I am not entirely clear on all of the particulars of the mitzvah of pidyon shivuyim - redeeming Jewish captives. Nor am I positive that someone jailed by a democratic goverment for breaking secular law would be included in the parameters of pidyon shivuyim. However, I have seen many different organizations with Rabbinic support that claim it is incumbent on every Jew to support the efforts to free Jonathan Pollard. I do not know what the halachic basis is for these claims, if any. Nor am I sure if this would fall under a more hazy category of "All Jews are responsible, one for another" or any other Jewish parameter which enjoins one Jew to help another. Therefore I ask:

Does a Jew have an obligation to support, financially or in any other way, efforts to free Jonathan Pollard?


1 Answer 1


Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu Z"L said, in 2007, that it is the true Mitzva of Pidyon Shevuyim to help Jonathan Pollard. This is due to the fact that he endangered himself in order to help the Jewish nation.

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    Could you flesh this out more? What Halachic sources or reasoning does R' Eliyahu use to determine that this Mitzva applies in this case?
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Mar 13, 2013 at 14:40
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    I haven't read the article. Without sources or reasoning, this is a pretty weak answer. The only thing it has going for it is the authority of R' Eliyahu, which is significant, but only helps us as far as knowing his conclusion on this case, in particular, which, by itself, is not very interesting.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Mar 13, 2013 at 14:58
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    ... It is also not even obvious from this answer whether this was, in fact, a Halachic pesak by R' Eliyahu or whether it was an off-the-cuff answer to an interview question or a political speech, either of which would carry much less weight, even given his authority.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Mar 13, 2013 at 15:03
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    @SethJ: As I am not R'Eliyahu I do not know how and what he knows. I do believe that if he feels that what Jonathan Pollard did was in the interest of the Jewish nation - it is proper to trust him - as in Emunas Chachomim. Commented Mar 13, 2013 at 15:08
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    All: Please reread this answer before posting a comment. If your comment helps to clarify the answer, or seeks improvement of it from its poster, go right ahead: that's what comments are for. Otherwise, take it to chat. (I have deleted a bunch of comments.)
    – msh210
    Commented Mar 13, 2013 at 16:59

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