Sunday, December 23, 2012

Teshuva for capital crimes requires death & suffering

Teshuva for capital crimes requires death & suffering

Rambam(Hilchos Teshuva 1:4):Even though that repentance (teshuva) atones for everything and the Day of Yom Kippur itself atones, there are sins for which atonement comes immediately and there are others which the atonement comes later. For example if a person violated a positive commandment whose punishment does not entail kares and he repents. Then his sins are immediately forgiven…However if he transgresses a negative commandment whose punishment doesn’t entail kares or capital punishment and he repented, then the repentance is completed with Yom Kippur… If he commits a sin which is punishable by kares or death and then repented, there is not complete atonement even after Yom Kippur but rather he need to die to complete the atonement. Furthermore he doesn’t have complete atonement until he has experienced suffering… However all this is true only if he hasn’t caused the profanation of G‑d name (chilul Hashem) by his sin. However if he has caused chilul HaShem, then even if he has repented and Yom Kippur has passed and he remains repentant and he receives physical suffering – the complete atonement only happens when he dies….

Capital punishment still exists – but not from beis din

Kesubos(30a): Did not R. Joseph say. and R. Hiyya teach: Since the day of the destruction of the Temple, although the Sanhedrin ceased, the four forms of capital punishment have not ceased? They have not ceased, [you say]? Surely they have ceased! But [say] the judgment of the four forms of capital punishment has not ceased. He who would have been sentenced to stoning, either falls down from the roof or a wild beast treads him down. He who would have been sentenced to burning, either falls into a fire4 or a serpent bites him. He who would have been sentenced to decapitation. is either delivered to the government or robbers come upon him. He who would have been sentenced to strangulation, is either drowned in the river or dies from suffocation. But reverse it: Lions and thieves are by the hand of heaven, and cold and heat are by the hand of man

Bereishis Rabba (65:22): Jakum of Zeroroth was the nephew of R. Jose b. Jo'ezer of Zeredah.5 Riding on a horse he went before the beam on which he [R. Jose] was to be hanged,6 and taunted him: See the horse on which my master has let me ride, and the horse upon which your Master has made you ride. If it is so with those who anger Him, how much more with those who do His will, he replied. Has then any man done His will more than thou? he jeered. ' If it is thus with those who do His will, how much more with those who anger Him, he retorted. This pierced him like the poison of a snake, and he went and subjected himself to the four modes of execution inflicted by the Beth Din: stoning, burning, decapitation, and strangulation. What did he do? He took a post and planted it in the earth, raised a wall of stones around it and tied a cord to it. He made a fire in front of it and fixed a sword in the middle [of the post]. He hanged himself on the post, the cord was burnt through and he was strangled. The sword caught him, while the wall [of stones] fell upon him and he was burnt. Jose b. Jo'ezer of Zeredah fell into a doze1 and saw his [Jakum's] bier flying in the air. By a little while he has preceded me into the Garden of Eden, said he..

Suicide and teshuva?

Igros Moshe (C.M. 2:69.4): Also this view (Yaavetz 1:43) that someone who has deliberately transgressed a sin that is liable to the death penalty and he commits suicide that he is not only not punished but it is also a meritorious act – is clearly prohibited even if he had been halachically warned not to do the crime. It is a shameful thing that Rav Yaakov Emden stated and his view on this matter should be totally disregarded.

Rav Ovadia Yosef (Yabiya Omer Y.D. 2:24.8)… In fact this issue is very confusing in my opinion. How is it possible that the mitzva of repentance can be done by means of the major sin of suicide? Our Sages have said that a person who deliberately commits suicide has no portion in the World to Come… This matter is an explicit verse (Yechezkeil 33:11): “Say to them, As I live, says the L‑rd G‑d, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked should turn from his way and live; turn, turn from your evil ways; for why will you die?” And there is nothing that repentance doesn’t help. So why would anyone think R’ Chiya attempt to kill himself in response to what he thought was a sin with an unmarried prostitute - was according to the halacha (Kiddushin 81b)? Look at Sefer Chasidim (#674) …How could he tell his students to do teshuva in a manner that caused them to be killed? It would seem that the Sefer Chasidim is a major support for the Shevus Yaakov. This is a very difficult issue that requires study. Nevertheless in my opinion one cannot learn halacha from stories such as these. Therefore it is prohibited to kill oneself – even for the sake of repentance. I also saw this point in Shevet Shimon (345) which expresses great astonishment at this Shevus Yaakov and he concludes that the halacha is in accord with the Yafos To’ar [and not the Shevus Yaakov]. This is also the conclusion of the Chida in Birchei Yosef (345:3), that even though normally the Shevus Yaakov is more authoritative but logic is in agreement with the Yafos To’ar. [There are many other sources that come to this conclusion and reject this Shevus Yaakov]…

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