Ben Shapiro, an Orthodox Jew from america, is pro guns. And because he is Jewish, I wondered how violence is treated in judaism (with cites/quotes please).

Because in Christianity, everything at the core comes down to a life with no violence (no matter under what circumstances) - as what you sow you will reap. And if you want to reap only good things, you also have to love those which are your enemies - which is suggested in the bible.

So back to the question: Does the Talmud say anything about when violence is allowed or that one is not allowed to practice violence whatsoever?

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    Then Judaism doesn't believe in this. Judaism believes in the sanctity of life. If someone comes to kill you, you are authorized to kill him first. See for instance en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodef – mbloch Oct 13 '18 at 16:38
  • @mbloch Is there still a reason for my downvote? – watchme Oct 13 '18 at 16:43
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    First para is irrelevant. Second para is mostly wrong and lacks reference (remember the Jewish bible is also the Christian bible - so references would be highly relevant to answer your own question). All in all question could use more thought if you ask me. – mbloch Oct 13 '18 at 16:45
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    Many many religious Christian Americans are pro guns too. – Double AA Oct 14 '18 at 0:35
  • Sigh. How many times must we go through this? Alternate religion motivated != comparative religion. Please read the full close reason before voting to close, people. This is entirely on-topic, as the question is simply asking for Judaism’s view on self-defense. – DonielF Oct 14 '18 at 18:20

Our general approach is that violence is a negative behavior, which IS allowed against another negative behavior (minus times minus equals plus):

  1. Sanhedrin 58b מגביה עבדו שבת סימן: אמר ריש לקיש המגביה ידו על חבירו אע"פ שלא הכהו נקרא רשע שנאמר ויאמר לרשע למה תכה רעך למה הכית לא נאמר אלא למה תכה אף על פי שלא הכהו נקרא רשע
    "Reish Lakish says: One who raises his hand to strike another, even if he ultimately does not strike him, is called wicked, as it is stated: “And two men of the Hebrews were struggling with each other, and he said to the wicked one: Why should you strike your friend?” (Exodus 2:13). The phrase: Why did you strike, is not stated, but rather: “Why should you strike,” indicating that one who raised his hand to strike another, even if he ultimately did not strike him, is called wicked."

  2. Stoning or killing a transgressor (idolatry, adultery, Shabbat offenders, ritual purity etc) is a common commandment.

  3. Killing a predator (Rodef) or a robber is allowed.

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    (For OP) - #3 is esp. important to understand (not to ignore the other 2). Numerous Christians mistranslate the Hebrew of the 6th Commandment as "Do not kill." Thus, I hear numerous situations when devout Christians forgive people who murdered a family member. I admire their ability to forgive, but that's absolutely not what the 6th commandment states. It says, "Do not murder." One is allowed, moreso, required to defend his own life first. If someone attempts to kill you, you are allowed to kill him first. Conversely, Judaism requires death for a murderer, and not even to take bribes 4 it. – DanF Oct 14 '18 at 2:21
  • Killing a robber is only allowed if he comes in at night... – chacham Nisan Oct 14 '18 at 15:04
  • @chachamNisan what does "night" mean? Drasha? :) – David Kenner Oct 14 '18 at 16:56
  • @DavidKenner In this case, no. The reasoning is the thief knows someone's home and willing to fight back, if found; so we assume he has a knife since he could make a clean getaway in the thick of the night(which means darkness, not necessary tzet). There's a disagreement if you can kill him if you can handicap him, though. I think the source is in Bava Metzia. CYLOR to be sure. – chacham Nisan Oct 14 '18 at 17:26
  • @chachamNisan You pasken the Raavad against the Rambam? – DonielF Oct 14 '18 at 17:37

Judaism has reduced endorsement of violence through history. Examples:

-No retaliation in kind: An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth [Ex. 21:23-5; Lev 24:20, Deut. 19:21] has always been interpreted as monetary compensation. [Baba Kamma 83b-84a]

-The death penalty has not been applied since 30 CE. Talmud requires two observant independent eyewitnesses, unrelated to accused or each other, prior instruction to accused, etc. Mishna [Makkot 7a]: A court that sentences one person to death in 7 years is a bloody court. No, once in 70 years. Rambam: It is better… to acquit a thousand guilty persons than to put a single innocent one to death. [Sefer Hamitzvot, negative commandment 290]

-Flogging fell into disuse in Middle Ages, replaced by monetary fines [Luria, Yam shel Shlomoh, BK 8:48]

-Discretionary war (milchemet reshut) requires permission of Sanhedrin (not king alone) and we have no Sanhedrin today. Always seek a just peace before waging war [Deut. 20:10]; minimize injury to noncombatants or property; to besiege a city, surround it on only 3 sides to allow escape path; do not destroy fruit trees (Deut. 20:19,20), or break vessels, or tear clothing, or wreck that which is built up, or stop fountains, or destoy food, or kill animals needlessly; be lenient towards enemy after victory

-Non-Jewish tribute to Jewish non-violence: Jean-Paul Sartre: "The Jews are the mildest of men, passionately hostile to violence. That obstinate sweetness which they conserve in the midst of the most atrocious persecution, that sense of justice and of reason which they put up as their sole defense against a hostile, brutal, and unjust society, is perhaps the best part of the message they bring to us and the true mark of their greatness." [1946, Reflexions sur la question juive]

Finally, I remember a stand-up comic telling us how various ethnic groups react to being mugged in a dark alley in New York. “Jews: ‘You mess with me and I’ll sue your tail!’” :-)

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  • THe question was about the Talmud. All the reasons you brought are circumstantial, we didn't cancel or invalidate it, we do not currently have an authority. Justice is not violence. Killing a transgressor is not an act of violence. You didn't mention all the things we ARE allowed, e.g. killing a Nochri for stealing less than a pruta without a Bais Din. – Al Berko Oct 14 '18 at 19:10

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