Does a person endangering others inherently* have a Din of a Rodef?

Related: Is a speeding driver who causes damage exempt from paying due to his status as a Roidef?

*Leave aside for purposes of the question someone acting out orders of a proper Beith Din or a soldier in combat.

  • 1
    How specific are you looking for? Like what if I hold two guns at two people and only one is loaded but I don't know which one. Is that a specific target?
    – Double AA
    Aug 15, 2012 at 17:56
  • Also, how do you mean "target" - does that require intent? If so, neither a mosquito nor a fetus cannot be considered a rodef. Aug 15, 2012 at 18:59
  • DoubleAA and @CharlesKoppelman, clearer now?
    – Seth J
    Aug 15, 2012 at 19:08
  • yup, much clearer Aug 15, 2012 at 19:18
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    @msh210 As opposed to it depending on additional criteria. Does being a danger make a person a Rodef?
    – Seth J
    Aug 17, 2012 at 12:14

1 Answer 1


The Gemoro in Sanhedrin says even a fetus can be considered a Roidef to its mother, so we see that without intent one is still a Roidef. We can also assume that not every Roidef that chases would win the fight and nevertheless forfeits his life just by trying. There is no Halacha that if he only has a 25% chance of killing his victim he is not a Roidef, so we see there is no need of certainty of fatality to the victim.

  • Every fetus is a danger to its mother, so we see that it is s matter of degree of danger or likelihood of fatality.
    – Seth J
    Aug 16, 2012 at 12:28
  • @SethJ that fetus was brought to bring proof for killing without intent. Read again
    – Yehuda
    Aug 16, 2012 at 12:54
  • I'm aware of the Gemara. But your conclusion is faulty. If the Colorado theater shooter had fired a single round instead of hundreds, would he have been a Rodef? What if he had not fired the gun at all? Would having it there and looking like he was going to fire make him a Rodef? What if someone is celebrating July 4th by shooting his gun in the air? What goes up must come down, and people have been hit by stray bullets fired into the air. Does that mean someone who fires the bullets into the air is a Rodef?
    – Seth J
    Aug 16, 2012 at 14:52
  • @sethj one may kill a roidef if there is legitimate reason to suspect a chance of danger. Once he has din Roidef he may be killed. whats so hard to understand?
    – Yehuda
    Aug 16, 2012 at 18:26
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    There are other aspects to consider, but yes, that's a big part of my question.
    – Seth J
    Aug 16, 2012 at 19:15

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