web analytics
October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

May Beis Din Punish On Shabbos?


A Jewish family preparing for Shabbat

A Jewish family preparing for Shabbat
Photo Credit: Serge Attal/Flash90

The Yerushalmi, in Sanhedrin 4:6, derives from the pasuk in the beginning of this week’s parshah, “lo seva’aru eish b’chol moshvoseichem b’yom HaShabbos – and you shall not ignite a fire in any of your dwellings on Shabbos,” that Beis Din is prohibited from judging on Shabbos. The Rambam, in Hilchos Shabbos 24:7, rules that Beis Din may not carry out the punishment of either death or lashes on Shabbos. He cites the same pasuk of “lo seva’aru” as the source for this halacha. In his Sefer Hamitzvos the Rambam lists as a separate negative commandment (number 322) that Beis Din may not judge or carry out a punishment on Shabbos.

The simple understanding of this halacha is that even though it is a mitzvah to kill someone who is chayav misah (deserving death) on Shabbos, it is forbidden. Despite being a mitzvah it may not be performed on Shabbos, when killing is prohibited, since the Torah says that the Shabbos should not be desecrated for this purpose. However, the Minchas Chinuch asks why the Rambam lists this as a separate mitzvah, when in fact it is the regular prohibition of not killing on Shabbos. This implies that the prohibition to judge and carry out punishments is a new prohibition, separate from the prohibition to kill on Shabbos.

The Magen Avraham, in Orach Chaim 339:3, discusses this matter and proves that there is a new prohibition to judge and exact punishment on Shabbos. He cites the above mentioned Rambam in Hilchos Shabbos and points out that the Rambam includes in the prohibition that Beis Din may not administer lashes on Shabbos. The Magen Avraham says that there is no prohibition of giving someone lashes on Shabbos, but rather that this is forbidden because there is a new prohibition not to judge and punish on Shabbos. He concludes that this is not a clear proof since often, when Beis Din administers lashes bloody wounds are created – which is forbidden on Shabbos.

The Rashba, in Teshuvos 1:357, holds that Beis din may appoint a non-Jew to carry out their verdicts. This is because the one who carries out the punishment does not have to be a real shaliach of Beis Din; rather it merely must be done on their behalf. Reb Elchanon Wasserman, zt”l, Hy”d, in Kovetz Haurus 76:18, explains that Beis Din does not have to carry out the actual punishment; instead they must arrange for it to be executed, and therefore they may appoint someone who is not generally suitable for shalichus. Alternatively the Rashba can be explained, based on the ruling of the Nesivos Hamishpat (Choshen Mishpat 182:1) that says that a non-Jew is fit for shalichus when all that is required is an action. A non-Jew is only unfit for shalichus of a transaction. Therefore Beis Din may appoint a non-Jew to execute their punishments.

Several Achronim ask the following question concerning the ruling of the Rashba: The Gemara, in Yevamos 6b, implies that there is never a situation whereby Beis Din may execute the death penalty on Shabbos. Since Beis Din may appoint a non-Jew to carry out their punishments, why then can they not punish on Shabbos by appointing a non-Jew to kill? However, if we say that there is a separate prohibition to judge and punish on Shabbos, aside from the actual killing, then Beis Din would be prohibited to do so – even if they were to appoint a non-Jew to carry out their verdict.

The Mishnah in Sanhedrin 73a says that if one is chasing after another in an attempt to kill him, everyone must prevent the attempted murder by any means – even by taking the life of the attempted murderer. The Mishnah says that this halacha also applies when one is chasing after one of the arayos. If one is chasing another man on Shabbos, there is no doubt that the halacha applies and that he may be killed since it is a matter of pikuach nefesh. However the Mishneh L’melech says that he is unsure whether the halacha applies to one who is chasing after one of the arayos, since it is not a matter of pikuach nefesh. The reason that he says that perhaps one would not be allowed to kill someone who is chasing one of the arayos is because it is a punishment that cannot be administered on Shabbos.

For questions or comments, e-mail RabbiRFuchs@gmail.com.

About the Author: For questions or comments, e-mail RabbiRFuchs@gmail.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “May Beis Din Punish On Shabbos?”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu meets with US President Barack Obama at the White House, Oct. 1, 2014.
Netanyahu, Obama Focus on Different Priorities in White House Talk
Latest Judaism Stories

On Sunday, Jews will be refraining from food and drink from dawn until sunset to commemorate the Fast of Gedaliah. Following Nebuchadnetzar’s destruction of the First Temple and exile of most of the Jews, the Babylonians appointed Gedaliah ben Achikaam as governor of Judea. Under Gedaliah’s leadership, Judea and the survivors began to recover. On […]

On the beach

As we enter the Days of Awe, we must recognize that it is a joy to honor and serve true royalty.

Rabbi Avi Weiss

On Rosh Hashanah we are taught that true self-analysis involves the breaking down of walls

When we hear the words “Rosh Hashana is coming” it really means Hashem Himself is coming!

Who am I? What are the most important things in my life? What do I want to be remembered for? If, as a purely hypothetical exercise, I were to imagine reading my own obituary, what would I want it to say? These are the questions Rosh Hashanah urges us to ask ourselves. As we pray […]

We recently marked the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11 – that terrible day when the symbols of man’s power and achievement crumbled before our eyes and disappeared in fire and smoke. For a very brief moment we lost our smugness. Our confidence was shaken. Many of us actually searched our ways. Some of us even learned […]

Why am I getting so agitated? And look how we’re treating each other!

While women are exempt from actually learning Torah, they are obligated in a different aspect of the mitzvah.

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

We must eat, sleep, work, and care for our dependants. How much time is left over after all that?

Once we recognize that our separation from God is our fault, how do we repair it?

Chatzitzah And Its Applications
‘Greater Stringency Applies To Hallowed Things…’
(Chagiga 20b-21a)

To choose life, you must examine your actions in the period preceding the Days of Awe as an unbiased stranger, and render your decision.

Rabbi Dayan took a challah and some cooked eggs. He then called over his 15-year-old son, Aharon. “Could you please ask your friend Chaim from next door to come over and help me with the eruv tavshilin?”

More Articles from Rabbi Raphael Fuchs
Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

While women are exempt from actually learning Torah, they are obligated in a different aspect of the mitzvah.

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

The Chafetz Chaim answered that there are two forms of teshuvah; teshuvah m’ahava and teshuvah m’yirah.

Since it is a Rabbinic prohibition we may follow the more lenient opinion.

They ask, how can Rabbeinu Gershom forbid marrying more than one wife, when the Torah explicitly permits it in this parshah?

First, how could a beis din of 23 judges present a guilty verdict in a capital punishment case? After all, only a majority of the 23 judges ruled in favor of his verdict.

According to Rabbi Yishmael one was not permitted to eat such an animal prior to entering Eretz Yisrael, while according to Rabbi Akiva one was permitted to eat animals if he would perform nechirah.

Tosafos there takes issue with Rashi’s view that the letters that are formed in the knots of the tefillin are considered part of the name of Hashem.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/may-beis-din-punish-on-shabbos/2012/03/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: