MISHNAH. THE FOLLOWING MAY BE RECITED IN ANY LANGUAGE: THE SECTION CONCERNING THE SUSPECTED WOMAN,4 THE CONFESSION MADE AT THE PRESENTATION OF THE TITHE,5 THE SHEMA',6 THE 'PRAYER',7 THE GRACE AFTER MEALS,8 THE OATH CONCERNING TESTIMONY9 AND THE OATH CONCERNING A DEPOSIT.10
THE FOLLOWING ARE RECITED IN THE HOLY TONGUE:11 THE DECLARATION MADE AT THE OFFERING OF THE FIRSTFRUITS,12 THE FORMULA OF HALIZAH,13 THE BLESSINGS AND CURSES,14 THE PRIESTLY BENEDICTION,15 THE BENEDICTION OF THE HIGH PRIEST,16 THE SECTION OF THE KING,17 THE SECTION OF THE CALF WHOSE NECK IS BROKEN,18 AND THE ADDRESS TO THE PEOPLE BY THE PRIEST ANOINTED [TO ACCOMPANY THE ARMY] IN BATTLE.19
WHENCE IS IT THAT THE DECLARATION MADE AT THE OFFERING OF THE FIRST-FRUITS [MUST BE IN HEBREW]? [IT IS STATED]. AND THOU SHALT ANSWER AND SAY BEFORE THE LORD THY GOD,20 AND ELSEWHERE IT IS STATED, AND THE LEVITES SHALL ANSWER AND SAY;21 AS THE LATTER MUST BE IN THE HOLY TONGUE,22 SO MUST THE FORMER BE IN THE HOLY TONGUE. WHENCE IS IT THAT THE FORMULA OF HALIZAH [MUST BE IN HEBREW]? [IT IS STATED]. AND SHE SHALL ANSWER AND SAY,23 AND ELSEWHERE IT IS STATED, AND THE LEVITES SHALL ANSWER AND SAY'; AS THE LATTER MUST BE IN THE HOLY TONGUE. SO MUST THE FORMER BE IN THE HOLY TONGUE. R. JUDAH SAYS: [IT IS DERIVED FROM THE TEXT], AND SHE SHALL ANSWER AND SAY THUS24 — I.E., SHE MUST SAY IT IN THIS LANGUAGE.
HOW WERE THE BLESSINGS AND CURSES [PRONOUNCED]? WHEN ISRAEL CROSSED THE JORDAN AND CAME TO MOUNT GERIZIM AND MOUNT EBAL WHICH ARE BY SAMARIA, (THIS IS IN THE VICINITY OF SHECHEM WHICH IS IN THE VICINITY OF THE TEREBINTHS OF MOREH, AND IT IS SAID, ARE THEY NOT BEYOND JORDAN ETC.25 AND ELSEWHERE IT STATES, AND ABRAM PASSED THROUGH THE LAND UNTO THE PLACE OF SHECHEM UNTO THE TEREBINTH OF MOREH;26 AS THE TEREBINTH OF MOREH MENTIONED IN THIS LATTER VERSE IS SHECHEM, SO THE TEREBINTH OF MOREH MENTIONED IN THE FORMER VERSE IS SHECHEM.) SIX TRIBES ASCENDED THE SUMMIT OF MOUNT GERIZIM, SIX TRIBES ASCENDED THE SUMMIT OF MOUNT EBAL, AND THE PRIESTS AND LEVITES WITH THE ARK WERE STATIONED BELOW IN THE CENTRE, THE PRIESTS SURROUNDING THE ARK, THE LEVITES [SURROUNDING] THE PRIESTS, AND ALL ISRAEL ON THIS SIDE AND THAT SIDE; AS IT IS SAID, AND ALL ISRAEL, AND THEIR ELDERS AND OFFICERS, AND THEIR JUDGES STOOD ON THIS SIDE THE ARK AND ON THAT SIDE ETC.27 THEY TURNED THEIR FACES TOWARDS MOUNT GERIZIM AND OPENED WITH THE BLESSING: BLESSED BE THE MAN THAT MAKETH NOT A GRAVEN OR MOLTEN IMAGE',28 AND BOTH PARTIES29 RESPOND AMEN. THEY THEN TURNED THEIR FACES TOWARDS MOUNT EBAL AND OPENED WITH THE CURSE: CURSED BE THE MAN THAT MAKETH THE GRAVEN OR MOLTEN IMAGE', AND BOTH PARTIES RESPOND 'AMEN.' [SO THEY CONTINUE] UNTIL THEY COMPLETE THE BLESSINGS AND CURSES. AFTER THAT THEY BROUGHT THE STONES,30 BUILT THE ALTAR AND PLASTERED IT WITH PLASTER, AND INSCRIBED THEREON ALL THE WORDS OF THE TORAH IN SEVENTY LANGUAGES,31 AS IT IS SAID, VERY PLAINLY.32 THEN THEY TOOK THE STONES33 AND WENT
Sotah 32bAND SPENT THE NIGHT IN THEIR PLACE.1
GEMARA. Whence have we it that the section concerning the suspected woman [may be recited in any language]? — As it is written: And the priest shall say unto the woman2 — in whatever language he speaks.
Our Rabbis taught: They explain to her in any language she understands for what reason she is about to drink the water, in what [sort of vessel] she drinks, why she had misconducted herself and in what manner she had misconducted herself. For what reason she is about to drink the water — because of [her husband's] warning and her subsequent seclusion. In what [sort of vessel] she drinks — in a potsherd.3 Why she had misconducted herself- because of levity and childishness. And in what manner she had misconducted herself — whether in error or deliberately, under compulsion or of free will. But why all this? So as not to discredit the water of bitterness.4
THE CONFESSION MADE AT THE PRESENTATION OF THE TITHE. Whence have we it that this [may be recited in any language]? — As it is written: And thou shalt say before the Lord thy God, I have put away the hallowed things out of mine house,5 and the deduction is to be drawn from the analogous use of the word 'say' in connection with the suspected woman that it may be in whatever language he speaks. R. Zebid said to Abaye, But let the deduction be drawn from the analogous use of the word 'say' in connection with the Levites6 [as follows]: As there it means that it must be in the holy tongue so here it must be in the holy tongue! — [He answered], We deduce [the meaning of] an unqualified use of 'say' from another occurrence of an unqualified use of 'say, but we do not deduce [the meaning of] an unqualified use of 'say' from a passage where the expression 'answer and say' occurs.7
It has been taught: R. Simeon b. Yohai said: A man should recount what is to his credit in a low voice and what is to his discredit in a loud voice. That he is to recount what is to his credit in a low voice [is learnt] from the confession made at the presentation of the tithe, and what is to his discredit in a loud voice from the declaration made at the offering of the first-fruits.8 But should one recount what is to his discredit in a loud voice? Surely R. Johanan has said in the name of R. Simeon b. Yohai: Why was It instituted that the 'prayer'9 should be recited softly? So as not to put transgressors to shame;10 for behold, Scripture made no distinction as to the place of a sin-offering or burnt-offering!11 — Do not read [in R. Simeon's statement] 'his discredit' but 'his trouble';12 as it has been taught: And he shall cry, Unclean, unclean13 — it is necessary [for the leper] to make his trouble known to the multitude so that the multitude may pray on his behalf; and thus everybody to whom a calamity has occurred should make it known to the multitude so that the multitude may pray on his behalf. The [above] text states: 'R. Johanan said in the name of R. Simeon b. Yohai: Why was it instituted that the 'prayer' should be recited softly? So as not to put transgressors to shame; for, behold, Scripture made no distinction as to the place of a sin-offering or burnt-offering.' But it is not so, for there is a difference in the treatment of the blood. The blood of a sin-offering [was applied] above [the red line which ran round the altar], whereas the blood of a burnt-offering [was applied] below it! — Only the priest would know that. There is, however, the difference that for a sin-offering a female animal was sacrificed and for a burnt-offering a male! — Being covered by the fat tail [the sex would not be recognised]. That is quite right with a female lamb, but what of a female goat?14 — In that case the man brought the shame upon himself, because he should have offered a lamb but offered a goat. What, however, of the sin-offering brought for idolatry when only a goat suffices!15 — In that case let him experience shame so that he may receive atonement.
THE SHEMA'. Whence have we it that this [may be recited in any language]? As it is written: Hear, O Israel16 — in any language you understand.
Our Rabbis taught: The Shema' must be recited as it is written.17 Such is the statement of Rabbi but the Sages say: In any language. What is Rabbi's reason? — Scripture declares, And [these words] shall be,18 i.e., they must remain as they are. And [what is the reason of] the Rabbis? — Scripture declares, 'Hear, O Israel' — in any language you understand. But for the Rabbis it is likewise written: 'And [these words] shall be'!19 — That indicates that one may not read it in the wrong order.20 And whence does Rabbi derive the rule that one may not read it in the wrong order? — From the fact that the text uses 'these words' and not merely 'words'. And the Rabbis?21 — They draw no inference from the use of 'these words' instead of 'words'. But for Rabbi it is likewise written: 'Hear'! — He requires that for the rule: Make audible to your ears what you utter with your lips.22 And the Rabbis? — They agree with him who said that if one has not recited the Shema' audibly he has fulfilled his obligation. It is possible to say that Rabbi holds
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