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If a Jew committed suicide, what will be the punishment ? Is it the same for a non Jew ?

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    Note: if anyone needs help or someone to talk to, please -- PLEASE -- call 1-800-273-8255. – Shalom Nov 2 '15 at 11:30
  • myjewishlearning.com/article/… – rosends Nov 2 '15 at 11:31
  • Achitopel committed suicide and lost Olam Haba but it's not certain that he lost Olam Haba for that reason, or for the part he had played before in Avshalom's rebellion. – CashCow Nov 2 '15 at 12:08
  • @Danno You should make this an answer. Also it could be like committing murder without being able to suffer punishment by bais din (for both a Jew and a non-Jew). – sabbahillel Nov 2 '15 at 13:53
  • @Shalom , international calls are expensive here in Lebanon, but I will try one day to contact you. I hope you have an application (I don't know if such talk is permissible on mi yodeya) – mil Nov 2 '15 at 18:56
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For a Jew

See the Hebrew Wikipedia entry for מאבד עצמו לדעת

The Oruch Hashulchan Yoreh Deoh 345 (1) says:

"מאבד עצמו לדעת עון גדול הוא, ואין לו חלק לעולם הבא" – someone who commits suicide does a great sin and has no share in the world-to-come.

Rambam, Hilchos Rotzeach 11 (5) says that someone who even puts himself in danger gets מכת מרדות – lashes for transgressing a Rabbinic commandment.

Oruch Hashulchan Yoreh Deoh 345 (2) says about mourning rituals for a suicide:

כל שהוא כבוד חיים – מתעסקין בו. כל שאין כבוד של חיים – אין הרבים מתעסקין עמו לכל דבר

Those observances for the honour of the living are allowed; what is not for the honour of the living, the community do not get involved with.

For a non-Jew

Rabbi Tuvia Bolton at Yeshiva Ohr Tmimim writes about the Seven Noahide Laws and includes suicide under the category of murder.

Rambam in Mishneh Torah, Shoftim, Laws of Kings and their wars  8:11 writes that

Anyone who accepts upon himself the fulfillment of these seven mitzvot and is precise in their observance is considered one of 'the pious among the gentiles' and will merit a share in the world to come. This applies only when he accepts them and fulfills them because the Holy One, blessed be He, commanded them in the Torah and informed us through Moses, our teacher, that Noah's descendants had been commanded to fulfill them previously.

From here it may be inferred that a non-Jew (just like a Jew) does not get a portion in the World to Come if he transgresses by committing suicide.

Rav Cherki mentions observing mourning rituals for Noachides as an honour to the deceased and as a help to the mourners to accept the loss. It seems that by transgressing the prohibition against suicide the deceased has given up his right to be honoured through the mourning rituals.

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First off -- if anyone is considering hurting themselves, please, PLEASE call 1-800-273-8255 (USA, or a hotline in your country) right now. Life is worth living.


Rambam, Laws of the Murderer and Preservation of Life, Chapter 2:

ב,ב אבל השוכר הורג להרוג את חברו, או ששלח עבדיו והרגוהו, או שכפת חברו והניחו לפני הארי וכיוצא בו והרגתו החיה, וכן ההורג את עצמו--כל אחד מאלו שופך דמים הוא, ועוון הריגה בידו; וחייב מיתה לשמיים, ואין בהן מיתת בית דין. ב,ג ומניין שכן הוא הדין: שהרי הוא אומר "שופך דם האדם, באדם דמו יישפך" (בראשית ט,ו), זה ההורג בעצמו שלא על ידי שליח. "ואך את דמכם לנפשותיכם אדרוש" (בראשית ט,ה), זה ההורג עצמו; "מיד כל חיה אדרשנו" (שם), זה המוסר חברו לפני חיה לטורפו; "מיד האדם, מיד איש אחיו--אדרוש, את נפש האדם" (שם), זה השוכר אחרים להרוג את חברו. ובפירוש נאמר בשלושתן לשון דרישה, הרי דינם מסור לשמיים.

[Various cases of murder in the second degree] ... and also one who kills himself ... has spilled blood, and has the sin of murder on their hands; they deserve death in God's eyes, but the courts do not execute them ... what is the source for this? [Genesis 9:5] "however, your own bloods, for your own souls, I shall have a reckoning" -- this means someone who kills themselves ... the language used is "God will have a reckoning", as justice is left to God.

