Tuesday, November 23, 2021



 The most problematic ruling relating to an apikorus is the law that he is to be "cast into a pit and not rescued." The Chazon Ish has a well-known ruling on this matter which is based on the understanding that this law is meant to achieve certain social objectives:

 It seems that the law of casting [an apikorus] into a pit only applies at a time when the blessed One's providence is manifest, e.g. at a time when miracles were common, and heavenly voices were heard, and the righteous of the generation were under personal providence evident to all, and the heretics were particularly perverse in turning their passions to lust and wantonness. At that time destruction of the wicked served as a fence for the world, for all knew that leading the nation astray brought calamity into the world, and it brought plague, and warfare and famine into the world. But in a time of concealment, when faith is gone from the common people, the act of casting into a pit does not repair the breach, but rather it adds to it, in that it appears to them as an act of destruction and violence, God forbid. And since its entire purpose is to repair, the law does not apply when it does not lead to repair. It falls upon us to bring them back with chains of love, and to stand them in a ray of light as much as we can. (Chazon Ish, Hilkhot Shechita 2, 16)


            The law of "casting down and not rescuing" is meant to repair the generation, and therefore, at a time when it will not lead to repair, but rather make things worse, the law is not applied.[8]

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