In light of the recent Charlie Hebdo incident with depictions of Mohammed (and others like), are there any punishments for derogatory depictions of our Jewish prophets and sages (be it in our times or times of yore)?

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    It is forbidden to make derogatory statements unwarranted against anyone. And against righteous people in particular, and talmidei chachamim. Not sure if there is a special rule for prophets as such.
    – CashCow
    Jan 15, 2015 at 16:55
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    unless it's Elisha and you call him a baldie. Then you get eaten by bears
    – CashCow
    Jan 15, 2015 at 16:55
  • @CashCow II Divrei HaYamim 36:16: ויהיו מלעבים במלאכי הא-להים ובוזים דבריו ומתעתעים בנבאיו עד עלות חמת ה' בעמו עד לאין מרפא. T'hillim 105:15: אל תגעו במשיחי ולנביאי אל תרעו. Though navi could be interpreted broadly to include Torah scholars (e.g. Shabbos 119b, ובנביאי אל תרעו אלו ת"ח).
    – Fred
    Jan 15, 2015 at 19:12
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    Highly related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/45629
    – Fred
    Jan 16, 2015 at 5:39
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    And just to clarify what shouldn't need to be clarified: even if the Halachah does warrant some response to a sin, it most definitely does NOT give anyone the right or permission to take matters into their own hand, or start a murderous rampage. Jan 16, 2015 at 17:13

1 Answer 1


The Talmud (Sanhedrin 99b) says that one who is mevazeh a Torah Sage has no place in the World to Come.

Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 334:43) lists this as the first of 24 reasons why a person can be excommunicated, even after the Sage passed away. As discussed in the commentaries there, the Sage has to be of a certain stature for it to reach that point.

I think the reasonable translation of mevazeh is denigrate, or make something despised in people's eyes (compare with Koheles 9:16).

  • +1 beat me to it. I was gonna plug siman 243 siff 6 & 7 though.
    – user6591
    Jan 15, 2015 at 17:51
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    Just to be clear: nowadays (for whatever reasons) formal excommunication is rarely if ever implemented.
    – Double AA
    Jan 15, 2015 at 19:48
  • @DoubleAA, Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/48568/…
    – Yishai
    Jan 15, 2015 at 20:18

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