How are lashes administered to a person liable to receive them? According to his strength, as indicated by Deuteronomy 25:2: "According to his wickedness by number." The number 40 stated in the following verse is mentioned to teach that more than 40 lashes are never administered even if the person is as healthy and as strong as Samson. When, by contrast, a person is weak, the amount of lashes is reduced. For if a weak person is given many lashes, he will certainly die. Therefore our Sages said: that even a very healthy person is given only 39 lashes. For if accidentally an extra blow is administered, he will still not have been given more than the 40 which he was required to receive.


כֵּיצַד מַלְקִין אֶת הַמְחֻיָּב מַלְקוֹת. כְּפִי כֹּחוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כה ב) "כְּדֵי רִשְׁעָתוֹ בְּמִסְפָּר". וְזֶה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כה ג) "אַרְבָּעִים" שֶׁאֵין מוֹסִיפִין עַל הָאַרְבָּעִים אֲפִלּוּ הָיָה חָזָק וּבָרִיא כְּשִׁמְשׁוֹן. אֲבָל פּוֹחֲתִין לַחַלָּשׁ שֶׁאִם יַכֶּה לַחַלָּשׁ מַכָּה רַבָּה בְּוַדַּאי הוּא מֵת. לְפִיכָךְ אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים שֶׁאֲפִלּוּ הַבָּרִיא בְּיוֹתֵר מַכִּין אוֹתוֹ שְׁלֹשִׁים וְתֵשַׁע שֶׁאִם יוֹסִיף לוֹ אַחַת נִמְצֵאת (נ"א נמצא) שֶׁלֹּא הִכָּהוּ אֶלָּא אַרְבָּעִים הָרְאוּיוֹת לוֹ:


When the court estimates how many lashes the condemned is able to bear, the estimation is made in numbers that are divisible by three. If it was estimated that he could bear 20, we do not say that he should be given 21, so that the number of lashes will be divisible by three. Instead, he is given 18 lashes.

If the court estimated that he could bear 40 lashes, but when they began lashing him, they saw that he was weak and that he would not be able to bear more than the nine or twelve lashes that he already received, he is released. If they estimated that he could bear twelve and after he was lashed, they saw that he was strong and could bear more, he is released. He is not lashed more than the original estimate.


כְּשֶׁאוֹמְדִין אֶת הַחוֹטֵא כַּמָּה הוּא יָכוֹל לְקַבֵּל אֵין אוֹמְדִין אֶלָּא בְּמַכּוֹת הָרְאוּיוֹת לְהִשְׁתַּלֵּשׁ. אֲמָדוּהוּ שֶׁיָּכוֹל לְקַבֵּל עֶשְׂרִים אֵין אוֹמְרִין יִלְקֶה עֶשְׂרִים וְאַחַת כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיוּ יְכוֹלִין לְהִשְׁתַּלֵּשׁ אֶלָּא יִלְקֶה שְׁמוֹנֶה עֶשְׂרֵה. אֲמָדוּהוּ לְקַבֵּל אַרְבָּעִים וְכֵיוָן שֶׁהִתְחִיל לִלְקוֹת רָאוּהוּ חַלָּשׁ וְאָמְרוּ אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְקַבֵּל יוֹתֵר עַל אֵלּוּ הַתֵּשַׁע אוֹ הַשְּׁתֵּים עֶשְׂרֵה שֶׁלָּקָה הֲרֵי זֶה פָּטוּר. אֲמָדוּהוּ לְקַבֵּל שְׁתֵּים עֶשְׂרֵה וְאַחַר שֶׁלָּקָה רָאוּהוּ חָזָק וְיָכוֹל לְקַבֵּל יוֹתֵר הֲרֵי זֶה פָּטוּר וְאֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה יוֹתֵר עַל הָאֹמֶד:


If, on a specific day, it was estimated that he could bear twelve lashes to be given on that day, but he was not lashed until the following day, and on the following day, he is able to bear eighteen, he receives only twelve.

