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Questions tagged [capital-punishment]

Questions pertaining to capital-punishment according to Jewish law.

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1 answer
114 views

Is a married rape victim to be put to death according to Deuteronomy 22:22?

I asked this on the Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange, but I would also appreciate your input greatly. Deuteronomy 22:22 states: If a man is found lying with the wife of another man, both of them ...
-2 votes
0 answers
46 views

May the King execute by a method other than decapitation today?

Rambam says in Melakim uMilkhamot: וְאֵין לַמֶּלֶךְ רְשׁוּת לַהֲרֹג אֶלָּא בְּסַיִף בִּלְבַד The King may only execute by sword What's the source for Rambam's codification? Does this hold today?
2 votes
1 answer
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Source for אין מזהירין מן הדין

The Gemara has a rule, אין מזהירין ואין עונשין מן הדין - we do not warn (source a negative commandment) or punish (source for the punishment of a negative commandment) from the logic of a קל וחומר. ...
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1 answer
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Was a "rebellious son" ever executed?

The Torah tells us that a rebellious son (בֵּ֚ן סוֹרֵ֣ר וּמוֹרֶ֔ה) must be put to death. [Deuteronomy 21:18-21] The Talmud [Sanhedrin 71a] says: "This never happened and never will." But ...
1 vote
2 answers
239 views

Can/should anyone kill a mored b'malchut?

If someone is found to have rebelled against the king (mored b'malchut), by say directly disobeying a king's order, does the rebel need to have the crime adjudicated in court or can (should?) anyone ...
2 votes
1 answer
39 views

Was Yehonatan a mored b'malchut?

In Shmuel 19:1 Shaul, the king, clearly gives instructions to kill David, which he reinforces even after swearing not to kill David (v.6) by sending soldiers to kill David and even going himself to do ...
2 votes
1 answer
196 views

How does halacha deal with idolatrous parents?

Query coming from some of the answers to this question: How should one prioritize honoring parents in comparison with other laws? 'Rabbi Eliezer was asked: “How far does the honor of parents [extend]”?...
6 votes
2 answers
306 views

Capital punishment in Persia

This is not a Purim joke. Translations of the Book of Esther say the king sentenced people to be "hanged". But modern translations (including Sefaria) say they were "impaled". They translate "ha-...
4 votes
5 answers
310 views

Let's Kill Hitler

There is a popular moral question - if you had access to a time machine that was capable of allowing you to do so, should you go back in time and kill Hitler when he was a child, before he had a ...
4 votes
1 answer
182 views

How did the altar indicate that the sons of Shaul were to be killed?

In Yerushalmi Sanhedrin 6:7 (also found in bYevamot 79a with an alternate girsa) King David uses the altar to indicate which of Shaul's son's should be given over to the Gibeonim. אמר להן הריני ...
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Punishments for certain ervahs

This table below is from a chumash from the parsha Acharei. It is shown that a union with a sister is punished by lashes, if it was intentional plus witnessed plus a warning. I think the punishment ...
11 votes
2 answers
328 views

Looking for a particular idea from Reb Yonason Eibshitz

I recall reading a quote from Reb Yonason Eibshitz concerning a judge on a beis din of 23 faced with a strange situation. The defendant seems to the judge to be guilty of murder, but this judge is the ...
5 votes
2 answers
359 views

Rabbinical violations that are punishable by death?

Are there any rabbinical violations that carry the punishment of kareit (or other death penalty)? I'm wondering because of this answer--which suggests that the prohibition on relations with a non-...
1 vote
1 answer
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Caret for an intentional Sin punishable by Death when there are no witnesses

We know that Sins punishable by death are punished when there are witnesses and warning. We also know that when there are no witnesses, but the sin is made intentionally, the punishment is Caret (1). ...
1 vote
1 answer
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What was the minimum age to receive the death penalty?

When it was a possibility, what was the minimum age to receive the death penalty? Was it 13?
4 votes
3 answers
228 views

What were Bar Kochba's sins?

In his answer to the question Is there any evidence that Rabbi Akiva's students fought with Bar Kochba, Jake cites Yerushalmi Taanit Taanis 4:5 and Medrash Rabba Eicha 2:4 as sources for the position ...
-6 votes
2 answers
307 views

Why does a Kutit child who had sexual relationship with a Jew deserve death? [closed]

I found this link online but found nothing else similar to it anywhere else. I attempted to ask a rabbi who outright refused to read the link and explain it so I’m even more confused. Rambam, the Laws ...
0 votes
3 answers
211 views

Why did Hevel suffer?

I've heard many times from Rabbis and Morims that every suffering we have in life is the consequence of something bad we've done. And for babies that suffer at birth and righteous people that seem to ...
1 vote
1 answer
174 views

What crime was committed by one who touched the mountain?

From what I have learned, different sins which are punished via the court system deserve different types of death penalties. In Parshat Yitro (19:12-13), the text indicates that one who touches the ...
1 vote
1 answer
175 views

How do you punish a murderer without witnesses?

Imagine such a case: A woman walks into a girls bathroom with a machine gun, killing someone. Note: This is not the only case where we cannot punish the criminal. This would apply, in my opinion, to ...
2 votes
1 answer
301 views

Theoretically, in a perfect environment, what would happen if a king would commit a capital crime?

The Mishna (according to the Gemara) says that kings of the house of Yehuda (basically, the good kings) and all kings before King Yannai would be judged, and the Radvaz writes that (in theory), a king ...
3 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why is this person deserving of death?

הַהוּא גַבְרָא דְּקָא מְצַלֵּי אֲחוֹרֵי בֵּי כְּנִישְׁתָּא, וְלָא מַהְדַּר אַפֵּיהּ לְבֵי כְּנִישְׁתָּא. חֲלַף אֵלִיָּהוּ. חַזְיֵיהּ, אִידְּמִי לֵיהּ כְּטַיָּיעָא, אֲמַר לֵיהּ: כְּדוּ בָר קָיְימַתְּ ...
1 vote
1 answer
569 views

Was the King suppose to expose the death penalty when the court could not?

As the rules of the court were so strict, was the King suppose to execute justice? In modern times there are cases where say a mob boss orders multiple murders and there are no witnesses. I assume the ...
4 votes
2 answers
171 views

The weird example of a woman seizing a man him by his genitals

"If two men get into a fight with each other, and the wife of one comes up to save her husband from his antagonist and puts out her hand and seizes him by his genitals, you shall cut off her hand;...
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How were the 3000 victims of the Golden Calf Massacre different from the rest?

In the Golden Calf massacre roughly 3000 people were killed: "וַיַּעֲשׂוּ בְנֵי־לֵוִי כִּדְבַר מֹשֶׁה וַיִּפֹּל מִן־הָעָם בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא כִּשְׁלֹשֶׁת אַלְפֵי אִישׁ׃" "The Levites did ...
4 votes
2 answers
199 views

Why was the Sanhedrin so opposed to execution?

Why was the Sanhedrin opposed to using the death penalty most times?
8 votes
2 answers
406 views

Handing over a murderer to the Goel Hadam?

וְשָׁלְחוּ זִקְנֵי עִירוֹ וְלָקְחוּ אֹתוֹ מִשָּׁם וְנָתְנוּ אֹתוֹ בְּיַד גֹּאֵל הַדָּם וָמֵת. The elders of his city must take him [the intentional murderer] and hand him over to the blood avenger, ...
2 votes
1 answer
130 views

Why aren't all judicial powers stripped, why only capital punishment?

Why is capital punishment only adjudicated when the Temple is standing? If it is because the Sanhedrin needs to convene at the designated location described in Devarim 17:8, then wouldn't the rest of ...
3 votes
2 answers
413 views

Judaism position on Mishmeret HaTzniut

What is the Judaism's position on establishing a Va'ad Mishmeret HaTzniut, a private organisation which enforces tzniut rules in a specific community/town. At times they may use intimidation or ...
3 votes
1 answer
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How can Rashi (Makkos 5a) suggest that a murderer could escape the death penalty by admitting liability?

In Maseches Makkos 5a , Rashi D.H. מאי טעמא דבעידנא דקא מסהדי maintains that ואילו הוה אתי ומודה הוה מיפטר that the accused who stands to be executed by Beis Din could have got out of the punishment ...
1 vote
2 answers
134 views

In Golden Calf tragedy, who was hit with Heavenly plague?

Th the aftermath of the Golden Calf there were two rounds of executions: the massacre of 3000 fellow Jews and the Heavenly plague: "וַיַּעֲשׂוּ בְנֵי־לֵוִי כִּדְבַר מֹשֶׁה וַיִּפֹּל מִן־הָעָם ...
-1 votes
1 answer
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How Golden Calf massacre can be reconciled with the Halachah

In Moses' words, God ordered a massacre in a very specific way: infidels should be executed with swords, and one should target his own relatives first: ".וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם כֹּה־אָמַר ה' אֱלֹהֵי ...
0 votes
2 answers
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Arguments for the abolishment of death penalty

I read that Judaism has stopped executing the death penalty foreseen in the Law.(1). It seems that the Sanhedrin stopped executing the death penalty not out of a free decision but because it was ...
5 votes
4 answers
4k views

Why were Haman's sons killed?

While the text explicitly states that Zeresh was involved in the plot to kill Mordechai (5:14), it never states that Haman's sons did anything wrong. If Korach's sons can end up being meritorious, why ...
12 votes
5 answers
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Why wasn't Aharon punished for making the Golden Calf

Why wasn't Aharon punished by death together with idolators (others who have sinned with the Golden Calf) when Moses came from the mountain? Why was Aaron treated differently?
6 votes
3 answers
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Why only ten? Why not all of Haman's children?

According to the Gemara Megila 15b Haman had 208 children. Why did they only hang 10 of them?
1 vote
1 answer
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Murder by infectious disease

If someone intentionally infects another with a potentially deadly disease from which the victim ultimately dies, assuming he was forewarned and it was witnessed by valid witnesses, would a Sanhedrin ...
1 vote
2 answers
192 views

Delayed Judgement on Rosh Hashana

I heard that the judgement determined on Rosh Hashana does not start to get carried out until some date after the chagim, possibly in Marcheshvan or later. Is anyone familiar with this teaching and ...
1 vote
2 answers
224 views

Why weren't Tzaddok and Baytos put to death?

Why weren't Tzaddok and Baytos, fathers of the Tz'ddokim and Baytosim, put to death as z'kenim mamrim?
3 votes
2 answers
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What is the basis in the Torah permitting a king to kill someone?

Rambam in the laws of kings 3:10 states כל ההורג נפשות שלא בראיה ברורה. או בלא התראה. אפלו בעד אחד. או שונא שהרג בשגגה. יש למלך רשות להרגו ולתקן העולם כפי מה שהשעה צריכה. והורג רבים ביום אחד ותולה ...
-1 votes
2 answers
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Does God punish a sinner before the sin is committed?

Follow up to the question "By what standards does Judaism hold infants accountable for sin?". The issue raised was how could God hold infant Amalekites accountable for sins they did not ...
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2 answers
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How Could David Kill the Ger Amaleki Based on Halacha?

In Shmuel Bet, David Hamelech kills the Ger Haamaleki for killing Shaul. However, the only reason he knew this was because of his own admission. How does this relate to אין אדם משים עצמו רשע, the fact ...
2 votes
4 answers
240 views

How can we reconcile Devarim 24:16 with BaMidbar 16:27?

It is written at BaMidbar 16:27 וַיֵּעָלוּ, מֵעַל מִשְׁכַּן-קֹרַח דָּתָן וַאֲבִירָם--מִסָּבִיב; וְדָתָן וַאֲבִירָם יָצְאוּ נִצָּבִים, פֶּתַח אָהֳלֵיהֶם, וּנְשֵׁיהֶם וּבְנֵיהֶם, וְטַפָּם (here it ...
9 votes
1 answer
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How was the Mekalel given the death penalty if the punishment wasn’t known?

Inspired by How was the Mekoshesh given the death penalty if the punishment wasn't known yet? The OP there asks how the Mekoshesh, the one who chopped wood on Shabbos could be put to death if he ...
1 vote
1 answer
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Censuring a variant reading

In Leviticus 24:20 we read the phrase "an eye for an eye." The talmud teaches (in Bava Kamma and Ketubot) that this refers to monetary value. Is there any source which criticizes a literal reading? ...
9 votes
3 answers
711 views

History of Capital Punishment

When is the most recent documented occurrence in Jewish history of a beit din carrying out the death penalty? Or if historical documentation is lacking, when is the most recent time in Jewish history ...
5 votes
3 answers
348 views

Is it a mitzvah to save someone from execution by Beth Din?

I am wondering how the laws of pikuach nefesh might apply to a situation of mitath beth din. Would bystanders be obliged to save the condemned from his lawful execution? What about members of the beth ...
3 votes
3 answers
174 views

Why wasn't Reish Lakish punished for his crimes as a bandit?

Rabbi Shimon Bar Lakish is known to have been a bandit before repenting and becoming a Rabbi. Banditry involves thievery and violence. Would the Sanhedrin/Beis Hamidrash have an obligation to flog ...
3 votes
0 answers
90 views

What are the implications of "deserving death"?

The Sources frequently say that certain people "deserve death". Examples in the Talmud: He who transgresses the rulings of the Sages deserve death. [Berakhot 4b] He who emits semen in vain ...
1 vote
2 answers
206 views

does false prophet always incur death penalty

The Torah tells us (Deut.20) that if someone utters a prophecy in the name of God and even a minute detail of that prophecy does not occur, then the prophet is false and incurs the death penalty. ...