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In Hilchot Mamrim 3a, it states:

מי שאינו מאמין בתורה שבעל פה, אינו זקן ממרא האמור בתורה, אלא הרי הוא בכלל המינים, ומיתתו ביד כל אדם. [ב] מאחר שנתפרסם שהוא כופר בתורה שבעל פה--מורידין ולא מעלין, כשאר המינים והאפיקורוסין והאומרין אין תורה מן השמיים והמוסרים והמשומדים: כל אלו אינן בכלל ישראל, ואינן צריכין לא עדים ולא התראה ולא דיינין; אלא כל ההורג אחד מהן, עשה מצוה גדולה והסיר מכשול.

How should this be understood? If a person (who isn't just ignorant) does not believe in the Torah, is it halachically permitted for anyone to kill them? (Excluding the fact that practically it would be legally forbidden by civil law.) Is it not the case that without a Sanhedrin and warnings, capital punishment is not halachically allowed?

  • And just because it's allowed by halacha means it should be done, chas v'shalom?? – ezra Jul 19 '17 at 5:50
  • @ezra is that not the natural conclusion? Mitzvah gedolah as the Rambam says. – Abraham J. Friedman Jul 19 '17 at 7:45
  • The second half of the opening qualifier is implying someone with deep knowledge of the oral Torah. In other words, they know very well what the Torah teaches and choose not to believe it. That is highly unusual. The Lubavitcher Rebbe is reported to have said such people do not exist in our day. – Yaacov Deane Jul 19 '17 at 11:29
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    @DonielF No problem. That's the benefit of participating in a forum. People learn from each other. טובים השניים מן האחד. – mevaqesh Jan 16 '18 at 3:01
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    I'm confused what you're asking. The Rambam says מיתתו בכל אדם and your question is if he really means it, or is there something else you're asking? – Y     e     z Jan 16 '18 at 4:41
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To answer both questions, the Rambam is written very clearly and precisely. When the Rambam wrote that מורידין ולא מעלין that means that it is a mitzva to kill him, or to prevent his recovery if he is in a position of danger.

of course, unfortunately, we are in golus, and we practically cannot perform this mitzva, as we are not obligated to face capital punishment or even imprisonment or other dangers that come of such activity, in order to perform this mitzva.

As to your question about all capital punishment requiring hasra'a, that is actually not a hard fast rule. But as to our case, the Rambam writes that

כל אלו אינן בכלל ישראל, ואינן צריכין לא עדים ולא התראה ולא דיינין

this means that since idol worshipers and the like are given non-jew status, they do not require hasra'a et al. (non-jews do not require hasra'a for violation of any of the seven Noahide laws.)

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The Rambam is talking specifically about a person that violates the Torah to spite his creator (להכעיס), such a person, according to the rambam's understanding, is looking to undermine the Jewish nation and it is a Mitzvah to cause them death either directly or indirectly (rambam rotzeach 4:10),

אבל מוסרי ישראל והמינים והאפיקורסין מישראל מצוה לאבדן ביד ולהורידן עד באר שחת מפני שהן
מצירין לישראל ומסירין את העם מאחרי ה' כישוע הנוצרי ותלמידיו וצדוק וביתוס ותלמידיהם שם רשעים ירקב
רמב"ם יד החזקה - הלכות עבודת כוכבים פרק י

The Rambam adds that because they cause trouble to the Jewish people there a mitzvah to get rid of them. This might also be the answer to your second question, since they are looking to undermine the Jewish nation we view them as רודפים in which killing them is permitted even without a sanhedrin (since each one of us is viewed as a נרדף). Hope this helps.

  • Do they not believe in the Torah or are they trying to spite God? It is impossible that a person could actually have both qualities at once. How might a person know they are trying to spite God and undermine the Torah, as opposed to someone who studied it and does not believe in it, to know they are a rodeif who could be killed? And if they try to undermine the Torah and convince Jews that it's not true, and that qualifies them as a dangerous rodeif, why would their motives or knowledge be a factor? – Uncle Jul 20 '17 at 3:43
  • @Uncle the rambam has a unique perspective on this. When he says מוסרי ישראל והמינים והאפיקורסין he's most probably talking about Christian Apostates. In those days it was common for them to turn on their brethren and cause lots of trouble, this is part of Jewish history. So regardless of why they don't believe in the Torah they are a threat to the nation of Israel! When i wrote to "spite god" i just meant the term להכעיס which is the opposite of someone who violates the Torah out of weakness of character, such a person is not a threat to us and may not be killed. – Bach Jul 20 '17 at 19:19
  • I think the answer could be improved by citing where Rambam explains that there was a specific danger from apostates and converts causing trouble for the Jews, such that anyone from that class could be killed, and how killing them could actually reduce the trouble Jews faced. Were ex-Jews constantly murdering Jews, or were they spiritually damaging the community? Depending on the trouble, would this be applicable today to, say, Islamic fundamentalists, or to ex-Jews who are still undermining Judaism today and aren't heretics simply due to being raised secular or having some weakness? – Uncle Jul 23 '17 at 1:01
  • How do you know that he is talking about anything להכעיס here? Spite vs desire is a false dichotomy especially in terms of belief which it is discussing here (as opposed to actions or sins). Is he not saying that people who were raised in a religious environment and decided through their own thoughts that the Oral Law is not divine are subject to be thrown into a pit? When he says people who don't believe in the oral law are categorized along with other heretics and those who are not in your nation, on what basis can you say that it only refers to people who cause "trouble"? – Uncle Aug 12 '17 at 23:15
  • @Uncle did you see Rotzeach 4:10? He writes clearly that he is only referring to the ones who does them להכעיס. Please check my sources before you comment on my post! – Bach Aug 14 '17 at 13:32
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You have to read the next two halachot where he writes:

במה דברים אמורים באיש שכפר בתורה שבעל פה במחשבתו ובדברים שנראו לו והלך אחר דעתו הקלה ואחר שרירות לבו וכופר בתורה שבעל פה תחילה כצדוק ובייתוס וכן כל התועים אחריו אבל בני התועים האלה ובני בניהם שהדיחו אותם אבותם ונולדו בין הקראים וגדלו אותם על דעתם הרי הוא כתינוק שנשבה ביניהם וגדלוהו ואינו זריז לאחוז בדרכי המצות שהרי הוא כאנוס ואע"פ ששמע אח"כ [שהוא יהודי וראה היהודים ודתם הרי הוא כאנוס שהרי גדלוהו על טעותם] כך אלו שאמרנו האוחזים בדרכי אבותם הקראים שטעו לפיכך ראוי להחזירן בתשובה ולמשכם בדברי שלום עד שיחזרו לאיתן התורה

To whom does the above apply? To a person who denied the Oral Law consciously, according to his perception of things. He follows after his frivolous thoughts and his capricious heart and denies the Oral Law first, as did Tzadok and Beitus and those who erred in following them.

The children of these errant people and their grandchildren whose parents led them away and they were born among these Karaities and raised according to their conception, they are considered as a children captured and raised by them. Such a child may not be eager to follow the path of mitzvot, for it is as if he was compelled not to. Even if later, he hears that he is Jewish and saw Jews and their faith, he is still considered as one who was compelled against observance, for he was raised according to their mistaken path. This applies to those who we mentioned who follow the erroneous Karaite path of their ancestors. Therefore it is appropriate to motivate them to repent and draw them to the power of the Torah with words of peace. (Chabad.org)

This continuation greatly reduces the applicability of the part that you cited.

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