If it was estimated on one day that if he was lashed on the following day, he could bear twelve and he was not lashed until the third day, at which time he was strong enough to bear eighteen, he should be given eighteen lashes. The rationale is that at the time the estimation was made, it was reckoned that he would not be lashed until a later date. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.


אֲמָדוּהוּ הַיּוֹם שֶׁיִּלְקֶה שְׁתֵּים עֶשְׂרֵה וְלֹא הִלְקוּהוּ עַד לְמָחָר וַהֲרֵי הוּא לְמָחָר יָכוֹל לְקַבֵּל שְׁמוֹנֶה עֶשְׂרֵה אֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה אֶלָּא שְׁתֵּים עֶשְׂרֵה. אֲמָדוּהוּ שֶׁיִּלְקֶה לְמָחָר שְׁתֵּים עֶשְׂרֵה וְלֹא לָקָה עַד יוֹם שְׁלִישִׁי וַהֲרֵי הוּא חָזָק לְקַבֵּל שְׁמוֹנֶה עֶשְׂרֵה לוֹקֶה שְׁמוֹנֶה עֶשְׂרֵה שֶׁהֲרֵי בִּשְׁעַת הָאֹמֶד לֹא אֲמָדוּהוּ לִלְקוֹת אֶלָּא לְאַחַר זְמַן. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:


The following rules apply when a person was obligated to receive several sets of lashes whether for the transgression of several sins, or he performed one deed that involved several transgressions and hence, caused him to be liable for several sets of lashes. Everything depends on the judges. If they made one estimation for both transgressions, he receives lashes and is absolved. If not, he is given lashes, given time to recuperate, and then given lashes again.

What is implied? He was held liable for two transgressions punishable by lashes. The court estimated that he could bear 45 lashes, once he receives these 45, he is absolved from further punishment. If, however, they estimated the amount of lashes he could bear for one transgression, and they gave him three, nine, or thirty lashes according to their estimation, we wait until he is healed, and estimate how many lashes he can bear for the second lashing until he is given all the lashings for which he is obligated.


מִי שֶׁנִּתְחַיֵּב מַלְקִיּוֹת הַרְבֵּה בֵּין עַל עֲבֵרוֹת הַרְבֵּה בֵּין עַל מַעֲשֶׂה אֶחָד שֶׁחַיָּבִין עָלָיו מַלְקִיּוֹת הַרְבֵּה. אִם אֲמָדוּהוּ אֹמֶד אֶחָד לוֹקֶה וּפָטוּר וְאִם לָאו לוֹקֶה וּמִתְרַפֵּא וְחוֹזֵר וְלוֹקֶה. כֵּיצַד. נִתְחַיֵּב שְׁתֵּי מַלְקִיּוֹת וְאָמְדוּ שֶׁיָּכוֹל הוּא לְקַבֵּל אַרְבָּעִים וְחָמֵשׁ כֵּיוָן שֶׁלָּקָה אַרְבָּעִים וְחָמֵשׁ נִפְטָר. אֲבָל אִם אֲמָדוּהוּ לְמַלְקוּת אַחַת וְהִכָּהוּ שָׁלֹשׁ אוֹ תֵּשַׁע אוֹ שְׁלֹשִׁים כְּמוֹ הָאֹמֶד הֲרֵי זֶה מִתְרַפֵּא וְחוֹזְרִין וְאוֹמְדִין אוֹתוֹ לְמַלְקוּת שְׁנִיָּה עַד שֶׁיִּלְקֶה לְכָל מַלְקִיּוֹת שֶׁהוּא חַיָּב בָּהֶן:


When it was estimated that a person could bear a specific number of lashes, they began lashing him and he became discomfited because of the power of the blows and either defecated or urinated, he is not given any more lashes. This is derived from Deuteronomy 25:3: "and your brother will be degraded before your eyes." Since he was discomfited, he is absolved.

If, however, he became discomfited from fear before being beaten, even if he became discomfited when he was taken out from the court to be lashed, and even if he became discomfited on the previous evening, he is given all the lashes that it was estimated that he could bear.

