Much like in the case of these questions, I've run into some troublesome reading in Talmudic and other Jewish literature:

Missionary gave me these Talmudic quotes; Does it prove that Goyim are viewed as Animals who should be harassed, and that christians will go to hell?

Is this really in the Talmud?

On killing (?) Christians in Judaism

My main focus has been the interpretations of halacha around the legal views on killing and theft from Gentiles by Jews and vice-versa, primarily rooted in Sanhedrin 57a and its offshoots.

I'm NOT looking to discuss the fundamental matter. I know this is a thorny topic, with much dissent and re-interpretation going on other the centuries. I also understand that most of the laws and interpretations were largely written as the product of eras and communities suffering heavy antisemitic discrimination, plus the matter of the Sanhedrin and Beit Din (and thus the option of the death penalty etc) not actually existing any more, and I know most Jewish leaders opt for more universalist/humanist interpretation and moral application nowadays.

However, whilst looking through Jewish-based resources in order to refute and debunk the kind of accusations these passages tend to garner from antisemites, I'm having trouble accessing some recommended sections.





Each of these pages recommends multiple sources, but I'm having trouble accessing three in particular (partly bc even though I am Jewish myself, my Hebrew is terrible so I'm stuck with English versions) :

  1. Ra’aban on the Gemara Tractate Bava Kama 113a (Can access the tractate on Sefaria, but Ra'aban's commentary doesn't show up)

  2. Mechilta D’Rabi Yishmael, Mishpatim, Masechta D’nezikin, parashah 4 (English Sefaria starts only from chapter 12 and I can't narrow it down)

  3. R. Avraham Yishayahu Karelitz, Chazon Ish, Bava Kamma 10:16 (Nothing shows up except physical copies of the book for sale)

Can anyone please link me (or transcribe) the relevant sections of text, please? And/or recommend a site other than Sefaria, for any future issues?


1 Answer 1



Here's a link to the relevant page on Hebrewbooks. It's near the bottom of the first paragraph on the left-hand column.

"דהאמר שמואל (חולין צ"ד.) אסור לגנוב דעת הבריות ואפילו דעתו של גוי [...] וכ"ש שאסור לגנוב לגוי דלא תגנוב דומיא דלא תרצח ולא תנאף דהוי בין לישראל בין לגוי."

My translation: "After all, Shmuel said (Chullin 94a) that one cannot deceive people, even a non-Jew [...] and all the more so that one cannot steal from a non-Jew, since 'Thou shalt not steal' is similar to 'Thou shalt not murder' and 'Thou shalt not commit adultery' whether a Jew or a non-Jew."


Sefaria does in fact have the section you're looking for (Mechilta 21:14):

""a man" — to exclude a minor (who killed); "a man" — to include others (i.e., gentiles who killed); "his neighbor" — to include (his killing) a minor; "his neighbor" — to exclude (his killing) others. Issi b. Akiva says: Before the giving of the Torah, we were exhorted against the spilling of blood (of gentiles). After the giving of the Torah, instead of being more stringent, shall we be more lenient? In truth, they said: He (one who kills a gentile) is exempt from the laws of flesh and blood, but his judgment is relegated to Heaven. (Exodus, Ibid.) "to kill him with subtlety": to exclude a deaf-mute, an imbecile, and a minor, who are not "subtle.""

I'm guessing you misunderstood how the Mechilta works. The Mechilta, as we have it, only starts from Exodus ch. 12. The Mechilta (already within the ancient manuscripts) is divided into sections called 'masechtot' (tractates), and each tractate is divided into subsections. The reference you found was to the fourth subsection of Masechta/Tractate D'Nezikin, not to Exodus ch. 4. A recommendation for future searches on Sefaria: Search for the verse and then check out the linked sources. In the midrash section you should be able to see whether there's a Mechilta D'Rabbi Yishmael midrash on the verse.

If you want a different translation, you can access the Lauterbach edition via the National Library of Israel here (though likely you'll have to create an account (for free) on the site to access the link to the ebook of the text).

Chazon Ish:

Here's a link to the relevant page on Hebrewbooks. It's at the end of the square brackets at the end of the second paragraph on the right-hand column:

"...אבל לדידן שאנו מוזהרים שלא להרוג ב"נ ששומר ז' מצוות ואנו צריכים עדים כשרים לדונם א"כ לא סגי לן בע"א."

My translation: "...but for us, being as we are warned not to kill a Noachide that keeps the seven commandments and we need legitimate witnesses to judge them, one witness does not suffice."

A final note: Too few Jewish books have been translated into English, and even less are available for free online, so there isn't much to recommend (nor is it a good idea to expect to find a translation readily available). Some books might be available via the NLI website, or you can try checking out the Internet Archive. On a rare occasion, you might find that WorldCat has a link to a website that holds an ebook version of a book you're looking for and provides free access. If you happen to be affiliated with an academic institution, you might have access to more sources.

  • Thankyou. Those are very helpful. Frustratingly, all of them indicate leaving the judgement of a Jew who kills a (Noahide) Gentile 'up to the hand of Heaven'. I've seen it claimed that this means a Beth Din had no jurisdiction over cases involving Gentiles... but in contrast a Gentile can be tried in a Jewish court AND we apparently shouldn't hand over a Jew to a Gentile court (if he will lose). Can't find that some other non-death punishment applies either. Is there ANY halachic text specifying that a Jew who murders a (Noahide/righteous) Gentile IS to be punished in a human court?
    – ANH
    Apr 14, 2023 at 1:17
  • @ANH I'm not sure all of the sources explicitly refer to Noachide non-Jews. As for your question, I recommend writing it as a new question on the site.
    – Harel13
    Apr 14, 2023 at 10:57
  • With regards to Noahide, I'm basing that likelihood on info from here: library.yctorah.org/2016/07/… Especially since 'resident alien' in hypothetical-Messianic-Israel implies Noahide. The other sources I followed (from the talmud.faithweb.com and Aish.com articles) mostly made references to Noahides, so the same seems likely here. If there's nothing confirming court punishment for a Jew killing a righteous Gentile, I doubt I'll find any such thing for killing idolatrous ones.
    – ANH
    Apr 14, 2023 at 11:39
  • don't worry, if he kills a Jew he's likely not to be liable by court either. The rules to be liable to the death penalty are pretty hard to fulfill unles you want to. I see there's a piece in Maharal's Beer HaGola (second Be'er) discussing why the courts are so limited in so many areas, but I'll leave that to someone experienced in reading Maharal. He does make the point that the courts are not meant to bring total, perfect , justice, that no human can do. In the end, it's all up to the Heavenly court
    – Saon
    Aug 16, 2023 at 19:12

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