Questions tagged [martyr]

For questions relating to sacrificing one's own life rather than forsaking Judaism.

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5 votes
2 answers
268 views

Why wouldn’t G-d allow the decree against the Asarah Harugei Malchus to be overturned?

In general, a bad decree from G-d can be overturned through repentance and davening, while a good one can never be revoked. (This is a major theme in the books of Yirmiya and Yonah, among others.) ...
14 votes
3 answers
837 views

Masada - heroic martyrdom or immoral murder/suicide?

Was the mass coordinated mutual killing at Masada (for lack of a better term) an act of heroic martyrdom or immoral murder and suicide? While it is unknown for certain what exactly transpired, ...
4 votes
1 answer
145 views

Did the conversos who continued to live as crypto-Jews in Spain have any Halakhic justification?

Avoda Zara is 'ייהרג ואל יעבור', one of the few transgressions a Jew should give up their life for and be willing to die 'על קידוש השם'. In the medieval period, around the time of the Spanish ...
3 votes
0 answers
74 views

Ten Martyrs - Why would Binyamin be culpable?

There's the famous incident known as the Ten Martyrs (see here), where Ten famous Rabbis were killed (not in the same period) as an atonement for the Ten children of Yaakov selling Yosef. The ten are ...
2 votes
2 answers
662 views

Yehareg v'al ya'avor – what about after?

I recall a kina in which the children of R' Yishmael (haKohen Gadol) are put in a dark room together and forced to have relations. At the end of the kina, they recognise each other and kill themselves....
2 votes
0 answers
300 views

Is "taking a knee" prohibited

Is it prohibited to perform "taking a knee" for Black Lives Matter? The question is about the action of taking the knee itself, not to support or rejection of the movement or its ideas. ...
1 vote
1 answer
82 views

Is there a Modern day example of someone Sacrificing their Life to Sanctify HaShem's name?

Are there any recent (post holocaust) stories of a Jew who chose to sacrifice his life in order to be meKadesh HaShem? Are there any modern day Jewish martyrs (not including the many Jews who were ...
2 votes
1 answer
119 views

Letter from the Chofetz Chaim about non religious martyrs

I once heard that the Chofetz Chaim has a letter in which he writes that even someone who is totally non-religious, if they are killed because they are a Jew, they have a portion in the world to come ...
1 vote
0 answers
110 views

Is a maidservant required to be 'moseret nefesh' for her master?

In Sefer Bereshit, 30:3-13 the maidservants of both Rochel and Leah are given to Yaacov in their stead to build Yaacov's house through bearing additional children. Since the text states that any ...
0 votes
1 answer
133 views

Was Nazi sadism a case of "surrender your life if they're trying to stamp out religion"?

The Gemara Sanhedrin 74b reads: נכרי דאמר ליה להאי ישראל קטול אספסתא בשבתא ושדי לחיותא ואי לא קטילנא לך ליקטיל ולא לקטליה שדי לנהרא ליקטליה ולא ליקטול מ"ט לעבורי מילתא קא בעי If a non-Jew tells ...
2 votes
0 answers
102 views

Seeking a source for a claim about Rabbi Akiva

I saw in a modern book as follows: דהנה איתא בגמ׳ דר׳ עקיבא היה לו מעלה יתירה ממשרע״ה אשר לו היתה הבנה גם בסודות הניגונים והטעמים, מכיון שמת במיתה משונה לכן זכה לזה המדריגה שמשה רבינו לא זכה לזה.‏ ...
7 votes
1 answer
65 views

Why is וחי בהם taught in the context of one of its exceptions?

Yoma 85b expounds from Vayikra 18:5 that one should violate mitzvos if the other option is death. Sanhedrin 74a gives three major exceptions to this rule: idolatry, immorality, and murder. Now, let's ...
14 votes
4 answers
1k views

Why is giluey arayos one of the big 3?

I get why murder and idol worship are things you have to give your life up for. But why is giluy arayos - sexual sin so fundamental as to require a person to give up one's life? I'm looking for a ...
6 votes
0 answers
73 views

How do we know that one must give up his life for any immoral relationship?

Sanhedrin 74a teaches that one must give up his life rather than be intimate with a forbidden relationship. It derives this from Devarim 22:26, in the context of a man who raped a young woman: ...
6 votes
3 answers
537 views

Understanding the reasoning for "be killed rather than kill"

Sanhedrin 74a teaches us the source for how we know a person should be killed rather than kill: סברא הוא [...] מי יימר דדמא דידך סומק טפי דילמא דמא דהוא גברא סומק טפי It's based on logical reasoning (...
4 votes
0 answers
73 views

Yehareg v'al ya'avor – what about retroactively?

Based on this question and this question. If someone has possibly committed one of the Big Three sins, and the only way to get out of it retroactively is to commit suicide, is suicide allowed? Is it ...
12 votes
1 answer
730 views

Is Niddah considered to be gilui arayos for purposes of martyrdom?

Gilui Arayos as is known is one of the 3 "big avaros" that one has to give up their life for. Is the prohibition of a Niddah considered forbidden to the extent that one would have to give up one's ...
4 votes
2 answers
1k views

How are martyrs honored?

Disclaimer: I am a Christian gentile and respect those of the Jewish faith. I am wondering how the Jewish community honors those who are considered to be martyred for their Jewish faith? Do you ...
7 votes
1 answer
189 views

“Worship idols or I kill another Jew” - what should one do?

The Halacha is that one may not serve Avodah Zarah even on pain of death (Sanhedrin 74a). I was staying by a family for Shabbos, and their 11-year-old son asked a genius question. What happens if ...
4 votes
0 answers
29 views

What happens if one isn’t sure if ten Jews are watching? [duplicate]

The Gemara (Sanhedrin 74a-b) rules that if ten Jews are present when a non-Jew threatens a Jew to perform any sin - even to dress like a non-Jew - on pain of death, the Jew is obligated to give up his ...
1 vote
1 answer
112 views

Death over sins & idolatry for gentiles?

As we know there are certain sins a Jew cannot commit like murder or idol worship. A Jew should rather die than commit these sins. Does this apply to gentiles as well?
9 votes
2 answers
188 views

Must one die al Kiddush Hashem in cases of doubt?

In the Rambam's Mishneh Torah Yesodei haTorah Chapter 5:2, he explains that a Jew must die rather than perform idolatry, murder, or gilui arayos. Does this also apply in cases of doubt? (i.e whether ...
4 votes
2 answers
241 views

Explaining Rash"i regarding Tamar's actions on Breishit 38:25 [duplicate]

I've been looking at Rash"i's explanations of Tamar's refusal to embarrass Yehuda after she was found to be pregnant and was sentence to burning. Rash"i says that from her actions, we learn that one ...
3 votes
3 answers
322 views

Public Shaming: Cardinal Sin?

Is publicly shaming someone a cardinal sin (a sin which one must die rather than perform), as per the Talmudic statement that it is better to die than to publicly shame someone (Berakhot (43b), Bava ...
0 votes
1 answer
167 views

3 major sins versus suicide

According to the rambam that unlike all other prohibitory mitzvos there are 3 that one must give up one's life for rather than be forced to commit. Does the requirement to give up one's life rather ...
9 votes
2 answers
1k views

Conversion to Islam

Although Islam is considered monotheistic I would imagine that in a case of 'oness' (coercion) one would still not be allowed to convert. Is conversion to Islam considered to be a case of יהרג ואל ...
14 votes
1 answer
1k views

"Die, but don't transgress": what about torture?

There is a principle in Jewish law that there are three transgressions that should not be committed, even on pain of death: murder, "sexual immorality" (a reference, presumably, to the sorts of ...
2 votes
2 answers
230 views

Killed al Kiddush Hashem

Is there a source for the notion that someone who is killed "Al Kiddush Hashem" is not held accountable for his sins and goes straight to Gan Eden? Does this apply only when dying willingly?
0 votes
0 answers
35 views

Does the Midrash imply that one should give up his life for "smaller" mitzvos?

The Midrash (Bamidbar Rabbah 14:6) expounds the Pesukim in Koheles (8:2-3): Based on several incidents, the Midrash interprets "ani" as indicating that one's awe should be over you. Thus, "Ani, the ...
3 votes
2 answers
175 views

Source for Chasidik practice of imagining yourself giving up your life during the first verse of Krias Shma

in a chassidus shiur i heard that the obligation for krias shma (for people busy with parnoso) according to all opinions is the first posuk of shma with kavono and that the kavono is by saying it you ...
2 votes
0 answers
57 views

Promising someone Paradise

In Avoda Zarah 18a: The Executioner then said to him (Rabbi Chanina ben Tradyon), 'Rabbi, if I raise the flame and take away the tufts of wool from over your heart, will you bring me into the ...
2 votes
1 answer
72 views

Weakened punishment if done for the nation

I'm looking for sources where we see someone had a lesser punishment or no punishment at all because the act the did although punishable, was done for the nation (klal yisroal). I heard a shiur where ...
2 votes
3 answers
394 views

What is the halacha regarding averot that one must not do even to avoid death?

What is the halacha regarding averot that one must not do even to avoid death? I have heard, but do not believe it to be correct, that the halacha is that one must prefer death to (1) forced ...
1 vote
0 answers
142 views

Are there Jewish sources regarding this degradation of the Jews of Prague

Are there Jewish sources regarding this degradation of the Jews of Prague? (Allowing it, protesting it (they should have been killed and not do it)) From https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
1 vote
0 answers
51 views

What would a Jew be willing to die for? [duplicate]

What things would a Jew be willing to die for? Answers with a textual basis would be preferred.
3 votes
0 answers
34 views

About giving up one's Life for G-D and Minhag

My question is concerning the times when Jews are - G-D forbid - being persecuted religiously and they can't transgress or stop performing mitzvot to the extent of not changing Minhag. Does this ...
6 votes
1 answer
178 views

Shaas hashmad and Arab terrorism

There is a halachik principle brought down in the Talmud and codified in halacha known as shaat hashmad - a time of forced religious persecution. Generally, the rule is that any commandment of the ...
3 votes
1 answer
214 views

Extent of Martyrdom Requirements in the Face of Anti-Religious Laws

There is a halachik principle brought down in the Talmud and codified in halacha known as shaat hashmad - a time of forced religious persecution. Generally, the rule is that any commandment of the ...
6 votes
0 answers
91 views

Why are there only 8 Martyrs in the Tisha b'av kinnos

The kinna on Tisha b'av says there are 10 Martyrs, but only 8 are named. In the Yom Kippur version, however, all 10 are mentioned. Why are 2 missing from Tisha b'av?
2 votes
2 answers
270 views

Is rape considered yehareig v'al yaavor?

Since Deut. 22:25-26 equates rape with murder, would a man be required to give up his life rather than commit rape?
3 votes
1 answer
56 views

According to Bamidbar Rabba, why was Caleb so adamant about the fruit?

Bamidbar Rabba 16:14 has an interesting back-story for the giant fruits that Numbers 13:23 tells us the twelve spies retrieved from Canaan: ויבאו עד נחל אשכול - לא רצו ליטול מפירות א"י, אילולי ...
1 vote
3 answers
131 views

Why didn't the Ten Martyrs answer differently?

Without arguing either the historicity or the historical accuracy of the midrash of Eleh Ezkerah, the 10 Martyrs, I am wondering about the details of the story as told. According to the version on ...
4 votes
0 answers
86 views

Can someone blaspheme to save their life?

As is well known, one is to die rather than murder a Jew, perform adultery and the like, or worship an idol (Sanhedrin 74a). Is blasphemy (i.e. denying one's dedication to the Torah) permissible to ...
1 vote
0 answers
67 views

jewish in secret or martyrdom? [duplicate]

If I live in a extreme Islamic country that would most likely kill me for being jewish and moving is not an option, is it unacceptable for me to practice in secret? or should I confess my faith and be ...
10 votes
1 answer
333 views

Is someone killed by force called Kiddush Hashem?

Is someone who was killed for being Jewish without having been given a choice to save himself by transgressing the Torah, called a kodosh?
10 votes
1 answer
196 views

Is a ban on government workers wearing religious symbols a gezeirat hamalchut for which one would be obligated to give up his life?

So, i haven't heard that anyone today is making this punishable by death, but still... France has a law that prohibits government workers from wearing religious symbols on their job. This naturally ...
2 votes
1 answer
68 views

Why can't one be cured with Asheira wood?

The Gemara in Pesachim (25a) says א"ר יעקב א"ר יוחנן בכל מתרפאין חוץ מעצי אשירה היכי דמי אי נימא דאיכא סכנה אפילו עצי אשירה נמי ואי דליכא סכנה אפילו כל איסורין שבתורה נמי לא לעולם דאיכא סכנה ואפי' ...
1 vote
3 answers
172 views

What did the Akeida accomplish that Avraham didn't already?

Avram stood up to Nimrod (which meant him being sent into a fire). This demonstrated his ultimate self-sacrifice for God, publicly. What more did the Akeida accomplish?
3 votes
0 answers
51 views

What is a "time of kingdom's decree"

The gemara in Sanhedrin 74 talks about a time of oppression, during which even for "light mitzvot" one must die. What exactly constitutes such a time? Is it any time when the government makes a ...
7 votes
1 answer
169 views

Safek yehareg v'al yaavor

If there is a situation in which you aren't sure whether you are required to give up your life, do you give up your life or not? The most simple example would be if someone doesn't know whether ...