Sunday, July 4, 2010

Rambam- Yisodei Hatorah Perek 5 Halacha 4- What Happens If You Do Not Sacrifice Your Life When It is Required

כל מי שנאמר בו יעבור ואל יהרג ונהרג ולא עבר הרי זה מתחייב בנפשו. וכל מי שנאמר בו יהרג ואל יעבור ונהרג ולא עבר הרי זה קידש את השם. ואם היה בעשרה מישראל הרי זה קידש את השם ברבים כדניאל חנניה מישאל ועזריה ורבי עקיבא וחביריו. ואלו הן הרוגי מלכות שאין מעלה על מעלתן. ועליהן נאמר כי עליך הורגנו כל היום נחשבנו כצאן טבחה. ועליהם נאמר אספו לי חסידי כורתי בריתי עלי זבח. וכל מי שנאמר בו יהרג ואל יעבור ועבר ולא נהרג הרי זה מחלל את השם. ואם היה בעשרה מישראל הרי זה חילל את השם ברבים ובטל מצות עשה שהיא קידוש השם ועבר על מצות לא תעשה שהיא חלול השם. ואעפ"כ מפני שעבר באונס אין מלקין אותו ואין צריך לומר שאין ממיתין אותו בית דין אפילו הרג באונס. שאין מלקין וממיתין אלא לעובר ברצונו ובעדים והתראה שנאמר בנותן מזרעו למולך ונתתי אני את פני באיש ההוא מפי השמועה למדו ההוא לא אנוס ולא שוגג ולא מוטעה. ומה אם עבודת כוכבים שהיא חמורה מן הכל העובד אותה באונס אינו חייב כרת ואין צריך לומר מיתת בית דין. קל וחומר לשאר מצות האמורות בתורה. ובעריות הוא אומר ולנערה לא תעשה דבר. אבל אם יכול למלט נפשו ולברוח מתחת יד המלך הרשע ואינו עושה הנה הוא ככלב שב על קיאו. והוא נקרא עובד עבודת כוכבים במזיד והוא נטרד מן העולם הבא ויורד למדרגה התחתונה של גיהנם:

In any situation where [the law is] that one should transgress and not die, if [a Jew] dies and does not transgress he or she is deserving of the death penalty. In any situation that [the law says] one should die and not transgress and the person dies and does not transgress, this is a sanctification of the holy name. If there are 10 Jews present then this is a sanctification of the holy name in public like [it was sanctified by] Daniel, Hananiel, Mishael, Azariah, and Rebbe Akiva and his companions. [His companions] are the 10 people killed by kings [the Romans] that there are none higher than them. About them the verse says(Psalms 44:23), "Because for your sake we are killed all the time, we are considered as sheep for slaughter." It also says (Ibid 50:5), "Gather my devout ones unto me, sealers of My covenant through sacrifice."

Every situation that [the law states] one should die and not transgress and he or she transgresses and does not die, this is a desecration of the holy name (G-D). If this occurs in front of ten Jews then this is a desecration of the holy name in public, as well as a bittul (loss of opportunity) to do the positive commandment of a sanctification of the holy name and it is a transgression of a negative commandment of desecration of the holy name. Even so, since he or she is forced to transgress he or she is not given lashes and it doesn't even need to mentioned that Beis Din (the court of law) doesn't kill him or her even if he or she is forced to kill against his or her will. The reason for this (that it doesn't have to be stated that he or she is not killed by the court of law) is because a person is only flogged or killed if the person transgresses willingly, with witnesses and a warning. For it says in regards to someone who gives his offspring to [the idol] Molech (Vayikra 20:6), "I shall concentrate my attention upon that person." From a teaching (tradition) it was taught that this verse refers [to a case] that was not forced, or due to negligence, or due to a mistake. Just like idol worship, that is the most severe [transgression], that has someone forced to worship it, that person is not punished with Kares (cut off from the nation) and we don't even need to mention that person [is not] put to death. How much more so to other commandments that are stated in the Torah [that we need not mention that someone who transgresses them they are not punished].

Concerning illicit relations, it says (Devarim 22:26) "And to the young girl you shall do nothing, [for she did not commit a capital sin]."

This law is mainly a summary of the previous laws, but it is very important because it tells us that someone who does not sacrifice their life, when it is required, they can not be punished. Even though the Torah seems to demand that someone sacrifice their life in certain situations, there is no punishment if this is not done. In essence, sacrificing one's life is commendable, but not enforceable.

I think this is an important idea, because how can anyone be EXPECTED to give up their life. If this was truly demanded I think many people would fail in this requirement. However, throughout the generations MANY Jews did give up their lives and fulfilled a great sanctification of the holy name. If they had not, nothing would have happened to them, but they did it anyway. This reveals such an amazing Jewish spirit that really impresses a valuable lesson, the Jewish religion is greater than any one man. The people have an amazing passion for the religion and have an amazing love for G-D.

No comments: