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Questions tagged [capital-punishment]

Questions pertaining to capital-punishment according to Jewish law.

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30
votes
3answers
817 views

Is it a mitzva to escape the death penalty?

If someone is being led to his death by bes din (a Jewish court), is he supposed to try to escape, since, in general, saving one's own life is paramount? More: normally, we say that if someone is out ...
24
votes
5answers
880 views

Is it a sin to escape the death penalty?

If someone is sentenced to death by a Jewish court and is being held prisoner until the sentence can be carried out, if he escapes, is that a sin for him?
21
votes
6answers
2k views

Am I liable to be stoned for my devotion to Hashem and the Jewish people?

I have spent over 2 years to this day praying for the Jewish people from the Koren Siddur and Machzorim. I have with my Rebbe's help tried to follow Jewish customs and laws, to my best ability. ...
13
votes
3answers
254 views

Why was the kipa a justified way to execute criminals?

The Mishna Sanhedrin 81B brings a form of execution where the convicted person is placed in a tight chamber, fed minimal amounts of food to shrink the stomach, and then fed a lot to cause the stomach ...
12
votes
1answer
245 views

No obligation of counting birthdays and knowing one's age?

Age is a very important part of Jewish Halakha, with many dates being critical for one's responsibility, including Misos Beis Din (capital punishment). E.g. 3 year old girl can be betrothed and a male ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Did Kozbi deserve to die?

In the end of Parshas Balak (Bamidbar 25:8), Pinchas kills an Israelite who was cohabiting with a Midianite woman in front of the Jewish people. I understand that the Israelite deserved to be killed ...
11
votes
6answers
364 views

Justification for Killing all of Shechem

What was the justification for Shimon and Levi's killing all the males of Shechem in parshas Vayishlach? I assume some people there were not in a position to prevent what happened or that their ...
11
votes
1answer
552 views

How were men allowed to watch an execution?

It says in Maseches Sota (8a) that that if a woman would be punished by stoning, she would be stoned virtually unclothed, and men would be allowed to attend. The Gemara says that there is no concern ...
11
votes
3answers
711 views

Why was an imperfect world instructed in capital punishment?

So, according to wikipedia (I know... but still it was the best source I could find) Leading rabbis in Reform Judaism, Conservative Judaism, and Orthodox Judaism tend to hold that the death penalty ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Why were Er and Onan punished if they were under 20?

As seen from this question, the Heavenly Court does not punish an individual (at least in this life) if he or she is under 20. However, according to Seder Hadoros (Year 2217) Er and Onan were 7 or 8 ...
10
votes
4answers
973 views

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?
10
votes
2answers
258 views

Can a parent “victim” forgive a child due the death penalty?

There are two capital offences against parents: cursing a parent or striking a parent (and causing an injury). If someone did this in front of 2 witnesses with a warning etc. so they were due the ...
10
votes
2answers
196 views

How can a rapist in the field be executed, if there were no witnesses?

The pasuk in Devarim 22:25 says But if a man finds the betrothed girl in the field, and the man overpowers her and lies with her, then only the man who lay with her shall die. Now, the man can ...
10
votes
1answer
159 views

When do other punishments other than death penalty, exempt one from a fine?

I'm not well-versed in the laws of various punishments and how they interact in the g'mara. I've seen places -- most recently Ketubot 45, today's daf -- where it says that somebody is punished with ...
9
votes
2answers
469 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
380 views

Confessing to Adultery

In the Mishna, Sotah 1:3 and 3:3 both speak of instances in which a woman suspected of having committed adultery admits of her crime before drinking the water. Given that the penalty for adultery is ...
9
votes
4answers
393 views

Could a Jewish court try and execute a non-Jew?

When capital punishment was possible, could a beit din try and sentence a non-Jewish defendant that committed a capital crime? Or would a non-Jew whose transgression affected Jews never be tried by a ...
9
votes
1answer
232 views

Is there still yibum if executed by beis din?

If a married man who is childless is executed by beis din, does his brother still have an obligation to perform yibum?
9
votes
5answers
431 views

Why was Yishmael saved?

In bereshis 21:17 it says And G-d heard the lad's voice, and an angel of G-d called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, "What is troubling you, Hagar? Fear not, for G-d has heard the lad's voice ...
9
votes
1answer
162 views

Should someone who is falsely convicted by a relgious court attempt to avoid the death penalty?

This question discusses whether one may attempt to escape the death penalty imposed by a Beis Din for a capital offense. The answer to this question seemed to be that the person should not try to ...
9
votes
0answers
145 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
212 views

Why was the man in Numbers 15 put to death?

Once, when the Israelites were in the wilderness, they came upon a man gathering wood on the Sabbath day. Those who found him as he was gathering wood brought him before Moses, Aaron, and the whole ...
8
votes
4answers
348 views

Is it a mitzvah to escape the death penalty from a secular court?

This question addresses whether it is a mitzvah to attempt to escape the death penalty if it is imposed by a Jewish court. The answer to this question seemed to be that it is not a mitzvah to attempt ...
8
votes
2answers
112 views

What is the significance of ובערת הרע מקרבך and ובערת הרע מישראל?

On seven occasions, Moshe tells the Bnei Yisrael to kill a sinner and “destroy the evil from your midst” - ובערת הרע מקרבך. These seven occasions are (all sources are in Devarim): Executing a Navi ...
7
votes
5answers
2k views

Was stoning practiced in 30-32 CE?

In the New Testament (Christian Bible) there is a story where a woman caught in adultery was brought to Jesus and requested to judge according to the Law of Moses. John 8:1-11 (NKJV) Now early ...
7
votes
2answers
517 views

How was the Mekoshesh given the death penalty if the punishment wasn't known yet?

How was the Mekoshesh, the man found gathering wood on Shabbat in Sh'lach L'cha, given the death penalty if the punishment wasn't known yet, so he couldn't have been warned, being that the warning ...
7
votes
2answers
238 views

Why can't All Cases be Solved with a Drink?

In the case of a סוטה (wayward wife) we have an amazing and miraculous way to figure out if the woman is guilty or innocent. What's so special about the case of סוטה that we have a very special method ...
7
votes
3answers
244 views

Murderous Yibum

What is the Halacha in the following case: Reuven and Shimon are brothers. Reuven marries Rachel and has no children (Rachel is not pregnant). Shimon decides that he wants to be married to Rachel, ...
7
votes
1answer
262 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
330 views

How should a modern non-Jew interpret commandments in the Torah that they perceive to command individual violence?

If a non-Jew is interested in Judaism, how should they approach commands in the Torah like Exodus 21:17, Exodus 31:14, Leviticus 20:13? Should these passages be seen not just as command not to do the ...
7
votes
1answer
75 views

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 ...
7
votes
2answers
118 views

Can one be liable for death by delivering upsetting news?

In Parshas Chayei Sarah (23:2), Rashi quotes Bereishis Rabbah (58:5) that the reason the Parsha of Sarah's death is juxtaposed to Akeidas Yitzchak is: לספוד לשרה ולבכתה: ונסמכה מיתת שרה לעקידת ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

How should the 23rd judge vote?

Capital cases go to a court of 23 judges. A majority is required to convict, except that if all 23 vote to convict, the defendent goes scot-free. If 22 judges have already voted to convict, and the ...
6
votes
2answers
485 views

Laws regarding putting someone to death for violating the sabbath

Two witnesses go to the beit din and claim that so and so violated the sabbath on a biblical level. The witnesses claim they warned him in accordance with the rules and they did their part as ...
6
votes
1answer
165 views

Pinchas-style act nowadays

Is there any situation whereby a Pinchas-style execution would be justified nowadays? I am particularly interested in whether a 'zealous act' against a public sexually problematic sin is possible in ...
6
votes
1answer
137 views

From where do we learn that strangulation is the default execution method?

I've seen mention in various places, including a quick search of Bavli Sanhedrin, that when the torah doesn't specify a method of execution in a capital case, the method is strangulation. I see a lot ...
6
votes
2answers
763 views

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?
6
votes
1answer
235 views

Under what circumstances is a false virgin put to death?

Deut 22:13–21 says that if a man marries a virgin, is intimate with her, and then claims that she is not a virgin, and there is no evidence that she is a virgin, that she is stoned. That seems to be ...
6
votes
1answer
121 views

Is the punishment for loshan hara death or tzaraas?

What is worse loshan hara about a thing or about a person? We see that Miriam said Lashan Hara about a person and got Tzoraas We see the meraglim said Lashan Hara about trees and stones and received ...
6
votes
2answers
177 views

A Jew carrying out a death sentence

One of the requirements for Bnei Noah is to set up a system of justice. This would seem to include (unless I'm mistaken) criminal penalties, which could mean capital punishment for certain crimes. ...
6
votes
1answer
151 views

Death penalty for non-Jews

Murder in the Torah is punished by the death penalty, but with many conditions. Were the rules of death penalty the same for Jews and non-Jews living in the holy land? What were the differences? ...
5
votes
2answers
524 views

The stoning of Achan's family

Deuteronomy 24:16 says “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers; every man shall be put to death for his own sin." Why then ...
5
votes
1answer
167 views

Were condemned prisoners drugged prior to execution?

According to this unsubstantiated Wikipedia entry, criminals condemned to death by Beith Din were drugged and rendered senseless prior to being executed. Is this factually correct (either ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

A rebellious elder is executed on the festival? How does that work?

The mishna in Sanhedrin 11:4 says that the rebellious elder is not executed by his local court but is instead taken to Yerushalayim and executed on the next festival in front of all the people. ...
5
votes
2answers
78 views

Source for the requirement for an action to be within “toch k'dei dibbur” of a warning for Capital Punishment

In order for a person to be killed by Beis Din via a capital punishment, there needs to be: a) 2 witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15) that saw him transgress a sin that is liable to death. b) a warning ("...
5
votes
2answers
177 views

Yom Kippur more lenient than Shabbos?

The potential punishment for an av melacha on Shabbos is stoning (ch"v). (Obviously, only under certain circumstances and after repeated attempts to dissuade the sinner.) However, I learned here that ...
5
votes
1answer
194 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-...
5
votes
2answers
186 views

Yumatu and the plural in Dev 24

Devarim 24:16 makes a statement which is central to Jewish theology. The posuk makes clear that a father will not be put to death for the sins of his son and that a son will not be put to death for ...
5
votes
1answer
322 views

Where does the Talmud discuss the reason for Onan's death?

Genesis 38 says that instead of impregnating Tamar, Onan let his seed go to waste, and that this angered God, and therefore God killed Onan. I have a vague memory of reading somewhere in the Talmud ...
5
votes
1answer
116 views

Does a dead man walking get saved on Shobbos?

There's a man who's חייב מיתה by the kingdom. He's in jail waiting to be executed when he slips and falls and bashes his head on Shobbos. There a guards that could save him. Do the guards have to ...