I know that out of desperation Moshe asks God to kill him and I don't necessarily see any reason it would be forbidden but I was curious if there was any discussion, halachic or otherwise, as to whether or not someone may request that God kill him.

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    A source for "out of desperation Moshe asks God to kill him" would improve your question.
    – msh210
    May 27, 2013 at 0:32
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    @msh210 mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0411.htm#15 i assume
    – Double AA
    May 27, 2013 at 0:45
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    Relevant article: Praying for one to die May 27, 2013 at 3:06
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    the Talmud brings down that the Rabbis prayed for the death of Rabbi Yochanan as an act of mercy. (after the death of Reish Lekish, his chavrusa, he could not go on living, as there was noone at a sufficient level to learn with him. did Iyov pray for his death?
    – ray
    May 27, 2013 at 7:59
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    Yonah also asked God to kill him after the death of his Kikayon plant.
    – Daniel
    Jun 24, 2013 at 19:01

3 Answers 3


This definitely isn't a halakhic answer, but there is a remarkable story about the Klausenberger Rebbe: when he was in Auschwitz and Muldorf he prayed for death, and then after the war he did teshuvah.

Variants of this story appear on the Yad Vashem website and in the biography "Lapid ha-Aish", written by Aharon Surasky and translated into English by Judah Lifschitz as "The Klausenberger Rebbe".


Choni HaMagel does exactly that in Taanis 23a. Since he was one of the gedolei hador I would assume it is ok

  • Welcome to MiYodeya. This answer would be better with more context. The story on the page you cited said that Choni slept for 70 years. When he woke up, no ne believed it was hin, and denied him approprite honors. That led him to be depressed and ask for death. Josephus, however, said Choni ws killed during the fratricidal warfare between Chashmonai brothers Aristobulus and Horkenus. He refused to take sides and begged for peace. They stoned him. Josephus Ant. 14-22. Jan 3, 2014 at 2:08
  • @BruceJames see the maharsha on that gemarah who cites josephus (or perhaps the later yossipun) and resolves the discrepancy by saying that though they did stone him he ran away and they assumed he was dead because of the ensuing story about him sleeping for 70 years. Jan 3, 2014 at 3:51

While not a direct halachic source, we often learn halachot from the behavior of righteous people in Tanach; several, including prophets such as Yona (4:3)and Eliyahua (1 Melachim 19:4), as well as Iyov (6:9, passim) asked God to kill them. I am not aware of this being viewed as a sin by any of the commentaries or chazal (I understand that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but it does make a strong case).

  • Actually, the hassidic rebbe, R. Leiner ("The Izhbitzer") censured such behavior [and prayer] like that of Yona and Eliyahu in a novel interpretation of Deut. 17:1 (here).
    – Oliver
    Jul 29, 2018 at 4:16

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