If one estimation was made for two transgressions punishable by lashes, and he becomes discomfited, whether in the midst of the first set of 40 or the second set of 40, he is absolved. If the lash became severed in the midst of the second lashing, he is absolved. If it became severed in the midst of the first lashing, he is absolved from the first set of lashes, but is given the lashes of the second set.


מִי שֶׁאֲמָדוּהוּ וּכְשֶׁהִתְחִיל לִלְקוֹת נִתְקַלְקֵל מִכֹּחַ הַהַכָּאָה בֵּין בְּרֵיעִי בֵּין בְּמֵימֵי רַגְלַיִם אֵין מַכִּין אוֹתוֹ יוֹתֵר שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כה ג) "וְנִקְלָה אָחִיךָ לְעֵינֶיךָ" כֵּיוָן שֶׁנִּקְלָה פָּטוּר. אֲבָל אִם נִתְקַלְקֵל מִן הַפַּחַד מִקֹּדֶם הַהַכָּאָה אֲפִלּוּ נִתְקַלְקֵל מִשֶּׁיָּצָא מִבֵּית דִּין לִלְקוֹת וַאֲפִלּוּ מִבָּעֶרֶב הֲרֵי זֶה לוֹקֶה כָּל הָאֹמֶד שֶׁאֲמָדוּהוּ. אֲמָדוּהוּ לִשְׁתֵּי מַלְקִיּוֹת וְלָקָה וְנִתְקַלְקֵל בֵּין בָּרִאשׁוֹנָה בֵּין בַּשְּׁנִיָּה פָּטוּר. נִפְסְקָה הָרְצוּעָה בַּשְּׁנִיָּה פּוֹטְרִין אוֹתוֹ. נִפְסְקָה בָּרִאשׁוֹנָה נִפְטָר מִמַּלְקוֹת רִאשׁוֹנָה וְלוֹקֶה הָאֹמֶד הַשֵּׁנִי:

Mishneh Torah (Moznaim)

Featuring a modern English translation and a commentary that presents a digest of the centuries of Torah scholarship which have been devoted to the study of the Mishneh Torah by Maimonides.


If they bound him to the pillar to be lashed, and he severed the ties and fled, he is absolved. We do not force him to return.


כְּפָתוּהוּ עַל הָעַמּוּד לִלְקוֹת וְכָרַת אֶת הַמֵיתָרִים וּבָרַח פָּטוּר וְאֵין מַחֲזִירִין אוֹתוֹ:


Whenever a person sins and is lashed, he returns to his original state of acceptability, as implied by the verse: "And your brother will be degraded before your eyes." Once he is lashed, he is "your brother."

Similarly, all those obligated for kerait who received lashes are absolved for kerait.


כָּל מִי שֶׁחָטָא וְלָקָה חוֹזֵר לְכַשְׁרוּתוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כה ג) "וְנִקְלָה אָחִיךָ לְעֵינֶיךָ" כֵּיוָן שֶׁלָּקָה הֲרֵי הוּא אָחִיךָ. אַף כָּל מְחֻיְּבֵי כָּרֵת שֶׁלָקוּ נִפְטְרוּ מִידֵי כְּרִיתָתָן:


When a High Priest sins, he is lashed on the basis of the judgment of a court of three like people at large. Afterwards, he returns to his position of eminence.


כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל שֶׁחָטָא לוֹקֶה בִּשְׁלֹשָׁה כִּשְׁאָר כָּל הָעָם וְחוֹזֵר לִגְדֻלָּתוֹ:


When, by contrast, the head of the academy transgresses, he is given lashes in the presence of a court of three, but does not return to his position of authority. He also is not reinstated as one of the other judges of the Sanhedrin. The rationale is that we ascend higher in matters of holiness, and do not descend.


אֲבָל רֹאשׁ הַיְשִׁיבָה שֶׁחָטָא מַלְקִין אוֹתוֹ וְאֵינוֹ חוֹזֵר לִשְׂרָרוּתוֹ. גַּם אֵינוֹ חוֹזֵר לִהְיוֹת כְּאֶחָד מִשְּׁאָר הַסַּנְהֶדְרִין. שֶׁמַּעֲלִין בַּקֹּדֶשׁ וְלֹא מוֹרִידִין: