In US law, criminal conspiracy is a crime. (See below for definition.)

Is there a similar concept in halacha and, if so, under what circumstances and how does it work (e.g., when is it a crime and what is the punishment)? In short, is conspiracy to sin a crime even if the planned sin/crime never came to pass?

Under US law, the web tells us: A criminal conspiracy is an agreement to commit an unlawful act. The agreement itself is the crime, but at least one co-conspirator must take an “overt act” (not necessarily criminal in itself) in furtherance of the conspiracy. For example see http://www.mololamken.com/news-knowledge-14.html or https://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-charges/conspiracy.html

  • לא תהיה אחרי רבים לרעות
    – Heshy
    Aug 30, 2019 at 13:19
  • @Heshy What is your point?
    – Yehuda W
    Aug 30, 2019 at 13:55
  • 1
    Are you asking if conspiracy to sin a crime in general or if any particular sins are conspiracy like?
    – Double AA
    Aug 30, 2019 at 14:52
  • @DoubleAA. Yes, is conspiracy to sin a crime?
    – Yehuda W
    Aug 30, 2019 at 17:19
  • 1
    Would you count a massis, the one who says "let us serve other gods"? He gets stoned.
    – Mordechai
    Aug 31, 2019 at 21:09

1 Answer 1


The Rambam discusses cases which I believe are what you call conspiracy (MT Rotzeach uShmirat Nefesh 2:2)

But a person who hires a murderer to kill a colleague, one who sends his servants and they kill him, one who binds a colleague and leaves him before a lion or the like and the beast kills him, and a person who commits suicide are all considered to be shedders of blood; the sin of bloodshed is upon their hands, and they are liable for death at the hands of God. They are not, however, liable for execution by the court.

Then in 2:4

When a Jewish king desires to slay any of these murderers and the like - who are not liable for execution by the court - by virtue of his regal authority, in order to perfect society, he has the license.

Similarly, if the court desires to execute them as a result of a immediate fiat, because this was required at the time, they have the license to do as they see fit.

and 2:5

If the king did not execute them, nor did the court deem the time as such to require strengthening the strictures against murder, it should nevertheless have the murderer beaten with severe blows - so that he is on the verge of death - and imprisoned, deprived and afflicted with all types of discomfort in order to strike fear and awe into the hearts of other wicked men, so that this death should not be a stumbling block and a snag for them, causing them to say: "Let me arrange to have my enemies killed the way so-and-so did, and I will not suffer the consequences."

  • 2
    In your first example, what if the murder never took place? Is planning the murder a crime in itself?
    – Yehuda W
    Aug 30, 2019 at 17:23
  • The language of the Rambam is that there needs to be a criminal action. I do not believe one is liable to plan to murder without action. In general, Judaism judges actions not thoughts or plans
    – mbloch
    Sep 1, 2019 at 3:13

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