So in short -- God will punish their soul in some severe manner.

Note this commandment was given to Noah, so it's generally assumed to be universal to humanity, not just Jews. (Rambam, Laws of Kings and their Wars Chapter 9 actually lists a few odd cases where the penalty for murder could differ between Jew and non-Jew, but this is not one of them.)

This all assumes a person is doing it with full mental and emotional capacity, e.g. for political or financial reasons. (Which is rare today.) If someone suffers from an emotional disorder, I'm sure God has a different calculus.

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    I would add the obvious caveat that, at least nowadays, generally speaking, those who contemplate or commit suicide suffer from severe mental illness (e.g. depression) which is a mitigating factor ("oness rachmana patrei"). – Loewian Nov 2 '15 at 14:31
  • @Loewian certainly, and that comes up with mourning practices as well. I was somewhat concerned how to write this to prevent the wrong reader from getting bad ideas, God forbid, of "God wants you dead!" – Shalom Nov 2 '15 at 15:15
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    But your words would well be painful if ready by someone grappling with the suicide of someone close to them. I agree with Loewian that your answer could use some reference to "oneis Rachmanah patrei" and noting that since G-d is the only One Who can still judge them, that's really the dominant issue. – Micha Berger Nov 3 '15 at 10:25
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I don't really have an answer, more like a rider on Shalom's or Avraham Yitzchak's answers, but I feel this really needs to appear on this page, alongside the cold theory. It is unfair to those who find this page after losing someone close to them to suicide to not include the following thoughts:

Humans cannot read minds, so human courts judge actions.

Hashem does not have that limitation. He does not judge actions, He assesses people. As in Bereishis 21:17, when Yishma'el is about to die of thirst, and Hashem judges him "ba'asher hu sham -- as he is there." Not for what Yishma'el did, but for what he was.

This is why, as the gemara states, "oneis Rachmana patrei -- the All Merciful doesn't hold one culpable for things done under compulsion." (Nedarim 27a)

Someone who committed suicide is out of the reach of human judgment. So we're talking more about Hashem's judgment, something we cannot assess, because we do not know the state of the person's mind or soul at the time of suicide.

In contemporary practice, we generally assume that the typical suicide was driven to it by a mental state for which they should not be judged. So, despite all the theory and prior practice, they are buried in the usual part of the cemetery, the family is given the opportunity to sit shiv'ah, etc...

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אבל השוכר הורג להרוג את חבירו, או ששלח עבדיו והרגוהו, או שכפת חבירו והניחו לפני הארי וכיוצא בו והרגתו החיה, וכן ההורג את עצמו, כל אחד מאלו שופך דמים הוא ועון הריגה בידו וחייב מיתה לשמים ואין בהן מיתת בית דין. רמב"ם הלכות רוצח ושמירת הנפש פרק ב הלכה ב

It also commonly accepted that a person who commits suicide has no חלק בעולם הבא. See:

שו"ת ציץ אליעזר חלק ז סימן מט - קונ' אבן יעקב פרק א

ואביא לו סייעתא לכך מדברי ספר שו"ת שערי רחמים ח"ב חיו"ד סי' ל"ב (שאני מציין לעיין בדבריו בספרי שם באות ו') שכותב בדיוק בכעין זה להסביר הך דהמאבד עצמו לדעת אין לו חלק לעוה"ב, וז"ל: ועם כי לא ראיתי מפורש כן נ"ל להביא סמוכות לזה ממ"ש הרב תיו"ט ז"ל פ"ג דאבות גבי מלבין פני חבירו ברבים דאין לו חלק לעוה"ב שהביא משם מד"ש שכתב דאיתיה בכלל כי דבר ד' בזה שהרי מבזה חבירו ברבים, והוא ז"ל כתב דהיינו לפי שהאדם נברא בצלם אלקים והרי הוא דברי ד' כלו' ענין ד' וצלמו וכו', וא"כ ה"ה למע"ל =למאבד עצמו לדעת= שמשחית ומאבד צלמו בידו דבכלל כי דבר ד' בזה הוא לפי"ד הרב ז"ל עכ"ל. הרי בדומה ממש לדברי הדר"ג.

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protected by Double AA Nov 2 '15 at 14:17

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