The Gemara in Shabbos 55b and Bava Basra 17a quotes a baraisa that says:

There were four who died because of the advice of the snake and never commited a sin. They are the following: Binyamin the son of Yaakov, Amram the father of Moshe, Yishai the father of David, and Kilav the son of David.

Amram- Heard a story from Midrash, when Pharoah passed a decree to kill all male babies when they were born, Amram divorced Yocheved in fear of giving brith to a male baby and he would be killed, since he was a leader at that time, his followers too did the same thing. Later by Miriam's advice he remarried Yocheved. So is this act of Amram - giving divorce - the seperation of husband and wife - wasn't considered a sin? Did he not lack faith in Hashem and did so?

Yishai - Coming to Yishai father of David, there was a long story regarding Kind David's birth. Due to the unawareness of Nitzevet's pregnancy of David, but having compassion on her, Yishai ordered his sons not to touch her. “Do not kill her! Instead, let the child that will be born be treated as a lowly, and despised servant. How come a Tzaddik like Yishai order a harsh decree on an innocent child, who was not born yet? As we can see in the Psalm 69, the agony of King David, he passionately gives voice to the heaviest burdens of His soul, he says "he has become a stranger to his brothers", why was Yishai silent when the innocent David is being treated so ruthless, is this not considered a sin for Yishai? Being in a such higher level how could he do this?

Binyamin- The Talmud lists seven people whose deaths were not due to sin, but from G‑d Himself, and as such, their bodies do not rot in their graves. Elsewhere, we are told of four people whose deaths were solely due to the Primordial Sin and not to any shortcoming of their own. Benjamin is on both lists.

I was just curious to know about Binyamin...coz i cannot find any stories regarding him...want to know why he was considered so righteous? Can i find anything about his character from Oral Torah?

Kilav - Nothing much said about him...he was identified as a son born to David and Abigael. Berakhot 4a:11-13 - "He was exceedingly wise". I got a question here...If he was wise and sinless why did Solomnon become King after David and not him. So then i got to know that he died very young...and there is an opinion may be he died before his Father. My question is if Kilav was innocent and blameless why didn't he live a long life? What made him to die so young? One might answer "may be God wanted to take him to the Gan Eden because of his merit!" - But my opinion is - Olam Haze needs the light of the righteous and not Olam Haba...it would be good to remain righteous live in this world a long term of life so that they can bring more light and enlighten many people.

  • וְכִי בִּנְיָמִין צַדִּיק הֲוָה, אִין. דְּכָל יוֹמוֹי לָא חָטָא בְּהַאי אָת קַיָּימָא, וְאַף עַל גַּב דְּלָא אִזְדַּמַּן לֵיהּ עוֹבָדָא כְּיוֹסֵף. אִי הָכִי, אַמַּאי אִקְרֵי צַדִּיק. אֶלָּא כָּל יוֹמוֹי דְיַעֲקֹב הֲוָה בְּאֶבְלָא דְיוֹסֵף, לָא שִׁמֵּשׁ עַרְסֵיהּ. וְאִי תֵימָא דְּכַד אִתְנְטִיל יוֹסֵף מִיַּעֲקֹב, רַבְיָא הֲוָה וְלָא נְסִיב. וְאַתְּ אֲמַרְתְּ דְּלָא שִׁמֵּשׁ עַרְסֵיהּ, אֶלָּא אַף עַל גַּב דְּאִזְדַּוַּוג לְבָתַר לָא בָעָא לְשַׁמְּשָׁא עַרְסֵיהּ. sefaria.org/Zohar,_Vayetzei_17.135
    – אילפא
    Aug 28, 2023 at 18:22
  • Could anyone please translate this...i can't understand. Aug 30, 2023 at 5:50
  • zohar.com/zohar/Vayetze/chapters/17 look at number 135
    – אילפא
    Aug 30, 2023 at 11:20

2 Answers 2


So with regard to Binyamin there are a few source that speak of his greatness...

  • Midrash Tehillim/Shocher Tov 15 - "לא רגל על לשונו. זה בנימין שהיה יודע במכירתו של יוסף "ולא גילה לאביו - "And to not speak ill of one's neighbor. This is Binyamin, who knew of Yosef's sale and did not reveal it to his father.
  • Zohar 1:259a - When Yosef was sold to Egypt, Binyomin took his spiritual place
  • Megillah 26a - A strip of land issued forth from the portion of Judah and entered into the portion of Binyamin, and upon that strip the altar was built, and the tribe of Binyamin, the righteous, would agonize over it every day desiring to absorb it into its portion, due to its unique sanctity, as it is stated in Moshe's blessing to Binyamin: “He covers it throughout the day, and he dwells between his shoulders” (Devarim 33:12). The phrase “covers it” is understood to mean that Binyamin is continually focused upon that site. Therefore, Benjamin was privileged by becoming the host [ushpizekhan] of the Divine Presence, as the Holy of Holies was built in his portion.
  • "And to not speak ill of one's neighbor. This is Binyamin, who knew of Yosef's sale and did not reveal it to his father. Is this considered as a good deed? Why didn't he reveal it to his father who was mourning and comfort him? Why did't try to reprove his brothers for doing so? Aug 30, 2023 at 5:38

Here is a principle we can use, according to Rabbi Yochanan:

Sanhedrin 108a:

(בראשית ו, ט) אלה תולדות נח [נח איש צדיק תמים היה בדורותיו] א"ר יוחנן בדורותיו ולא בדורות אחרים וריש לקיש אמר בדורותיו כ"ש בדורות אחרים

“These are the generations of Noah; Noah was a righteous man, and wholehearted in his generations” (Genesis 6:9), Rabbi Yoḥanan says: of his generation, but not of other generations.

The Torah is just, and justice demands that we judge people correctly, taking all extenuating circumstances into account. One important extenuating circumstance, brought here by Rabbi Yochanan, is the extenuating circumstance of judging someone according to the standards of his own generation, not the standards of future generations. Therefore, in this case, Noach was a Tzaddik compared to the generation of the flood, not Abraham's generation.

A stronger question is that Amram committed bona fide sins. He married his aunt, and when they were briefly divorced, she remarried in the interim, which is forbidden. So the answer brought to this supports the answer we are giving: it is brought by Ramban, Chizkuni et al. that that was before the Torah was given, so those sins are not taken into account.

If so, why were there not more than 4 on this list?

The Penei Yehoshua answers that it's not that they didn't sin at all in their life, but any sin they committed, they atoned for and therefore didn't need to die for.

  • Who else should be on the list?
    – Shlomy
    Aug 29, 2023 at 1:14
  • @Shlomy many people before matan Torah
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Aug 29, 2023 at 6:39
  • Who said they didn't sin? (The pnei yehushua was answering a different question there)
    – Shlomy
    Aug 29, 2023 at 12:47
  • @Shlomy It is an intuitive answer. We initially show that the first route to solving the kashe is saying that these sins didn't count. This route doesn't seem very satisfactory, so we answer in a different way; they did perfect teshuva/had a perfect kappara.
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Aug 29, 2023 at 13:22
  • Why is that a bad route? People can still sin before matan torah. Just the aveiros that weren't given yet weren't considered a sin
    – Shlomy
    Aug 29, 2023 at 18:18

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