Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

This question assumes that one should accept his punishment after being convicted of a capital offense.

Should one turn himself in to (Jewish) authorities after committing an offense for which he knows he will receive capital punishment? Assume that he would otherwise get away with the crime because the authorities would be unable to prosecute him: there was proper warning of two witnesses, but he was able to flee and is a fugitive.

Also assume that he would do tshuva and would not commit that crime again. Does turning oneself in constitute a violation of pikuach nefesh?

Obviously, halacha does not allow people to commit these capital offenses in the first place, but assume this question is bedieved, after he committed the capital offense.

share|improve this question
What do you mean by "turn oneself in"? Submit to arrest, as opposed to hiding? Plead guilty to the crime? (IINM, this would take capital punishment off the table, since that requires conviction via witnesses who had warned.) Not presenting a defense when charged by witnesses? – Isaac Moses Mar 13 '13 at 21:56
@IsaacMoses, good point. I hadn't considered that when I posted this question. – Daniel Mar 21 '13 at 3:52

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.