In the beginning of Parshas Ki Seitzei we learn about the topic of אשה יפת תואר (Deutoronomy 21:10-15).

My question is: does this passage apply (in any way) to us nowadays ?

  • Why might you think it doesn't apply? – Double AA Feb 23 '16 at 16:56
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    @DoubleAA Since we have no Sanhedrin or Melech to allow us to go to war, and since the current rules of war do not allow prisoners of this type, how would it apply? – sabbahillel Feb 23 '16 at 17:06
  • @sabbahillel Since when do we need a Sanhedrin or Melech to allow us to go to war? Dina deMalchuta is an interesting tact to take, but it could still have NM Bedieved or something. – Double AA Feb 23 '16 at 17:07

Sefer Hachinuch Mitsvath 532:

ונוהגת מצוה זו בזמן שישראל על אדמתן, כי אז היתה להם רשות ויכלת בידם להלחם. והעובר על זה ולא עשה המעשים שזכרנו בטל עשה זה.

This commandment is practicable in time that Israel are in her Country (I am not absolutely sure that is realy the case up to day...).
This is in Milhemeth Hareshuth (following Rashi in Humash following the Sifrey). What is Milchemeth Hareshuth?
Gemara Berachoth (3B):

כיון שעלה עמוד השחר נכנסו חכמי ישראל אצלו אמרו לו אדונינו המלך עמך ישראל צריכין פרנסה אמר להם לכו והתפרנסו זה מזה אמרו לו אין הקומץ משביע את הארי ואין הבור מתמלא מחוליתו אמר להם לכו ופשטו ידיכם בגדוד מיד יועצים באחיתופל ונמלכין בסנהדרין ושואלין באורים ותומים

It seem's that we need a King, a General, a Sanhedrin, the Urim veTumim. we do not benefit from all these beautiful thing nowadays. No Yefath Toar. "אז לא יאכלו לא נבלות ולא תמותות שחותות"(paraphrasing Kidushin 22A)

We find two texts in Hazal that show that this is Milchemeth Hareshuth. The Sifrey reported by Rashi and The Gemara Sotah 35B:

ושבית שביו לרבות כנענים שבחוצה לארץ

The Gemara says that the fact that we take captive lead obviously to understand that the verse spoke on Hutsa Laarets ( the subject of this Gemara is not the yefat toar but it is our verse).
But as DoubleAA teach me, the Rambam and his follower the Hinuch do not mentioned this precision (See Minhath Hinuch 532). How does the Rambam counter this references? But anyway, In Milchemeth Mitsva the king doesn't need the permission of the Sanhedrin. Mishnayoth (2, 4):

וּמוֹצִיא לְמִלְחֶמֶת הָרְשׁוּת עַל פִּי בֵית דִּין שֶׁל שִׁבְעִים וְאֶחָד

For an optional war he needs the permission of the Sanhedrin of 71 judges.

And Rambam deduced (Melachim (5, 2)):

מלחמת מצוה אינו צריך ליטול בה רשות בית דין

In Milhemeth Mitsva that is not the case.
But we have no king. (I don't know if the fact that we have no and we will not have the 7 Amamim change the status of Milchemeth Mitsva.)

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Here are two halachic answers (1, 2) that say that this law applies these days but in any ordinary case one may not act on it because of two main reasons:

  • The current laws of war, which do not allow this conduct, are agreed to by Jewish leaders.
  • It would cause a great chillul Hashem.
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