.

ה

עָבַר עֲבֵרָה שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהּ מַלְקוֹת וּמִיתַת בֵּית דִּין כְּאַחַת כְּגוֹן שֶׁשָּׁחַט אוֹתוֹ וְאֶת בְּנוֹ לַעֲבוֹדָה זָרָה. אִם הִתְרוּ בּוֹ לְמִיתָה סוֹקְלִין אוֹתוֹ וְאֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה שֶׁהֲרֵי נִתְחַיֵּב בְּדִין גָּדוֹל מִזֶּה. וְאִם הִתְרוּ בּוֹ לְמַלְקוֹת בִּלְבַד לוֹקֶה:

6

There is no need for the two witnesses who obligate a person for lashes, to observe other than at the time the transgression is committed. The prohibition itself, by contrast, can be established on the basis of one witness.

What is implied? One witness said: 'This substance is fat from the kidneys, 'These grapes were grown together with grain in a vineyard, 'This woman is a divorcee or a zonah." If a person partook of this food or had relations with these women after he was warned, he receives lashes, despite the fact that the essence of the prohibition was established by one witness.

When does the above apply? When he did not contradict the witness when he established the prohibition. If, however, he said: "This is not fat," "She is not a divorcee," and then he partook of the food or had relations with the woman after his denial, he does not receive lashes until the prohibition was established through the testimony of two witnesses.

ו

אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ שְׁנֵי עֵדִים לְמַלְקוֹת אֶלָּא בִּשְׁעַת מַעֲשֶׂה אֲבָל הָאִסּוּר עַצְמוֹ בְּעֵד אֶחָד יֻחְזַק. כֵּיצַד. אָמַר עֵד אֶחָד חֵלֶב כְּלָיוֹת הוּא זֶה. כִּלְאֵי הַכֶּרֶם הֵם פֵּרוֹת אֵלּוּ. גְּרוּשָׁה אוֹ זוֹנָה אִשָּׁה זוֹ. וְאָכַל אוֹ בָּעַל בְּעֵדִים אַחַר שֶׁהִתְרָה בּוֹ. הֲרֵי זֶה לוֹקֶה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁעִקַּר הָאִסּוּר בְּעֵד אֶחָד. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים שֶׁלֹּא הִכְחִישׁ הָעֵד בְּעֵת שֶׁקָּבַע הָאִסּוּר. אֲבָל אִם אָמַר אֵינוֹ חֵלֶב זֶה. וְזוֹ אֵינָהּ גְּרוּשָׁה. וְאָכַל אוֹ בָּעַל אַחַר שֶׁהִכְחִישׁ. אֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה עַד שֶׁיִּקְבְּעוּ הָאִסּוּר שְׁנֵי עֵדִים:

7

If the person remained silent when the one witness testifies to establish the prohibition, and after he violated the transgression and was warned, he issued a claim to contradict the witness, his words are not accepted. Instead, he receives lashes.

ז

שָׁתַק בְּעֵת שֶׁהֵעִיד הָעֵד הָאֶחָד בִּקְבִיעוּת הָאִסּוּר וְאַחַר שֶׁעָבַר וְהִתְרוּ בּוֹ טָעַן לְהַכְחִישׁ הָעֵד אֵין שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ אֶלָּא לוֹקֶה:

8

How are lashes administered? The transgressor's two hands are bound to a pillar on either side. The community attendant takes hold of his clothes and pulls downward. If they tear at the front, that is satisfactory; if the tear at the sides, that is satisfactory. He continues until he uncovers his heart. The rationale is that he should not administer lashes on his garment, as indicated by Deuteronomy 25:2: "And he shall strike him," i.e., "him," and not his garment.

A stone is placed behind him. The attendant who administers the lashes stands on it. He holds a strap of calf's leather that is folded into two, and a second one, making four, and two straps of donkey leather attached to it that rise and descend with it.

The strap is a handbreadth wide and it is long enough to reach the transgressor's belly. The handle of the strap is a handbreadth wide.

ח

כֵּיצַד מַלְקִין אוֹתוֹ. כּוֹפֵת שְׁתֵּי יָדָיו עַל הָעַמּוּד אֵילָךְ וְאֵילָךְ וְחַזַּן הַכְּנֶסֶת אוֹחֵז בִּבְגָדָיו. אִם נִקְרְעוּ נִקְרְעוּ וְאִם נִפְרְמוּ נִפְרְמוּ. עַד שֶׁהוּא מְגַלֶּה אֶת לִבּוֹ. שֶׁאֵינוֹ מַכֵּהוּ עַל כְּסוּתוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כה ב) "וְהִכָּהוּ" וְלֹא לִכְסוּתוֹ. וְהָאֶבֶן נְתוּנָה מֵאֲחוֹרָיו שֶׁהַחַזָּן הַמַּכֶּה עוֹמֵד עָלֶיהָ. וּרְצוּעָה שֶׁל עֵגֶל בְּיָדוֹ כְּפוּלָה לִשְׁנַיִם וּשְׁנַיִם לְאַרְבָּעָה. וּשְׁתֵּי רְצוּעוֹת שֶׁל חֲמוֹר עוֹלוֹת וְיוֹרְדוֹת בּוֹ. וְרֹחַב הָרְצוּעָה טֶפַח וְאָרְכָּהּ כְּדֵי שֶׁתְּהֵא מַגַּעַת עַד פִּי כְּרֵסוֹ. וְיַד שֶׁל רְצוּעוֹת שֶׁאוֹחֵז בָּהּ אָרְכָּהּ טֶפַח:

9

The man administering the lashes should be heavily endowed with knowledge and minimally endowed with physical power. He should lift up the strap with both his hands and strike him with one hand, with all his power.

He should strike him with a third of the lashes on his front, i.e., on his breast, between his nipples, and two thirds of the lashes on his back, one third on one shoulder and the other third on the other shoulder.

ט

הָאִישׁ הַמַּכֶּה צָרִיךְ לִהְיוֹת יָתֵר בְּדֵעָה וְחָסֵר בְּכֹחַ. וּמַגְבִּיהַּ אֶת הָרְצוּעוֹת בִּשְׁתֵּי יָדָיו וּמַכֶּה בְּיָדוֹ אַחַת בְּכָל כֹּחוֹ. וּמַלְקֵהוּ שְׁלִישׁ מִלְּפָנָיו [עַל חָזֵהוּ] בֵּין דָּדָיו וּשְׁנֵי שְׁלִישִׁים מֵאֲחוֹרָיו. שְׁלִישׁ עַל כָּתֵף זֶה וּשְׁלִישׁ עַל כָּתֵף זֶה:

10

The person receiving the lashes should not stand, nor should he sit. Instead, he should bend over as Deuteronomy 25:2 states: "The judge shall cast him down." The verse continues: "And he shall strike him before him." This implies that the attention of the judge should be focused upon him. He should not look at other matters while having him lashed. From this, we learn that two people are never lashed at the same time.

י

הַמֻּכֶּה אֵינוֹ עוֹמֵד וְלֹא יוֹשֵׁב אֶלָּא מֻטֶּה. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כה ב) "וְהִפִּילוֹ הַשֹּׁפֵט וְהִכָּהוּ לְפָנָיו" שֶׁיְּהוּ עֵינָיו שֶׁל שׁוֹפֵט בּוֹ לֹא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה מַבִּיט בְּדָבָר אַחֵר וּמַכֵּהוּ מִכָּאן שֶׁאֵין מַכִּים שְׁנַיִם כְּאֶחָד:

11

Through the time the person is being lashed, the judge of the highest stature reads the passage Deuteronomy 28:58 "If you are not careful to heed and to perform... in an extraordinary way, God will increase the blows against you and your offspring...." He should have the intent to complete the passage with the lashes. If the lashes are not completed, he should return to the beginning of the passage and read it again - and again if necessary until all the lashes are administered.

The judge of intermediate stature counts the lashes and the third judge tells the attendant before each blow: "Strike him." Throughout the entire time he administers the lashes, he does so following the judge's instruction.

יא

הַגָּדוֹל שֶׁבַּדַּיָּנִים קוֹרֵא כָּל זְמַן שֶׁזֶּה לוֹקֶה (דברים כח נח) "אִם לֹא תִשְׁמֹר לַעֲשׂוֹת". (דברים כח נט) "וְהִפְלָא ה' אֶת מַכֹּתְךָ". וּמִתְכַּוֵּן שֶׁיִּגְמֹר הַפְּסוּקִים עִם הַמַּלְקִיּוֹת. וְאִם לֹא גָּמַר חוֹזֵר לִתְחִלַּת הַמִּקְרָא וְקוֹרֵא וְחוֹזֵר וְקוֹרֵא עַד שֶׁתִּגָּמֵר כָּל הַהַכָּאָה. וְהַשֵּׁנִי שֶׁבַּדַּיָּנִים מוֹנֶה וְהַשְּׁלִישִׁי אוֹמֵר לַחַזָּן הַכֵּה. כָּל זְמַן שֶׁמַּכֶּה עַל פִּיו הוּא מַכֶּה:

12

If the person receiving the lashes dies while receiving them, the attendant administering them is not liable. If he added another blow to the estimate arrived at by the judges and the person receiving the lashes dies, the attendant is exiled. If he does not die, the attendant is held liable for transgressing a negative commandment, as Deuteronomy 25:3 states: "Do not add."

Similarly, any other person who strikes a colleague violates a negative commandment. If a person who was given permission by the Torah to strike a colleague is warned not to strike him more than is required to punish his wickedness, certainly, this applies with regard to other people. For this reason, whenever a person strikes a colleague - even a servant - with a blow for which the victim would not receive a p'rutah in damages, the offender should be lashed. If, however, the blow is worth a p'rutah in damages, the offender is not lashed. The rationale is that he is obligated to make financial restitution, and a person never both receives lashes and is required to make financial restitution, as explained previously in several places.

יב

מֵת תַּחַת יָדוֹ פָּטוּר. וְאִם הוֹסִיף רְצוּעָה אַחַת עַל הָאֹמֶד וּמֵת הֲרֵי הַחַזָּן גּוֹלֶה. וְאִם לֹא מֵת הֲרֵי הַחַזָּן עָבַר עַל מִצְוַת לֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כה ג) "לֹא יֹסִיף". וְהוּא הַדִּין לְכָל מַכֶּה אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ שֶׁהוּא בְּלֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה. וּמָה אִם זֶה שֶׁנָּתְנָה תּוֹרָה רְשׁוּת לְהַכּוֹתוֹ צִוָּה הַכָּתוּב שֶׁלֹּא לְהַכּוֹתוֹ עַל רִשְׁעוֹ קַל וָחֹמֶר לִשְׁאָר כָּל הָאָדָם. לְפִיכָךְ כָּל הַמַּכֶּה אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ אֲפִלּוּ הִכָּה עֶבֶד הַכָּאָה שֶׁאֵין בָּהּ שְׁוֵה פְּרוּטָה לוֹקֶה. אֲבָל אִם יֵשׁ בָּהּ שְׁוֵה פְּרוּטָה הוֹאִיל וְהוּא חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם מָמוֹן אֵין אָדָם מְשַׁלֵּם וְלוֹקֶה כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ בְּכַמָּה מְקוֹמוֹת: