Leviticus Chapter 19

15You shall commit no injustice in judgment; you shall not favor a poor person or respect a great man; you shall judge your fellow with righteousness.   טו לֹא־תַֽעֲשׂ֥וּ עָ֨וֶל֙ בַּמִּשְׁפָּ֔ט לֹֽא־תִשָּׂ֣א פְנֵי־דָ֔ל וְלֹ֥א תֶהְדַּ֖ר פְּנֵ֣י גָד֑וֹל בְּצֶ֖דֶק תִּשְׁפֹּ֥ט עֲמִיתֶֽךָ:
You shall commit no injustice in judgment: This verse teaches us that a judge who corrupts the law is called unjust, hated and disgusting, fit to be destroyed, and an abomination. For an unjust person is called an abomination, as the verse says, “For whoever does these things, whoever perpetrates such injustice, is an abomination to the Lord…” (Deut. 25: 16); and an abomination, is called a חֵרֶם, [something doomed to destruction], and a disgusting thing, as the verse says (Deut. 7:26), “Nor should you bring an abomination into your house, lest you be destroyed (חֵרֶם) like it, but you shall utterly detest it (שַׁקֵּץ תְּשַׁקְּצֶנּוּ) ” [and an abomination is called hated, as it is said, “for every abomination to the Lord which He hates”] (Deut. 12:31).   לא תעשו עול במשפט: מלמד שהדיין המקלקל את הדין קרוי עול, שנאוי ומשוקץ, חרם ותועבה. שהעול קרוי תועבה, שנאמר (דברים כה טז) כי תועבת ה' וגו' כל עושה עול, והתועבה קרויה שקץ וחרם, שנאמר (שם ז כו) ולא תביא תועבה אל ביתך והיית חרם כמוהו שקץ תשקצנו וגו':
You shall not favor a poor person: [This means] that you shall not say, “This man is poor, and the rich man is obligated to provide him with sustenance; therefore, I will acquit him in judgment, and he will thus be sustained respectably.”- [Torath Kohanim 19:37]   לא תשא פני דל: שלא תאמר עני הוא זה והעשיר חייב לפרנסו, אזכנו בדין, ונמצא מתפרנס בנקיות:
or show respect to the great: [This means] that you shall not say, “This man is rich, the son of prominent people; how can I embarrass him and behold his shame? That would surely be a punishable act!” Therefore, Scripture says here, “or respect a great man.” - [Torath Kohanim 19:38]   ולא תהדר פני גדול: שלא תאמר עשיר הוא זה בן גדולים הוא זה, היאך אביישנו ואראה בבושתו, עונש יש בדבר, לכך נאמר ולא תהדר פני גדול:
Judge your fellow with righteousness: [This is to be understood] according to its apparent meaning. Another explanation is: Judge your fellow favorably [i.e., give him the benefit of the doubt].   בצדק תשפט עמיתך: כמשמעו. דבר אחר הוי דן את חברך לכף זכות:
16You shall not go around as a gossipmonger amidst your people. You shall not stand by [the shedding of] your fellow's blood. I am the Lord.   טזלֹֽא־תֵלֵ֤ךְ רָכִיל֙ בְּעַמֶּ֔יךָ לֹ֥א תַֽעֲמֹ֖ד עַל־דַּ֣ם רֵעֶ֑ךָ אֲנִ֖י יְהוָֹֽה:
You shall not go around as a gossipmonger: Heb. לֹא תֵלֵךְ רָכִיל. I say that, since all those who instigate quarrels and speak evil talk go (הוֹלְכִים) into their friends’ houses in order to spy out (לְרַגֵּל) what evil they can see there, or what evil they can hear, to tell in the market-place, they are called הוֹלְכֵי רָכִיל, [which is the same as] הוֹלְכֵי רְגִילָה, - “those who go about spying” ; espiement in Old French, spying. A proof for my words is that we do not find [anywhere in Scripture] where the term רְכִילוּת is used without expressing it in terms of הֲלִיכָה, “going”; [for instance here,] לֹא תֵלֵךְ רָכִיל, “You shall not go around as a gossipmonger,” and, “going tale bearing (הוֹלְכֵי רָכִיל) (Jer. 6:28); [like] copper and iron.” With any other expression for evil talk, however, Scripture does not mention the term הֲלִיכָה, “going”; [for instance,], “He who slanders his fellow in secret” (Ps. 101: 5), and, “you deceitful tongue” (Ps. 120:3), and, “the tongue that speaks great things” (Ps. 12:4). Therefore, I say that the expression רָכִיל is an expression of “going around and spying מְרַגֵּל,” whereby [the letter] כ [of the word רָכִיל] is interchanged with [the letter] ג [so that the word רָכִיל is equivalent to רָגִיל]. For all letters which stem from the same source are interchangeable with one another [i.e., letters by the same speech organs, namely, the lips, tongue, teeth, palate, or throat]. [For example], [the letter] ב [is interchangeable] with פ or ו [as they are all labials; the letter] ג [is interchangeable] with כ as is [the letter] ק [since they are all palatals; the letter] נ [is interchangeable] with ל [because they are both linguals, and [the letters] ר and ז [are interchangeable] with צ [as they are all dentals]. Similarly, [the following verses illustrate how רָגַל is employed in connection with slander, just as is רָכִיל in our verse:], “And he slandered (וַיְרַגֵּל) your servant” (II Sam. 19:28), [lit.,] he spied deceitfully to say evil about me, and [likewise], “He did not slander (רָגַל) with his tongue” (Ps. 15:3). And likewise, [the term] רוֹכֵל means a merchant who goes around spying out (מְרַגֵּל) merchandise; [similarly,] one who sells perfumes with which women beautify themselves, since he constantly goes around in the towns, he is called a רוֹכֵל, equivalent to the term רוֹגֵל -one who spies. And the Targum renders [the phrase in our verse, לֹא תֵלֵךְ רָכִיל, as]: לָא תֵיכוּל קוּרְצִין, [lit., “You shall not eat the food of winking,” a figurative expression for slandering], as, וַאֲכַלוּ קַרְצֵיהוֹן דִּי יְהוּדָיֵא [lit., “and they ate their food of winking concerning the Jews” (Dan. 3:8), i.e., they informed against the Jews], and, אֲכַל בֵּהּ קֻרְצָא בֵּי מַלְכָּא [lit., “he ate the food of winking, concerning him, to the king’s palace” (Ber. 58a), i.e., he informed against him to the king. And why is the expression “eating the food of winking” used to signify slander?] It appears to me that it was the practice of these [informers and slanderers] to eat some sort of small snack at the house of those who listened to their words, for this [eating] acted as a [gesture of] final reinforcement, that the slanderer’s words were indeed well-founded and that he maintained them as the truth. This snack, then, is referred to as אֲכִילַת קוּרְצִין, [where the term קוּרְצִין is] denoted by [Scripture’s description of a faithless man], “He winks (קוֹרֵץ) with his eyes” (Prov. 6:13), for so is the way of all those who go around speaking evil talk, to wink with their eyes, thereby alluding to their slanderous words by innuendo, so that any other people listening will not understand.   לא תלך רכיל: אני אומר על שם שכל משלחי מדנים ומספרי לשון הרע הולכים בבתי רעיהם לרגל מה יראו רע או מה ישמעו רע לספר בשוק, נקראים הולכי רכיל, הולכי רגילה אשפיימנ"ט בלע"ז [ריגול]. וראיה לדברי, שלא מצינו רכילות שאין כתוב בלשון הליכה לא תלך רכיל, הולכי רכיל נחשת וברזל (ירמיה ו כח), ושאר לשון הרע אין כתוב בו הליכה מלשני בסתר רעהו (תהלים קא ה), לשון רמיה (שם קכ ב), לשון מדברת גדולות (שם יב ד), לכך אני אומר שלשון רכיל לשון הולך ומרגל, שהכ"ף נחלפת בגימ"ל, שכל האותיות שמוצאיהם ממקום אחד מתחלפות זו בזו, בי"ת בפ"א ובוי"ו, גימ"ל בכ"ף וקו"ף, נו"ן בלמ"ד, ורי"ש וזי"ן בצד"י וכן (ש"ב יט כח) וירגל בעבדך, רגל ותרמה לומר עלי רעה, וכן (תהלים טו ג) לא רגל על לשונו, וכן רוכל הסוחר ומרגל אחר כל סחורה, וכל המוכר בשמים להתקשט בהם הנשים, על שם שמחזר תמיד בעיירות נקרא רוכל, לשון רוגל. ותרגומו לא תיכול קורצין, כמו (דניאל ג ח) ואכלו קרציהון די יהודיא, אכל ביה קורצא בי מלכא (ברכות נח א). נראה בעיני שהיה משפטם לאכול בבית המקבל דבריהם שום הלעטה, והוא גמר חזוק, שדבריו מקויימים ויעמידם על האמת, ואותה הלעטה נקראת אכילת קורצין, לשון קורץ בעיניו (משלי ו יג), שכן דרך כל הולכי רכיל לקרוץ בעיניהם ולרמוז דברי רכילותן, שלא יבינו שאר השומעים:
You shall not stand by [the shedding of] your fellow’s blood: [I.e., do not stand by,] watching your fellow’s death, when you are able to save him; for example, if he is drowning in the river or if a wild beast or robbers come upon him. — [Torath Kohanim 19:41; Sanh. 73a]   לא תעמד על דם רעך: לראות במיתתו ואתה יכול להצילו, כגון טובע בנהר, וחיה או לסטים באים עליו:
I am the Lord: faithful to pay reward [to those who heed the above warnings], and faithful to exact punishment [upon those who transgress them].   אני ה': נאמן לשלם שכר, ונאמן להפרע:
17You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your fellow, but you shall not bear a sin on his account.   יזלֹֽא־תִשְׂנָ֥א אֶת־אָחִ֖יךָ בִּלְבָבֶ֑ךָ הוֹכֵ֤חַ תּוֹכִ֨יחַ֙ אֶת־עֲמִיתֶ֔ךָ וְלֹֽא־תִשָּׂ֥א עָלָ֖יו חֵֽטְא:
but You shall not bear a sin on his account: I.e., [in the course of your rebuking your fellow,] do not embarrass him in public. — [Torath Kohanim 19:43; Arachin 16b]   ולא תשא עליו חטא: לא תלבין את פניו ברבים:
18You shall neither take revenge from nor bear a grudge against the members of your people; you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.   יחלֹֽא־תִקֹּ֤ם וְלֹֽא־תִטֹּר֙ אֶת־בְּנֵ֣י עַמֶּ֔ךָ וְאָֽהַבְתָּ֥ לְרֵֽעֲךָ֖ כָּמ֑וֹךָ אֲנִ֖י יְהוָֹֽה:
You shall neither take revenge: [For example:] He says to him, “Lend me your sickle,” and he [the latter] replies, “No!” The next day, he [the latter] says to him, “Lend me your ax.” [If] he says to him, “I will not lend it to you, just as you did not lend to me!” this constitutes revenge. And what constitutes “bearing a grudge?” [For example:] he says to him, “Lend me your ax,” and he [the latter] replies, “No!” Then the next day, he [the latter] says to him, “Lend me your sickle.” [Now, if] he says to him, “Here it is for you; I am not like you, who did not lend me!” this constitutes “bearing a grudge,” for he keeps the hatred in his heart, even though he does not take revenge. — [Torath Kohanim 19:44; Yoma 23a]   לא תקם: אמר לו השאילני מגלך. אמר לו לאו. למחר אמר לו השאילני קרדומך. אמר לו איני משאילך כדרך שלא השאלתני, זו היא נקימה. ואיזו היא נטירה, אמר לו השאילני קרדומך. אמר לו לאו. למחר אמר לו השאילני מגלך. אמר לו הא לך ואיני כמותך, שלא השאלתני. זו היא נטירה, שנוטר האיבה בלבו אף על פי שאינו נוקם:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself: Rabbi Akiva says: “This is a fundamental [all-inclusive] principle of the Torah.” - [Torath Kohanim 19:45]   ואהבת לרעך כמוך: אמר רבי עקיבא זה כלל גדול בתורה:
19You shall observe My statutes: You shall not crossbreed your livestock with different species. You shall not sow your field with a mixture of seeds, and a garment which has a mixture of shaatnez shall not come upon you.   יטאֶת־חֻקֹּתַי֘ תִּשְׁמֹ֒רוּ֒ בְּהֶמְתְּךָ֙ לֹֽא־תַרְבִּ֣יעַ כִּלְאַ֔יִם שָֽׂדְךָ֖ לֹֽא־תִזְרַ֣ע כִּלְאָ֑יִם וּבֶ֤גֶד כִּלְאַ֨יִם֙ שַֽׁעַטְנֵ֔ז לֹ֥א יַֽעֲלֶ֖ה עָלֶֽיךָ:
You shall observe My statutes: They are the following: “You shall not crossbreed your livestock with different species, etc.” [The term] חֻקִּים, “statutes,” refers to the decrees of the Divine King, which have no rationale.   את חקתי תשמרו: ואלו הן בהמתך לא תרביע כלאים וגו', חקים אלו גזרות מלך שאין טעם לדבר:
and a garment which has a mixture: Why is this stated? Since Scripture says, “ You shall not wear a mixture of wool and linen together” (Deut. 22:11), I might think that one may not wear [even] shearings of wool [beaten together with] stalks of linen. Therefore, Scripture says, “a garment” [thus excluding pieces of wool and linen combined together, which do not form a “garment”]. And how do we know that included [in this prohibition is also] felt [although it is not a garment, but only a belt]? Because Scripture employs the term שַׁעַטְנֵז, [an acronym of the terms] שׁוּעַ, combed, טָווּי, spun, and נוּז, woven. And נוּז, twisted. [i.e., even if the material in question is] “combed,” “spun” and “twined together” [although it does not form a garment]. And I say that [the term] נוּז denotes a material [made from fibers which have been] stretched and twined together in order to join it together; mestier in Old French, and similar to [the term employed by the Talmud], “…fit for use because of the hard [dry] seeds נַאֲזֵי that they have” (Moed Katan 12a), a term which we explain as meaning “hardened” [just as the fibers of the נוּז cloth become hardened when they are intertwined together]; flestre in Old French, wilted. And with regards to the actual term שַׁעַטְנֵז, Menahem [Ben Saruk] explains it to mean: “A combination of wool and linen.”   ובגד כלאים: למה נאמר, לפי שנאמר לא תלבש שעטנז צמר ופשתים יחדו (דברים כב יא), יכול לא ילבש גיזי צמר ואניצי פשתן, תלמוד לומר בגד. מנין לרבות הלבדים, תלמוד לומר שעטנז, דבר שהוא שוע טווי ונוז. ואומר אני נוז לשון דבר הנמלל ושזור זה עם זה לחברו, מישטי"ר בלע"ז [לערבב], כמו (מועד קטן יב ב) חזיין לנאזי דאית בהון, שאנו מפרשין לשון כמוש פלישטר"א [כמוש]. ולשון שעטנז פירש מנחם מחברת צמר ופשתים:
20If a man lies carnally with a woman, and she is a handmaid designated for a man, and she had not been [fully] redeemed nor had her document of emancipation been granted her, there shall be an investigation; they shall not be put to death, because she had not been [completely] freed.   כוְאִ֠ישׁ כִּֽי־יִשְׁכַּ֨ב אֶת־אִשָּׁ֜ה שִׁכְבַת־זֶ֗רַע וְהִ֤וא שִׁפְחָה֙ נֶֽחֱרֶ֣פֶת לְאִ֔ישׁ וְהָפְדֵּה֙ לֹ֣א נִפְדָּ֔תָה א֥וֹ חֻפְשָׁ֖ה לֹ֣א נִתַּן־לָ֑הּ בִּקֹּ֧רֶת תִּֽהְיֶ֛ה לֹ֥א יֽוּמְת֖וּ כִּי־לֹ֥א חֻפָּֽשָׁה:
designated for a man: נֶחֱרֶפֶת, designated and specified for a [particular] man. And [regarding this term נֶחֱרֶפֶת,] I do not know of [a term] resembling it anywhere in Scripture, but the Scripture is speaking of a Canaanite handmaid, partly a handmaid and partly a free woman [i.e., she belonged to two partners and one freed his part of her], who is betrothed to a Hebrew slave, who is permitted to [marry] a handmaid. — [Torath Kohanim 19:52; Kereithoth 11a]   נחרפת לאיש: מיועדת ומיוחדת לאיש, ואיני יודע לו דמיון במקרא. ובשפחה כנענית שחציה שפחה וחציה בת חורין המאורסת לעבד עברי שמותר בשפחה, הכתוב מדבר:
and she had not been [fully] redeemed: Heb. וְהָפְדֵּה לֹא נִפְדְּתָה, she is redeemed, but not redeemed. And when the unqualified term פִּדְיוֹן, “redemption” is employed, it means [redeeming with money. — [Torath Kohanim 19:53]   והפדה לא נפדתה: פדויה ואינה פדויה וסתם פדיון בכסף:
nor had her document of emancipation been granted her: [the unqualified term חוֹפשׁ, “freeing,” refers to doing so] with a document [of release]. — [Torath Kohanim 19:53]   או חפשה: בשטר:
there shall be an investigation: Heb. בִּקֹרֶת תִּהְיֶה [which will result in] the woman being given lashes but not the man (Torath Kohanim 19:54) The court is obligated to investigate the matter in order not to sentence him [her] to death, since “she had not been [completely] freed” [and therefore,] her marriage is not completely binding. Our Rabbis, however, learned from [this verse], that whoever is sentenced to lashes [as this woman, those lashes] shall be accompanied by a “recitation” [בִּקֹרֶת בִּקְרִיאָה, derived from the בִּקֹרֶת, so that the phrase בִּקֹרֶת תִּהְיֶה is expounded to mean “she is to be given lashes with a קֹּרֶת, a recitation.” And what is the recitation referred to here? It is] that the judges who mete out the lashes, shall recite to the one receiving them (Deut. 28:58-59),“If you will not observe to fulfill [all the words of this Torah]…the Lord will bring upon you…uniquely [horrible] plagues!”- [Kereithoth 11a]   בקרת תהיה: היא לוקה ולא הוא, יש על בית דין לבקר את הדבר שלא לחייבו מיתה, כי לא חפשה, ואין קידושיה קידושין גמורין. ורבותינו למדו מכאן שמי שהוא במלקות יהא בקריאה, שהדיינים המלקין קורין על הלוקה (דברים כח נח - נט) אם לא תשמור לעשות וגו' והפלא ה' את מכותך וגו':
because she had not been [completely] freed: And therefore, the man is not liable to the death penalty because of [his intimacy with] her, since her marriage is not binding. It follows then, that if she had been freed, her marriage would be binding, and he would be liable to the death penalty. — [Torath Kohanim 19:55; Gittin 43b]   כי לא חפשה: לפיכך אין חייב עליה מיתה, שאין קידושיה קידושין, הא אם חופשה, קידושיה קידושין וחייב מיתה:
21He shall bring his guilt offering to the Lord, to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, a guilt offering ram.   כאוְהֵבִ֤יא אֶת־אֲשָׁמוֹ֙ לַֽיהֹוָ֔ה אֶל־פֶּ֖תַח אֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵ֑ד אֵ֖יל אָשָֽׁם:
22And the kohen shall effect atonement for him with the guilt offering ram, before the Lord, for the sin that he had committed; and he shall be forgiven for the sin that he had committed.   כבוְכִפֶּר֩ עָלָ֨יו הַכֹּהֵ֜ן בְּאֵ֤יל הָֽאָשָׁם֙ לִפְנֵ֣י יְהֹוָ֔ה עַל־חַטָּאת֖וֹ אֲשֶׁ֣ר חָטָ֑א וְנִסְלַ֣ח ל֔וֹ מֵֽחַטָּאת֖וֹ אֲשֶׁ֥ר חָטָֽא:
And he shall be forgiven for the sin that he had committed: [The apparently superfluous phrase, “for the sin that he had committed,” is written] to include the intentional sinner like the unintentional sinner [insofar as atonement is effected by bringing a guilt-offering]. — [Torath Kohanim 19:57; Kereithoth 9a]   ונסלח לו מחטאתו אשר חטא: לרבות את המזיד כשוגג: