How is the mitzvah of stoning carried out? Four cubits from the place of execution, we remove the clothes of the person to be stoned; we do, however, cover his sexual organ in front. A woman is not executed naked. Instead, she is allowed to wear one cloak.

The place of execution was two storeys high. The convicted person ascends there with his hands tied, together with his witnesses. One of the witnesses pushes him at his loins from behind, he falls over, landing on his heart on the ground. If he dies because of this, they have fulfilled their obligation, for Exodus 19:13 states: "Or he will be cast down or stoned," creating an equation between a person who has a stone fall upon him with one who himself falls on the earth.

If he does not die after this fall, the witnesses pick up a stone that is so large it requires two people to carry it. The second witness lets go and the first casts the stone on the convicted person's heart. If he dies because of this, they have fulfilled their obligation. If not, he should be stoned by the entire Jewish people, as Deuteronomy 17:7 states: "The hand of the witnesses shall be raised up against him first to execute him, and the hand of the entire nation afterwards."


כֵּיצַד מִצְוַת הַנִּסְקָלִין. רָחוֹק מִבֵּית הַסְּקִילָה אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת מַפְשִׁיטִין אֶת הַמְחֻיָּב סְקִילָה בְּגָדָיו וּמְכַסִּין עֶרְוָתוֹ מִלְּפָנָיו. וְאֵין הָאִשָּׁה נִסְקֶלֶת עֲרֻמָּה אֶלָּא בְּחָלוּק אֶחָד. וּבֵית הַסְּקִילָה גָּבוֹהַּ שְׁתֵּי קוֹמוֹת עוֹלֶה לְשָׁם הוּא וְעֵדָיו וְיָדָיו אֲסוּרוֹת. וְאֶחָד מִן הָעֵדִים דּוֹחֲפוֹ עַל מָתְנָיו מֵאֲחוֹרָיו וְהוּא נֶהֳפָךְ וְנוֹפֵל עַל לִבּוֹ לָאָרֶץ. אִם מֵת בָּהּ יָצָא שֶׁהֲרֵי נֶאֱמַר (שמות יט יג) "סָקוֹל יִסָּקֵל אוֹ יָרֹה יִיָּרֶה" הִנֵּה הִשְׁוָה הַנִּסְקָל שֶׁנָּפַל אֶת הָאֶבֶן עָלָיו עִם הַנִּדְחָף שֶׁנָּפַל הוּא בְּעַצְמוֹ עַל הָאָרֶץ. וְאִם לֹא מֵת מִדְּחִיפָה זוֹ מַגְבִּיהִין הָעֵדִים אֶבֶן שֶׁהָיְתָה מֻנַּחַת שָׁם מַשָּׂא שְׁנֵי בְּנֵי אָדָם וְהָעֵד הַשֵּׁנִי מַרְפֶּה אֶת יָדוֹ וּמַשְׁלִיךְ הָאֶבֶן עַל לִבּוֹ. אִם מֵת בּוֹ יָצָא וְאִם לָאו רְגִימָתוֹ בְּכָל יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יז ז) "יַד הָעֵדִים תִּהְיֶה בּוֹ בָרִאשֹׁנָה לַהֲמִיתוֹ וְיַד כָּל הָעָם בָּאַחֲרֹנָה":


An idolater should be stoned at the gateway to the place where he performed the transgression. If the majority of the population of a city are gentiles, he should be stoned at the entrance to the court. This concept has been conveyed by the Oral Tradition. The term "to your gates" where Deuteronomy 17:8 states that an idolater should be executed refers to the gate where he performed the transgression and not the gate where he was sentenced.


