Yevamot 73 – Karet is worse than Mita B'dei Shamayim

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    Towards the end of the daf, it compares Kodashim with Terumah to see which is more strict. It concludes that Kodashim are more strict because they have Karet, whereas Terumah “only” has Mita B’dei Shamayim.

    Some say Karet is dying early, like before sixty. Apparently that doesn’t seem to be pshat here.

    It seems to me that Karet is a spiritual “cutting off” both in this world and the next, whereas MB”Sh is only in this world.

    Does that make sense? Do you agree with my understanding?


    It’s a B’feirush Gemara (I’m blanking where, maybe towards the end of Brachos) that Kares is worse. Kares means dying before 50. Misah Bidei Shamayim is before 60. But if someone dies at exactly 52 it’s not considered Misah Bidei Shamayim.


    There are actually three different types of Karet 1 – dying early, 2 – a spiritual “cutting off” in the next world, and 3 – a combination of both 1 and 2.

    And yes, it is worse that Misa B’dei Shamayim.

    Not that I would suggest trying either of them!

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕

    MDG – Yes, your interpretation would seem correct based on the Gemara. However, look in the Rambam (Rotzeah, 2.2-3) who says that there is no “death at the hand of the court” for the crime of suicide, only “death by the hands of Heaven,”. This is puzzling, since how could a suicide, no longer alive, be punished for the crime by the court?

    It would probably be better to decide that we don’t understand what these terms mean.

    Goldilocks – I would suggest that the actual punishment might depend on whether the individual (while he was still alive) would prefer punishment in this world or the next. If so, then there is a fourth type of Kares – the type where the individual does Tshuva M’Ahava and is rewarded in the next world. We’re all capable of being Maccabees!


    From Kollel Iyun Hadaf website (Background to the Daf):

    The commentaries list a number of differences between Kares and Misah b’Yedei Shamayim (see TOSFOS to YEVAMOS 2a DH Eshes Achiv; RABEINU YONAH in Sha’arei Teshuvah, 3:6; TIFERES YISRAEL to Sanhedrin 9:6):

    1. One who is punished with Kares will die before age 60 (according to Moed Katan 28a, or before the age of 50, according to the Yerushalmi Bikurim 2:1). One punished with Misah b’Yedei Shamayim will die after the age of 60 but before his time has come (according to Moed Katan ibid., or before the age of 60, according to the Yerushalmi ibid.)

    2. When one is punished with Kares, even his children (who are minors at the time of his sin) die, and he bears no further children. When one is punished with Misah b’Yedei Shamayim, only he is punished and not his children (Yevamos 55a and RASHI there). (See, however, RIVA in Tosfos to Yevamos 2a DH Eshes, who maintains that Kares only involves the death of one’s children in the two cases where the Torah adds the word “Ariri.” However, he might be referring to the death of children who are not minors.)

    3. Some add that when punished with Kares, the sinner’s cattle and possessions slowly expire until he is left destitute – see Insights to Yevamos 73:2.

    4. For a number of specific sins, the Torah assigns a form of Kares in which the sinner not only dies before his time but is not granted a portion in the World to Come (Sanhedrin 64b, 90b).

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