Killing, Punishment, Revenge and Jubilation
2 Pages
English
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Killing, Punishment, Revenge and Jubilation

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2 Pages
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Killing, Punishment, Revenge and Jubilation

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Killing, Punishment, Revenge and Jubilation
Jewish Law and Principles Relevant in Contemplating the Death of Osama Bin Laden
Study Sources Prepared by Irwin Keller  May 4, 2011
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Killing and its Punishment Thou shalt not murder. (Exodus 20:13) Whoever destroys a single life, it is as though s/he destroyed the entire world. Whoever saves a single life, it is as though s/he saved the entire world. (Sanhedrin 4:5) He who strikes a man, so that he dies, shall be surely put to death. (Exodus 21:12) If any man hates his neighbor, and lies in wait for him, and rises up against him, and strikes him mortally so that he dies, and flees to one of these cities [of refuge]; then the elders of his city shall send and fetch him there, and deliver him to the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die. (Deuteronomy 19:11-12)
Killing in Self-Defense Pikuach Nefesh The Jewish legal principlePikuach Nefeshdictates that laws may be broken in order to save a life. One exception is that one may not kill in order to save a life. "Let him [the threatener] slay you rather than you commit murder [against a third party]. Who knows that your blood is redder? Perhaps his blood is redder?" (Sanhedrin 74a) However, this exception itself has an exception for self-defense, a proposition calledDin Harodef.
Din Harodef And these are the ones whom one must save even with their lives [i.e., killing the wrongdoer]: ...one who pursues his fellow to kill him [rodef achar chavero le-horgo] (Sanhedrin 73a). In other words, one is permitted to kill another in the case of arodef,or lethal aggressor. Therodefmay be killed in order to save one's own life or that of another person. Maimonides adds that this applies only if the rodefcould not be stopped by lesser means.
But: If someone comes to slay you, forestall slaying that person. (Sanhedrin 72a)