According to sforim chitsoynim, Matisyahu murdered an unarmed villager in Modin. I believe this tale is repeated in Rabbinic sources, perhaps the Medrash, because I was taught it in Yeshiva. My question is what right Matisyahu had to murder the villager in cold blood. Even if he was chayav miso, wouldn't you need a full besdin to judge dinei nefashos?

  • The villager was not innocent. He was offering a sacrifice to an idol, in a blatant act of avodah zarah. The penalty is death. So Matisyahu struck him down. Simple as that. – ezra Dec 15 '17 at 22:57
  • @ezra "wouldn't you need a full besdin to judge dinei nefashos?" – Double AA Dec 16 '17 at 23:20
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    I Macabees (2:26) compares the actions of Mattityahu to those of Pinhas who killed Zimri (Numbers 25:7). For a discussion of the actions of Pinhas in light of halakha, see here. Notably, although it appears that according to the Talmud, the actions in question likely weren't included in the cases under the rubric of Pinhas's extrajudicial killings, they may well be included in other halakhic categories of extrajudicial killing (see the link). – mevaqesh Dec 17 '17 at 0:20
  • @DoubleAA It's a question of "avid inish dina l'nafsheh" versus "lo avid inish dina l'nafsheh"; there's a machlokes in Bava Kamma 28 about it, although there's no maskanah. If I remember correctly, though, the Tur and Shulchan Aruch discuss and rule that it is permissable to take the law into your own hands, avid inish dina l'nafsheh. – ezra Dec 17 '17 at 6:08
  • @ezra so you agree it's not as simple as what you said – Double AA Dec 17 '17 at 12:57

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