We are told by the Gemoro Sanhedrin 72A (brought by Rashi on Devorim 21:18) that the Ben Sorer is killed because the Torah foresees that he will eventually kill somebody. However the Rambam rules (Mamrim 7:8) that the parents can absolve the child's death penalty if they desire.

What gives them the right to do sacrifice the life of the future murder victim!?

I've seen an answer in the name of the Sochatchover Gaon (haven't found it inside yet) that if there are caring parents then the Torah knows that the wayward child will correct his ways. I'm looking for a different answer. Thanks

  • Just to clarify the premise of the question. Presumably, the parents feel their child won't be a murderer (most parents can't imagine their children killing another). Why is that called sacrificing the life of another? You're saying they're supposed to abandon their firsthand knowledge of their son because he fulfilled the Torah's criteria for Ben sorer, and that's Hashem's way of showing that someone is definitely going to die because of their son? By not doing so, they're responsible for the death of someone? – robev Jul 5 '20 at 3:13
  • Maybe the Torah is telling us that he will become a killer, so execute him now, but not that he'll actually successfully kill anyone. Why then is it considered the parents sacrificing someone else's life? – robev Jul 5 '20 at 14:45

The gemorah has a right to be as strict as it wants without having to justify it because on the previous daf it says that a Ben Sorer Umoreh never happened and will never happen. The criteria mentioned there is so specific that it just isn't possible. So the gemara can afford to go beyond what one normally would have expected otherwise. It's academic "דרוש וקבל שכר"

  • 3
    If the Gemara is allowed to do stupid things for no reason because it doesn't matter, then why not also make up rules like the kid must have worn red shirts only on Tuesdays? Seems more likely the Gemara only does reasonable things for good reasons. (And anyway this doesn't answer for the opinion there that it can and did happen, since it is a machloket after all.) – Double AA Jul 5 '20 at 13:55

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