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17
votes
4answers
481 views

Did courts ever execute?

The laws of capital crimes elucidated in Sanhedrin and elsewhere make conviction very unlikely. Makkot 1:10 famously tells us that a court that executes once in seven years is bloodthirsty, R. ...
15
votes
6answers
1k views

Does the Torah ever mention jail as a punishment for a crime?

I have learned that punishments in the Torah often (always?) have a rehabilitative aspect to them as well as providing justice to the victim, e.g. someone who steals and can't pay back the value of ...
15
votes
4answers
341 views

A practical joke that leads to a mitzvah

When I was in Yeshiva, someone somewhere in Klal Yisrael played a practical joke. Sometime during the week of Parshas Vayeishev, a text message went around saying something to the effect of "a 17 ...
12
votes
3answers
317 views

Are souls in Gehinom (purgatory) spared from suffering on Yom Tov?

The Zohar (quoted here), says that the souls that are undergoing the painful cleansing process of Gehenom (purgatory, hell, see here), are given respite during the 24 hours of Shabbat. This idea is ...
12
votes
3answers
250 views

Punishment in this World or in the World To Come

It says that (in general) Hashem lets a righteous person suffer in this world to cleanse him from sins (so he will have no more sins in the World to Come), while Hashem lets a wicked person prosper in ...
11
votes
4answers
326 views

Did hardening Paro's heart mean he wasn't really responsible?

As a child I often wondered how, if God kept hardening Paro's heart after each plague, it could really be Paro's fault. It sounds like God was setting him up to fail, and while that's God's ...
11
votes
3answers
562 views

Why doesn't God offer Sodom and Gemorrah the same chance to repent He offers Nineveh?

Why does God destroy Sodom and Gomorrah without warning, but offer Nineveh a chance to repent? The men who come to Lot's house could have just easily prophesied to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah ...
11
votes
2answers
383 views

Did all of Bnei Israel worship the golden calf?

When Prophet Moses went up to the mountain, did all the people end up worshiping the cow, or were there some who remained aloof? What happened to such people who did not become idolaters? Were they ...
11
votes
3answers
539 views

Why does earthly punishment start at 13 and divine punishment at 20?

Inspired by this question. The age when one is obligated to keep Mitzvos is 13 (for a male and 12 for a female). (See Avot 5:21 and Bartenura) After that age, Beit Din may punish them if they ...
11
votes
1answer
279 views

Are there two things from which kares can cut one off?

In B'midbar 19:13 the Torah says that the punishment for entering the mikdash while impure is spiritual excision, using the words וְנִכְרְתָה הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַהִוא מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל. . . . . .that ...
10
votes
5answers
682 views

Intrinsic reasons for being observant

If a person doesn't care much about the reward in Olam Habah, what reasons does he have for being religious (learning torah and observing the mitzvot)? As a parable, a businessman might not care ...
10
votes
2answers
782 views

Moral Culpability in the Garden

Did Adam and Eve have moral culpability in the Garden before they ate from the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil? It would seem that they were like small children in that sense, they were amoral--not ...
10
votes
9answers
942 views

Why is there no description of Olam Haba in the Torah?

According to the beginning of the Mesilas Yesharim, the entire purpose of creation is for man to merit Olam Haba (the bliss of the next world). If so, why is there no mention nor description of Olam ...
10
votes
2answers
187 views

Do the parents of a convert merit in the afterlife for their child's decision?

When my child was little, she wanted to know whether my parents, who are not Jewish, would go to Heaven. I explained to her that the righteous of all nations have a place in the world to come. But ...
9
votes
3answers
256 views

Delaying using the toilet

According to Gemara Makkot 16b, the phrase in Vayikra 20:25 ... and do not make your souls disgusting - וְלֹא תְשַׁקְּצוּ אֶת נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם is a command not to hold in the urge to urinate or ...
9
votes
4answers
297 views

Can the living negatively affect the dead?

As far as I know, living people can positively affect the dead. This is the reason we say Kaddish and learn Mishnayos for the souls of the deceased. (Feel free to comment with more examples of this.) ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Why did God do nothing against the Romans that desecrated the Temple?

When good guy made a mistake, like Uzzah trying to fix the ark, God killed him (see II Samuel 6:6). However, Uzzah does not seem that evil. I mean, the ark stumbled and he just tried to help. Then, ...
9
votes
2answers
138 views

Are thoughts of sin punished halachically?

Inspired by this question, I got interested in the question of halakhic punishment for thoughts of sin? In general, the Torah is not so concerned and doesn't judge how people feel or what their ...
9
votes
3answers
116 views

How does my having someone in mind when I learn help them?

Many times, as a merit for a recovery for someone sick or someone in need, I have been asked to have that person in mind when I learn. In some places, they will put up a sign asking to have a certain ...
8
votes
4answers
311 views

What is the source for the idea that only two mitzvot have a specific reward associated with them?

I have heard it said that only the mitzvot of kibbud av v'eim (honoring parents) and shiluach haken (sending away the mother bird before taking eggs) are given with an explicit reward (that your days ...
8
votes
2answers
116 views

Why didn't Achashveirosh reward Mordechai immediately?

Esther tells Achashveirosh in the name of Mordechai of a plot to assassinate him (Achashveirosh). They investigate, and stop the would-be assassins. And then... nothing? Why didn't Achashveirosh ...
8
votes
3answers
410 views

Why Avraham hated Yishmael if he was a tzadik

Rashi says that avraham sent yishmael out with only water but no money because he hated him for going out "tarbut raah". yet later on, the verse says G-d heard the cry of Yishmael dying of thirst ...
8
votes
2answers
197 views

What does it mean that a blind person is “Patur” from mitzvot?

When the Gemarah tells us that a Suma (a blind person) is "Patur" from Mitzvot, does that mean to say that he is completely outside the realm of Mitzvot, and will get no reward for doing them, or does ...
7
votes
3answers
260 views

Can you sell your sins?

Can someone who has done an Aveira pay someone to transfer the punishment to him?
7
votes
1answer
158 views

Is there a penalty under the law for attempted adultery?

If a married man or woman propositions sexual misconduct to a person, or a man or woman propositions a person they know is married, is there a prescribed penalty according to the law, i.e. would a a ...
6
votes
4answers
71 views

If we carelessly cause suffering to ourselves does that mean that G-d is punishing us?

Say a person accidentally trips because he wasn't being careful while walking. Should he blame himself or is G-d behind this incident as a way to punish the person?
6
votes
1answer
83 views

Benyamin's reward

Benyamin, while being quite young at the time, is notably missing when Yosef is sold. Does he deserve a reward for not participating or was he simply not included and therefore is incidental in the ...
6
votes
2answers
292 views

If you don't repent of a sin,will the consequence last forever?

Will Hashem punish you until you repent? Or has a sin a time limit? If you steal a car and you don't repent will Hashem punish you until you repent? If there is a time limit for sin can we ...
6
votes
2answers
208 views

Dama ben Nesina and the red heifer

Kidushin 31a brings the story of Dama ben Nesina and his amazing Kibud Av V'Aim which cost him a huge fortune. He was rewarded for his amazing Kibud Av V'Aim by one of his cows giving birth to a red ...
6
votes
2answers
444 views

Aaron and his punishment for the sin of Golden Calf

Why was Aaron, the brother of Mōšéh, not punished by death together with idolators (others who have sinned with the Golden Calf) when Mōšéh came from the mountain? Why was Aaron treated differently?
6
votes
1answer
113 views

If a father has to carry his sons aveiros why not his mitzvos?

If a father must carry the sins & punishments of his son (under bar mitzva) as we know he does from the brocha of "Baruch Shepatrani Meonshin shel zeh" does he — and if not, why doesn't he — ...
6
votes
2answers
242 views

What are the implications of karet?

Does karet mean the soul will not ever enter the olam haba? Can teshuvah rectify the transgression which lead to the karet? Can that soul in another re-incarnation rectify the blemish of karet? By ...
6
votes
2answers
140 views

“Hit him with a hammer until he pays attention!” Literally?

Abaye makes a rather harsh judgment on someone who is unattentive in prayer (Ber. 34a): Hit him with a hammer until he pays attention! Is this meant to be taken as Halachah? Or is it just meant to ...
6
votes
2answers
66 views

Reward and punishment for indirect mitzvot and averot

If I create something with a certain purpose, and it's used for another purpose (good or bad), do I have a share in the mitzvot or averot people made with my creation? I'll give three examples to make ...
6
votes
1answer
108 views

punishment for instigating a crime, intentionally

Is someone who causes another person to sin liable for that sin as if he did it himself? (Please also consider someone scheming, who intentionally plays stupid people, causing them to kill each ...
6
votes
3answers
199 views

Why were the Jews punished for 40 years if the spies were the ones who were there for 40 days?

Rashi (Bemidbar 13:25) implies that the Jews were in the Sinai Desert for 40 years in response to the spies being in the Land of Israel for 40 days. While the spies had 40 days worth of planning to ...
6
votes
2answers
176 views

What is the logical explanation for קם ליה בדרבה מיניה?

HodofHod: In essence, the idea is this: If a person does one act, and with that one act incurs two different kinds of penalties, we only apply the stricter one. So if a person (for example) ...
6
votes
2answers
217 views

Why did God destroy Sodom in such a strange way?

Why does it rain both fire and brimstone (gafris - 19:24) on Sodom surely one or the other was enough? Furthermore, if the whole city is 'turned upside down' (19:25) why was there a need to rain ...
5
votes
1answer
698 views

Is there a punishment for disgracing our prophets/sages?

In light of the recent Charlie Hebdo incident with depictions of Mohammed (and others like), are there any punishments for derogatory depictions of our Jewish prophets and sages (be it in our times or ...
5
votes
4answers
300 views

Do a mitzva for mashiach?

I recently saw in The Moshiach Times, a popular Chabad-Lubavitch publication for children, an exhortation to "do a mitzvah for moshiach": to do a mitzva with the specific purpose of hastening the ...
5
votes
2answers
275 views

The stoning of Achan's family

Deuteronomy 24:16 says “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers; every man shall be put to death for his own sin." Why then ...
5
votes
3answers
132 views

How does punishment in the World to Come make sense?

If a person is able to make choices in this world, and especially if a person is able to disbelieve that there is a Divine order of any type, how does it make sense for a person's soul to be punished ...
5
votes
4answers
360 views

Why does there seem to be different standards for future sinners?

In Bereshit (21:17) Rashi tells us that the Angels wanted G-d to kill Yishmael, but G-d said that He wouldn't judge him according to his future deeds, but rather according to his present state: In ...
5
votes
1answer
191 views

Why should you be seeking medical attention?

From what I understand, all sicknesses and injuries fall upon a person because either G-d wants to wake him up to repent or to punish him. With that being the case, by seeking healing the person is ...
5
votes
1answer
619 views

What is the kaf hakelah

A punishment for souls that do not immediately merit to enter gan eden (olam haba?) is to be flung about in the "kaf hakelah". What exactly is that? What is its purpose? Why specifically is that form ...
5
votes
2answers
83 views

Why does G-d say He will destroy the Bnei Yisroel after the episode with the spies?

In Bamidbar (Book of Numbers), after the spies come back with their negative report about Israel, God says: אַכֶּנּוּ בַדֶּבֶר וְאוֹרִשֶׁנּוּ וְאֶעֱשֶׂה אֹתְךָ לְגוֹי גָּדוֹל וְעָצוּם מִמֶּנּוּ. ...
5
votes
1answer
184 views

What is “ol mitzvot” for a convert?

A convert is suppoed to accept the ol mitzvot, the burden of halacha but does this mean an explicit intent to follow the mitzvot or simply the acceptance that there is a punishment if the mitzvot are ...
5
votes
1answer
85 views

Is every punishment Mida K'neged Mida?

Is every single punishment given in the form of Mida K'neged Mida ("Measure for Measure" - i.e. the punishment is in the same vein as the transgression) or just in some special cases?
5
votes
0answers
76 views

Pidyon Shevuyim - when does it apply?

Does the Mitzva of Pidyon Shevuyim apply in a case where one is being held in prison for having committed a crime or only where a innocent person was captured for ransom? If it does apply to cases ...
4
votes
5answers
293 views

Bad things happening to good people

Why do bad things happen to good people? And, even if they do, bad things, not good things, should happen to bad people!