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15
votes
4answers
337 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. ...
14
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 ...
12
votes
3answers
158 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
208 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
4answers
263 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
235 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
223 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
1answer
206 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
190 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
638 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
188 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
3answers
345 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
130 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
223 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.) ...
8
votes
3answers
104 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
217 views

Can you sell your sins?

Can someone who has done an Aveira pay someone to transfer the punishment to him?
7
votes
4answers
254 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
106 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
587 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
320 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, ...
7
votes
4answers
269 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
77 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
225 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
95 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
3answers
299 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
131 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
97 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
236 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
218 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
4answers
245 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
96 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
0answers
56 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
119 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 ...
4
votes
6answers
683 views

How can God be just in light of Deuteronomy 23:3?

Deuteronomy 23:3: A bastard shall not enter into the assembly of the LORD; even to the tenth generation shall none of his enter into the assembly of the LORD. I asked a similar question here ...
4
votes
3answers
152 views

The concept of קם ליה בדרבה מיניה

I'm trying to understand this concept. I've Googled around and could't find any straightforward answers. I don't need too many details, just the explanation that's given in the Gemara (I understand ...
4
votes
2answers
132 views

Parasha named after Balak?

I've heard from Harav Mansour Shelit"a as well as other Hachamim that Yitro was rewarded by getting a Parasha named by him. With that in mind, why did Balak get a Parasha named after him?
4
votes
1answer
223 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
78 views

Order of punishments/responsibilities in viduy

In the viduy (confession) of Yom Kipur, we confess, and beg for forgiveness for, sins for which we're liable for a sacrificial offering: ola, chatas, ole v'yored, and asham; lashes prescribed by ...
4
votes
2answers
80 views

Action in Balak and Reward in Pinchas

Why is it that in Parashas Pinchas we see the reward of Pinchas (Bamidbar 25:7), even though his to-be-rewarded action was in Parashas Balak (Bamidbar 25:12)? Why wait a Parsha to say what reward he ...
4
votes
1answer
48 views

Are criminals rehabilitated after punishment?

I ask this without trying to take a position on any current events. If someone is found, under halacha, to be guilty of a crime not punishable by death, and he pays whatever the price is (lashes, ...
4
votes
2answers
124 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) borrows a ...
3
votes
5answers
213 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!
3
votes
2answers
128 views

What is the punishment for Patur Aval Issur?

If one does something on Shabbos, say, that is patur aval issur (like an act of destruction) what is the punishment? I know that Beis Din (court) does nothing, but are there any sources for what the ...
3
votes
2answers
57 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
373 views

Is it true that Jews believed in sheol before the belief in hereafter entered into Judaism?

I have heard claimed that Jews first believed in Sheol which was considered as a place below the ground and it meant to be a place of eternal rest, free of any reward and punishment. However in later ...
3
votes
1answer
90 views

Punishment for sins one cannot now be expected to avoid

I recall a high-school rebbe (teacher) of mine quoting a great rabbi as having said that, if someone religious becomes irreligious, then God will punish him for every time he does not wash his hands ...
3
votes
1answer
98 views

Do you get credit for unintentional mitzvot?

I have heard stories such as A wealthy man felt like abandoning his Judaism and went to the kotel to 'say his goodbyes'. There he saw a chasid davening with such fervor and tears that the wealthy ...
3
votes
1answer
21 views

Did Yehoshua Give Achan the Wrong Punishment?

In Yehoshua 7:15 God tells Yehoshua that when he finds the man that took from the forbidden booty of Jericho he should punish him with burning. Yet at the end of that very chapter in verse 25 Achan is ...
3
votes
2answers
54 views

Hidden treasure for speaking lashon Harah?

The Torah Vayikra 14:34 introduces the topic of tzara'ath on houses as if it were a good tiding - from this, the Midrash learns that the good tiding is finding hidden treasure when having to demolish ...
3
votes
1answer
57 views

Understanding ones own 'middah k'neged middah'

In order to better understand ones purpose, merits and relationship (etc.) with Hashem is there any merit in trying to figure out the מדה כנגד מדה aspects of one's life? Should one dwell on such ...