“There shall not be found among you” (Dt.18:10)—
so caution the court to be vigilant about it!2
“Anyone who passes his son or daughter through fire” (Dt.18:10).
I might infer that
[this prohibition] is limited to his sons or daughters.
How do I know that
[the prohibition] includes his sons’ sons or daughters’ sons?
The Teaching states elsewhere:
“None of his descendants shall be given to pass through Molekh” (Lv.18:21)3
Yet I still wonder:
here [the verse states] fire (Dt.18:10),
but there [it states] Molekh (Lv.18:21).
How can I apply what is said here [about fire]
to the context there [which speaks of Molekh]?
And how can I apply what is said there [about Molekh]
to the context here which speaks of fire?
[The repeated terms,]
pass through (Dt.18:10) and
pass through (Lv.18:21),
permit the following analogical inference:
Just as pass through mentioned here (Dt.18:10)
so, too, pass through mentioned there (Lv.18:21)
And just as pass through mentioned there
specifies Molekh (Lv.18:21),
so, too, pass through mentioned here
specifies Molekh (Dt.18:10).
It turns out that you can say:
[The proscription applies]
only when one hands over and passes
[the child first] through fire and [afterward] through Molekh.
Indeed—[the proscription] depends upon both verses.
Had they not been stated [in complementary terms],
we’d have heard no proscription.4
“An augur of auguries”5 (Dt.18:10)—
all the same is one who augers many auguries
and the augur of a few—
he is held liable for each and every augury.
What, precisely, is an augur?
This is the type who grabs his staff and inquires:
shall I depart or not depart?6
And in this vein, a verse says:
“My people consults its stick, and its staff directs it!” (Hos.4:12)
Another word :
[he infers the portent of]
a fox that passes on his right or his left.
“Any one who passes his son or daughter through fire” (Dt.18:10)—
this refers to one who
sexually mounts an Aramean7 woman,
and then raises with her a son,
who becomes an enemy of the All-Present.
We have heard the punishment [for this],
but we haven’t heard the warning [against it]!
The Teaching states:
“There shall not be found among you
anyone who passes his son or daughter through fire” (Dt.18:10)—
[this is certainly sufficient warning]!
R. Judah says:
This refers to one who passes his son or daughter
through [the rite of] a foreign cult,
and cuts8 a covenant with it.
As it is said:
“Like the calf which they cut in two9
and then passed between the parts” (Jer.34:18). 10
“An oracle”11 (Dt.18:10)—
R. Ishmael says:
This one passes his hand over his eye12
R. Akiva says:
These declare auspicious times [for commerce].
For example, they might say:
I sense that before the Sabbatical year
the wheat harvest will be exceptional,
but [trade in] uprooted beans will be bad.
And sages say:
These deceive the eyes14
“Or an omen-whisperer”16 (Dt.18:10).
What, precisely, is an “omen-whisperer”?17
For example, one of them might say:
my bread has fallen from my mouth
[and it’s not a good omen]!
Or: my staff has fallen from my hand!
Or: a snake (nakhash) is passing to my right,
or a fox to my left,
or a deer is blocking my way!
Or: don’t start with me—it’s too early in the morning!
Or, it’s the New Moon today!
Or, the Sabbath is over.18
“Or a sorcerer” (mechashef; Dt.18;10).
This is one who tricks,
but not by deceiving the eyes
R. Akiva says in the name of R. Joshua:
Two [sorcerers] are gathering squash—
one gathers [the entire field] and is exempt
[from suspicion of using sorcery,]
while the other gathers [the entire field] and is liable.
[Now why is this so?]
The one actually performing the trick is liable,
but the one who only deceives the eyes is exempt!19
- H:199-200; JN2:45-48.
- //Sifra, ‘akharei mot, per. 13:22.
- //Sifra, qedoshim, par. 10:6.
- Cf. M.San.7:7, T.San.10:4.
- qosem qesamim. The procedure of “augury” is explained immediately below.
- Cf. T.Shab.7:4, in which this practice is labeled “Amorite custom”.
- That is, a gentile.
- Heb: koret; in this context, “cutting” means to “seal a pact.”
- Jeremiah’s reference is to the description of “the covenant between the parts” at Gn.15:9-19.
- F:218, ls. 10-13 regards 161.4 as a marginal insertion.
- Heb: me`onen.
- Heb: `ayin; root, `-y-n. Another possible derivation is the root: `-n-n, “cloud” (BDB, p. 778)
- Cf. Sifra, qedoshim, per. 6:2, T. Shab. 7:14.
- Heb: `aynayim. A second word-play based upon the root, `-y-n.
- // T. Shab. 7:14.
- Heb: minakhesh; “ to hiss.” See nakhash (“snake”) below.
- Cf. Sifra, qedoshim, per. 6:2.
- Cf. T.Shab.7:13 and Lieberman’s comments, TK 3:96ff.
- =M. San. 7:11.