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Makkot (Hebrew: מכות, "Lashes") is a book of the Mishnah and Talmud. It is the fifth volume of the book of Nezikin. Makkot deals primarily with laws of Jewish courts and the punishments which they may administer, and may be regarded as a continuation of tractate Sanhedrin, of which it originally formed part.
Included in its scope are the topics of:
- Collusive Witnesses (edim zomemim)
- Exile to a "city of refuge"
- Court-administered lashes (malkut)
- The debate over the definition of a tattoo (ka'aka)
There is a dispute recorded between Rabbi Judah and the other sages as to the maximum number of lashes a person might receive. Rabbi Judah held the maximum is forty, while the sages say that the maximum is thirty-nine. The Talmud rules in accord with the sages.
The lashes were administered in groups of three, one on the chest and one on the back of each shoulder. Rabbi Judah, who held that forty lashes should be administered, positioned the final strike between the shoulder blades. Since we must not kill the person being lashed, a doctor evaluates how many lashes the convicted can survive (in multiples of three).
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