Talmud - Mas. Makkoth 2a
CHAPTER I MISHNAH. HOW DO WITNESSES BECOME LIABLE [TO PUNISHMENT] ASZOMEMIM?
[IF THEY SAY:] ‘WE TESTIFY THAT N. N. [A PRIEST] IS A SON OF AWOMAN WHO HAD [FORMERLY] BEEN DIVORCED
OR A HALUZAH,’
IT IS NOT SAID[IN THIS CASE] THAT EACH [MENDACIOUS] WITNESS BE HIMSELF STIGMATIZED ASBORN OF A DIVORCEE OR HALUZAH; HE ONLY RECEIVES FORTY
[LASHES]. [IF THEY SAY]: ‘WE TESTIFY THAT N.N. IS GUILTY OF [A CHARGE ENTAILING]BANISHMENT,’
IT IS NOT SAID [IN THIS CASE] THAT EACH [MENDACIOUS] WITNESSSHOULD HIMSELF SUFFER BANISHMENT; HE ONLY RECEIVES FORTY [LASHES]. GEMARA. Should not the opening words of the Mishnah have been rather, ‘How do witnessesnot become liable [to punishment] as zomemim?’ Moreover, since we read in a subsequent Mishnah:But if they [i.e. counter-witnesses] said to them, ‘How can you testify at all, since on that very dayyou were with us at such and such a place?’ these are condemned as zomemim,’
does not ‘these’imply that those in the foregoing instances are not treated as zomemim? — The Tanna had just beendealing with the last Mishnah in the preceding tractate [of Sanhedrin]
to which this Mishnah is but asequel, namely: ‘All zomemim are led forth to meet a talionic death save zomemim in an accusationof adultery
against the [married] daughter of a priest, and her paramour, who are led forth to meetnot the same death [as she], but another [manner of] death.’ Accordingly in our Mishnah we areprovided with other instances of zomemim where the main law of retaliation is not enforced, but ‘aflogging of forty’ [lashes] is inflicted instead: [IF THEY SAY:] ‘WE TESTIFY THAT N. N. [APRIEST] IS A SON OF A WOMAN WHO HAD [FORMERLY] BEEN DIVORCED OR AHALUZAH,’ IT IS NOT SAID THAT EACH [MENDACIOUS] WITNESS BE HIMSELFSTIGMATIZED AS BORN OF A DIVORCEE OR HALUZAH; HE ONLY RECEIVES FORTY[LASHES]. What is the sanction for this [substitutive] penalty? — Said R. Joshua b. Levi: R. Simeon b.Lakish
said that it is based on the text: then shall ye do unto him as he purposed to do;
that is tosay, punish him [the culprit] and not his [innocent] offspring.
But why should not he alone bestigmatised, and not his offspring? — We must needs fulfil ‘as he had purposed to do’ and in such acase we should have failed to do so.
says that the sanction [here, for the substitutive penalty of a flogging] may be obtainedby an argument a fortiori.
What do we find in the case of the ‘desecrator’?
The ‘desecrator’himself does not become ‘desecrated’ [by his forbidden association]. Is it not then logical [to arguefrom this] that a zomem who only came to [try and] ‘desecrate’ a person,
but did not [in fact]desecrate him, should not become ‘desecrated’ himself? Rabina demurred to this argument, saying that if you admit this [kind of] deduction, you nullify[in effect] the law of retaliation for zomemim.____________________
Zomem-im, the plural of zomem, lit., ‘intriguer’ or ‘schemer’ is the technical term for a type of false witnesses (v. pp.19 ff.) and their punishment is by the law of retaliation (Deut. XIX, 16ff.).
The child of a union of a priest and a divorcee is considered a Halal, i.e., vulgarized, desecrated, and disqualifiedfrom priestly office. (Lev. XXI, 6-8, 14-15; Ezek. XLIV, 22.)
The widow of a man (absolutely) childless, who had been discharged by performing the halizah (lit., ‘the drawingoff’, sc., the shoe. Deut. XXV, 5-10) is designated Haluzah-widow, and is (Rabbinically) considered tantamount to adivorcee and consequently may not be married to a priest. Haluzah may be taken to mean either ‘discharged’,