karet

A divine punishment for serious transgressions.The precise definition of the term is a matter of debate among the commentaries. Among the characteristics of karet are premature or sudden death, barrenness and the death of the sinner’s children, and the soul’s being excised from the World-to-Come. Thirty-six transgressions punishable by karet are mentioned in tractate Keritot. With the exception of two, i.e., failure to bring the Pascal lamb and failure to perform circumcision, all the transgressions are violations of prohibition.  Karet applies only to one who performs a transgression intentionally. In certain instances, if the transgression was committed in the presence of witnesses, the transgressor is subject to execution by an earthly court, or to the penalty of lashes. Anyone who unwittingly violated one of the prohibitions punishable by karet is liable to bring a sin-offering as atonement.

« Back to Glossary Index