עוֹבֵד עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה אֵין סוֹקְלִין אוֹתוֹ אֶלָּא עַל שַׁעַר שֶׁעָבַד בּוֹ. וְאִם הָיְתָה עִיר שֶׁרֻבָּהּ עַכּוּ''ם סוֹקְלִין אוֹתוֹ עַל פֶּתַח בֵּית דִּין. וְדָבָר זֶה קַבָּלָה מִפִּי הַשְּׁמוּעָה אֶל שְׁעָרֶיךָ זֶה שַׁעַר שֶׁעָבַד בּוֹ וְלֹא שֶׁנִּגְמַר דִּינוֹ בּוֹ:


The mitzvah of executing a person by burning is performed as follows: The convicted is placed in fertilizer until his knees. A firm cloth is placed within a soft cloth and they are wound around his neck. The two witnesses are positioned on either side and each pull the cloths toward himself until the convicted opens his mouth. Tin, lead, and the like are melted down and then poured into his mouth. The molten metal descends and burns his innards.


מִצְוַת הַנִּשְׂרָפִין הָיוּ מְשַׁקְּעִין אוֹתוֹ בְּזֶבֶל עַד אַרְכֻּבּוֹתָיו וְנוֹתְנִים סוּדָר קָשֶׁה לְתוֹךְ הָרַךְ וְכוֹרֵךְ עַל צַוָּארוֹ. וּשְׁנֵי עֵדָיו זֶה מוֹשֵׁךְ אֶצְלוֹ וְזֶה מוֹשֵׁךְ אֶצְלוֹ עַד שֶׁהוּא פּוֹתֵחַ אֶת פִּיו. וּמַתִּיכִים אֶת הַבְּדִיל וְאֶת הָעוֹפֶרֶת וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן וְהוּא זוֹרֵק לְתוֹךְ פִּיו וְהִיא יוֹרֶדֶת וְשׂוֹרֶפֶת אֶת בְּנֵי מֵעָיו:


The mitzvah of decapitation is performed as follows: We cut of his head with a sword as the kings do.


מִצְוַת הַנֶּהֱרָגִין מַתִּיזִין אֶת רֹאשׁוֹ בְּסַיִף כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁהַמְּלָכִים עוֹשִׂים:


The mitzvah of executing a person by strangulation is performed as follows: The convicted is placed in fertilizer until his knees. A firm cloth is placed within a soft cloth and they are wound around his neck. Each of the two witnesses pulls the cloths toward himself until the convicted expires.


מִצְוַת הַנֶּחְנָקִין מְשַׁקְּעִין אֶת הַמְחֻיָּב בְּזֶבֶל עַד אַרְכֻּבּוֹתָיו וְנוֹתְנִין סוּדָר קָשֶׁה לְתוֹךְ הָרַךְ וְכוֹרְכִין עַל צַוָּארוֹ זֶה מוֹשֵׁךְ אֶצְלוֹ וְזֶה מוֹשֵׁךְ אֶצְלוֹ עַד שֶׁתֵּצֵא נַפְשׁוֹ:


It is a positive commandment to hang a blasphemer and an idolater after they have been executed, as implied by Deuteronomy 21:23: "A person who is hung is cursing God." This refers to the blasphemer. With regard to an idolater, Numbers 15:30 states: "He blasphemes God."

A man is hung, but a woman is not hung, as implied by Deuteronomy 21:22: "When a man has sinned and is condemned to die, after he is executed, you shall hang him...."


מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לִתְלוֹת אֶת הַמְגַדֵּף וְעוֹבֵד עַכּוּ''ם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כא כג) "כִּי קִלְלַת אֱלֹהִים תָּלוּי" הֲרֵי מְגַדֵּף אָמוּר וּבְעוֹבֵד עַכּוּ''ם נֶאֱמַר (במדבר טו ל) "אֶת ה' הוּא מְגַדֵּף". וְהָאִישׁ נִתְלֶה וְאֵין הָאִשָּׁה נִתְלֵית שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כא כב) "כִּי יִהְיֶה בְאִישׁ חֵטְא מִשְׁפַּט מָוֶת וְהוּמָת וְתָלִיתָ אֹתוֹ":


How is the mitzvah of hanging carried out? After the convicted is stoned, a beam is implanted in the ground with a rafter protruding from it. The two hands of the corpse are intercrossed and he is hung close to sunset.

He is released immediately. If not, a negative commandment is transgressed, as Ibid.:23 states: "Do not let his corpse tarry overnight on the beam."


כֵּיצַד מִצְוַת הַנִּתְלִין. אַחַר שֶׁסּוֹקְלִין אוֹתָן מְשַׁקְּעִין אֶת הַקּוֹרָה בָּאָרֶץ וְעֵץ יוֹצֵא מִמֶּנָּה וּמַקִּיפִין שְׁתֵּי יָדָיו זוֹ לָזוֹ וְתוֹלֵהוּ סָמוּךְ לִשְׁקִיעַת הַחַמָּה וּמַתִּירִין אוֹתוֹ מִיָּד. וְאִם לָן עוֹבְרִין עָלָיו בְּלֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כא כג) "לֹא תָלִין נִבְלָתוֹ עַל הָעֵץ":


It is a positive mitzvah to bury the persons executed by the court on the day of their execution, as Ibid. states: "For you shall surely bury him on that day."

Not only those executed by the court, but anyone who leaves a deceased overnight without burying him transgresses a negative commandment. If, however, a burial is delayed overnight to honor the deceased, e.g., to bring a coffin or shrouds, there is no transgression.


וּמִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לִקְבֹּר אֶת כָּל הֲרוּגֵי בֵּית דִּין בְּיוֹם הַהֲרִיגָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כא כג) "כִּי קָבוֹר תִּקְבְּרֶנּוּ בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא". וְלֹא הֲרוּגֵי בֵּית דִּין בִּלְבַד אֶלָּא כָּל הַמֵּלִין אֶת מֵתוֹ עוֹבֵר עָלָיו בְּלֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה. הֱלִינוֹ לִכְבוֹדוֹ לְהָבִיא לוֹ אָרוֹן וְתַכְרִיכִין אֵינוֹ עוֹבֵר עָלָיו:


We do not hang a person on a tree that is still growing from the ground, only from one which has been detached. In this way, the tree will not have to be chopped down before the person's burial. For the tree on which the executed is hung is buried with him, so that it will not be an unfavorable remembrance, causing people to say: "This is the tree on which so-and-so was hung."

Similarly, the stone, the sword, and the cloths used for execution are all buried near the deceased, but not in his actual grave.


אֵין תּוֹלִין עַל אִילָן הַמְחֻבָּר לַקַּרְקַע אֶלָּא עַל הַתָּלוּשׁ כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יְהֵא מְחֻסַּר קְצִיצָה. שֶׁהָעֵץ שֶׁנִּתְלָה עָלָיו נִקְבָּר עִמּוֹ שֶׁלֹּא יְהֵא לוֹ זִכָּרוֹן רַע וְיֹאמְרוּ זֶה הָעֵץ שֶׁנִּתְלָה עָלָיו פְּלוֹנִי. וְכֵן הָאֶבֶן שֶׁנִּסְקַל בָּהּ וְהַסַּיִף שֶׁנֶּהֱרַג בּוֹ הַנֶּהֱרָג וְהַסּוּדָרִין שֶׁחוֹנְקִין בָּהֶן הַכּל נִקְבָּרִין בִּתְפִישַׂת הַנֶּהֱרָג אֲבָל לֹא בַּקֶּבֶר עַצְמוֹ:


The Torah mentions 18 people who are executed by stoning. They are: a) a person who engages in relations with his mother, b) with his father's wife, c) his daughter-in-law, d) a maiden who was consecrated, e) a man involved in homosexual relations, f) a man who sodomizes an animal, g) a woman who has relations with an animal, h) a blasphemer, i) an idolater, j) a person who gives his descendants to Molech, k) a person who divines with an ov, l) a person who divines with an yidoni, m) a person who entices others to worship idols, n) the people who lead a city to idol worship, o) a sorcerer, p) a person who desecrates the Sabbath, q) a person who curses his father or his mother, and r) a wayward and rebellious son.


כָּל הַנִּסְקָלִין שֶׁבַּתּוֹרָה שְׁמוֹנָה עָשָׂר וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. הַבָּא עַל הָאֵם. וְעַל אֵשֶׁת אָב. וְעַל כַּלָּתוֹ. וְעַל נַעֲרָה הַמְאֹרָסָה. וְעַל הַזָּכוּר. וְהַשּׁוֹכֵב עִם בְּהֵמָה. וְהָאִשָּׁה הַמְּבִיאָה אֶת הַבְּהֵמָה עָלֶיהָ. וְהַמְגַדֵּף. וְעוֹבֵד עַכּוּ''ם. וְהַנּוֹתֵן מִזַּרְעוֹ לַמּלֶךְ. וּבַעַל אוֹב. וּבַעַל יִדְּעוֹנִי. וְהַמַּסִּית. וְהַמַּדִּיחַ. וְהַמְכַשֵּׁף. וְהַמְחַלֵּל אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת. וּמְקַלֵּל אָבִיו אוֹ אִמּוֹ. וּבֶן סוֹרֵר וּמוֹרֶה:


There are 10 people who are executing by burning: a) a priest's daughter who commits adultery, b) a person who has relations with his daughter, c) with his daughter's daughter, d) with his son's daughter, e) with his wife's daughter, f) with the daughter of his wife's daughter, g) with the daughter of his wife's son, h) with his mother-in-law, i) with the mother of his mother-in-law, and j) with the mother of his father-in-law.

The latter prohibitions apply if the man has relations with them during his wife's lifetime. After his wife's death, these relations are punishable by kerait alone like other incestuous relationships.


כָּל הַנִּשְׂרָפִין עֲשָׂרָה וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. בַּת כֹּהֵן שֶׁזִּנְּתָה תַּחַת בַּעְלָהּ. וּבָא עַל בִּתּוֹ. וְעַל בַּת בִּתּוֹ. וְעַל בַּת בְּנוֹ. וְעַל בַּת אִשְׁתּוֹ. וְעַל בַּת בִּתָּהּ. וְעַל בַּת בְּנָהּ. וְעַל חֲמוֹתוֹ. וְעַל אֵם חֲמוֹתוֹ. וְעַל אֵם חָמִיו. וְהוּא שֶׁבָּא עֲלֵיהֶן בְּחַיֵּי אִשְׁתּוֹ. אֲבָל לְאַחַר מִיתַת אִשְׁתּוֹ הֲרֵי הֵן בְּכָרֵת בִּלְבַד בִּכְלַל הָעֲרָיוֹת:


There are two who are decapitated: a murderer, and the inhabitants of a city enticed to idolatry.


הַנֶּהֱרָגִין שְׁנַיִם. הָרוֹצֵחַ וְהַנִּדָּח:


There are six who are executed by strangulation: a) an adulterer, b) a person who wounds his father or mother, c) a person who kidnaps a fellow Jew, d) a rebellious elder, e) a false prophet, and f) a person who prophecies in the name of a false deity.

Thus the court executes individuals for a totality of 36 prohibitions.


הַנֶּחְנָקִין שִׁשָּׁה וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. הַבָּא עַל אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ. הַחוֹבֵל בְּאָבִיו אוֹ בְּאִמּוֹ. וְגוֹנֵב נֶפֶשׁ מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל. וְזָקֵן מַמְרֵא. וּנְבִיא הַשֶּׁקֶר. וְהַמִּתְנַבֵּא בְּשֵׁם עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה. נִמְצְאוּ כָּל הֲרוּגֵי בֵּית דִּין שִׁשָּׁה וּשְׁלֹשִׁים: