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The Rambam in his אגרת השמד says outward acceptance of Islam is not ייהרג ואל יעבור. On the other hand, the Radvaz quotes the Ritva as saying that this is ייהרג ואל יעבור. According to the Rambam, outward acceptance of Islam is not ייהרג ואל יעבור because Islam is not עבודה זרה, and even though it is heretical because it denies the Torah, one does not have ...


8

Per http://www.ashlag.com/parasha_in.asp?id=206&idd=5 this is based on a Maharam M'Rotenberg. The pain is not felt if the person is not anticipating a miracle, however if the person is anticipating a miracle then he does feel the pain. בשו״ת מהר״ם מרוטנבערג (סימן תקט״ז) דכשגמר האדם בדעתו למות על קידוש השם ומסר נפשו על זה, אז מכאן ואילך כל מה שעושים ...


7

The Lubavitcher Rebbe (Likkutei Sichos Volume 20, Vayera #3) said that the difference between the two tests was that in the first test, Avraham did what any normal "holy" person would do. He lived his whole life to spread G-dliness, and here is the ultimate way to show how much you believe in G-d - That you are willing to give up your life for it. The ...


6

R' Hirsch notes that the Big Three are echoed in the laws for the Altar that God gives as an "epilogue" to the Assembly at Sinai in Genesis 20:19-23: Whatever v. 20 comes to prohibit, (according to the Midrash cited by Rashi, various misuses of angelic icons are included) it clearly echoes idol worship. Not making the Altar of cut stones (v. 22) "lest you ...


3

Torah Lishma Question 494 concludes that it is not something one should get killed for.


3

Just to note, 'Giluey Arayos' includes two different forms of sin: incest and adultery. They may have different reasons. Most societies (agreed, not all) have held these two acts to be contemptuous or taboo, which may mean that it's an area of morality which should be self-evident, and if it isn't obvious, then you should check your moral intuition. I ...


3

Hirhurim quotes R' J.B. Soleveitchik regarding an earlier event similar to Masada where Josephus' army committed suicide rather than surrender. Josephus, however, survived, surrendered and became a Roman citizen: I would not say that Josephus lacked the courage to commit suicide. From a halakhic point of view, Josephus may not have been permitted to do ...


2

There's a dispute among the rishonim whether one may commit suicide rather than fall into the hands of those who would forcibly convert him to Christianity. See http://web.archive.org/web/20080924092609/http://www.math.wustl.edu/~msh210/crusade/suicide.html for a couple of the sources on this, though there are more. Those rishonim who allow (even laud) ...


2

The kina you're referring to was written to mourn for people who died al kiddush Hashem (I don't think we learn halakha or agadah from kinot). The source in A"Z 18a was written, again, to mourn for martyrs who had already died. We can feel bad for the suffering of those who died and talk about their misery. The Maharam was writing during horrible pogroms ...


1

I recently went to a shiur on this topic after posting this question. The Rabbi said that there is much debate on what the Rambam actually held with regards to this i.e. whether he was writing as a response to the Jews of Fez and their 'coerced conversion' at the hands of the Almohads. The Rambam was writing in response to an unnamed chacham who was ...


1

Okay there are two aspects to the Masadists' actions: Fighting a war when it was absolutely clear they stood no chance of winning. On this, I heard Rabbi Hershel Schachter state that the actions of the Masadists were "shelo birtzon chachamim" -- against the wishes of the Sages -- hence purposely omitted from the Talmud. You only fight a war that you stand ...


1

I would like to suggest that the Maharam is talking about people being thrown in the fire where death is almost instantaneous and is part of the killing. However pain of torture leading up to death is not included in the dying Al Kiddush Hashem (martyrdom) and is therefore painful.



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