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What is a min (heretic)? And how does one become a min?

And what are the Halachic Ramification about a min? Some Examples: Can't talk to a min. No matter what reject min's teshuva. etc.

Thank You.

(Some help tagging)

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No matter what the answer to this question is, I'd personally advise against trying to become a min, though as always CYLOR –  Matt Aug 1 at 12:52
    
@Matt I agree. My question was more for what should I do when I meet etc. a min. –  user6781 Aug 1 at 12:56
    
don't worry that was a joke. The main place where the Rambam defines a 'min' (as opposed to an apikores or kofer) is in Hil. Teshuva chapter 3, but he isn't as precise in Hilchos Gezailah V'aveida ch. 11 and Hilchos Mamrim ch 3. –  Matt Aug 1 at 13:02
    
as for practical ramifications, the Rambam writes in Hilchos Mamrim 3:1 two important ones: 1. they aren't included among the Jewish people, so any halakha that requires a Jew cannot be done by such a person, and 2. they should be killed (remember, this site isn't meant for practical advice- please don't kill anyone. The Chazon Ish and other say that second halakha no longer applies) –  Matt Aug 1 at 13:08

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

There are many instances where this is discussed, so for simplicity's sake I'll just quote a few passages from the Rambam.

The Rambam defines the terms 'min', 'apikores', and 'kofer' in Hilchos Teshuva 3:6-8

The following have no share in the world to come, but are cut off, and perish, and receive their punishment for all time for their great sin: the minim, the apikoresim, the kofrim (deniers) of Torah, the kofrim (deniers) of Resurrection of the dead, the apostates, they that lead many to sin, they that turn away from the ways of the [Jewish] community, etc.

Five are called 'minim': (1) he who says there is no God and the world has no leader; (2) he who says the world has more than one leader; (3) he who ascribes to the Lord of the Universe a body and a figure; (4) he who says that God was not alone and Creator of all things at the world's beginning; (5) he who worships some star or constellation as an intermediate power between himself and the Lord of the World.

Three are called apikorsim: (1) one who says that there is no prophecy at all, and that there is no knowledge that comes from the Creator to the hearts of men (2) one who denies the prophecy of Moses (3) and one who says that the Creator doesn't know of the actions of man.

In addition, while it isn't listed here, the Rambam also requires that one believe in Divine retribution in order to not be considered a heretic of some kind (Commentary to the Mishna, intro to Sanhedrin 10:1)

Regarding practical ramificatins, there seems to be no difference between a 'min', a 'kofer', and an 'apikores' - all of them lose their share in the world to come, and are in general excluded from being considered a part of the Jewish people (Source: Rambam Hilchos Avodah Zarah 2:5) Therefore, any law that requires a Jew, such as returing their lost object (Hilchos Gezailah V'aveida 11:2), writing of Sifrei Kodesh (Yesodei HaTorah 6:8, Tefillin 1:13), or testifying in court (Eidus 11:10) cannot be done by any of these categories of people, who from now on I will refer to as heretics.

In addition, one is not allowed to speak to such people, or respond to their claims (Hilchos Avodah Zara 2:5). In fact, the Rambam writes, based on the Gemara (Avodah Zara daf 26) there is a 'great thing' to kill them, either publically, if the socio-political climate will allow such things, or privately arrange for his death (Hilchos Rotzeach 4:10). However, the Chazon Ish (Yoreh Deah, Hilchos Shechita 2:16) wrote that this last halakha is not applicable today, and many great poskim have followed his view. (To clarify, I am NOT advocating the murder of anyone, just quoting the Rambam)

However, a person of such status can still do teshuvah (Rambam Hil. Teshuva 3:14)

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Look at my new question where it says "Their acceptance should never be accepted" About how there is a contradiction between Hilchos Teshuvah and Hilchos Avodas Kochavim and look at the Responsa of the Rambam –  user6781 Aug 1 at 13:50

Fom wikipedia:

In summarizing the Talmudic statements concerning heretics in Sanh. 90-103, Maimonides (Yad, Teshubah, iii. 6-8) says:

The following have no share in the world to come, but are cut off, and perish, and receive their punishment for all time for their great sin: the minim, the apikoresim, they that deny the belief in the Torah, they that deny the belief in resurrection of the dead and in the coming of the Redeemer, the apostates, they that lead many to sin, they that turn away from the ways of the [Jewish] community. Five are called 'minim': (1) he who says there is no God and the world has no leader; (2) he who says the world has more than one leader; (3) he who ascribes to the Lord of the Universe a body and a figure; (4) he who says that God was not alone and Creator of all things at the world's beginning; (5) he who worships some star or constellation as an intermediating power between himself and the Lord of the World.

I am uncertain which category Elisha ben Avuya would fit into based on the categories that Ramba"m mentioned (see linked article for the other category details.) My understanding of the Gemarrah is that they call him a "min". But based on Ramba"m's categories, it seems that he would fit more as a "kopher BaTorah".

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Who asked about Elisha? Also, this only answers part of the question - the other part asks for ramifications –  Matt Aug 1 at 13:03

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