“Then his father and mother shall seize him” (Dt.21:19).
This teaches that
he can only be liable for punishment
while he has a [living] father and mother:
words of R. Meir.
R. Judah says:
If his mother was unsuited [by improper lineage]2 to marry his father,
the son cannot be held liable
for punishment as a persistently incorrigible son. 3
“And they shall take him to the elders of his city, and to the gate of his place” (Dt.21:19)—
it is essential that the elders of his city
[bear witness] at the gate of his home.
“And they shall say to the elders of his city: This son of ours” (Dt.21:20)—
“this one,” who has recently been beaten before you.
The phrase, ours, teaches that
if one parent has died, the son is not stoned.
If one of them is an amputee, or lame, or mute, or blind, or deaf,
he cannot be held liable for punishment
as a stubbornly incorrigible son,
for it is said:
“They shall seize him” (Dt.21:19)—
so they cannot be amputees.
“Bring him out to the gate” (Dt.21:19)—
so they cannot be lame.
“And they shall declare” (Dt.21:19)—
so they cannot be mute.
“This son of ours” (Dt.21:19)—
[since this implies gesturing towards the son,]
they cannot be blind.
“Does not heed our voice” (Dt.21:19)—
[since they observe that he doesn’t heed,]
they cannot be deaf!
The elders then warn him,
before three witnesses,
[of the consequences of his acts,]
and administer a beating.
If he repeated his offenses,
he is brought to a Court of Twenty-Three.
But he is not stoned unless
three of the original elders are in session,
as it is said:
“This son of ours” (Dt.21:20)—
this one who has recently been beaten before you.
“Is a gluttonous drunkard” (Dt.21:20)—
stuffing himself with meat
and swilling wine.4
Now, even though
[the Torah contains] no clear proscription
against drunken gluttony,5
the Prophets6 suggest as much:
“Don’t be among the wine-swillers or the meat-bingers!” (Prov.23:20).
And He says:
“For the wine-swiller and meat-binger will know want,
and their stupor will clothe them in tatters!” (Prov.23:21)
- H:230-231; JN2:124-125.
- That is, his mother was disqualified from marrying into the priesthood, and his father was a priest, or if the mother was a mamzeret and the father was of unimpaired lineage. See Pisqa’ 196.1.
- //M. San.8:4.
- //M. San. 8:4.
- Cf. T. San.11:6.
- This is not a reference to the scriptural canon of the Prophet in general, or to any book in that canon. Rather, the “prophet” in question is King Solomon, reputed compiler of Proverbs.