- Who Deserves Death?
- Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim
- Reader: How can it be logical to murder someone for their
false beliefs? Where is the "due process" involved when a
religious person murders another person due that person
"deserving death because their ideas are so wrong"? My
reasoning for the belief that Jews were meant to coexist and act as a
beacon of education for the Gentile world comes from TaNaKh,
prophets,etc. Why else did Hashem say to us that we would have to
struggle with Gentiles after Joshua failed to drive them from the
land? Are we not meant to educate the world? I feel some fear when I
read on your website that "some people are so wrong in their
beliefs, that they deserve death".
- Mesora: Yes,
the Jews are to act as a beacon to the rest of mankind. However, the
light source of our tower is not generated within, by human reasoning.
Our beacon of light - our teachings - are really a reflection of God's
instructions. We mimic the Creator, as His knowledge is absolute
truth. He alone provides true light.
- Many errors arise when man attempts to project his own, false ideas
upon the landscape of morality, previously spread out by God. Such a
landscape is governed by God's objective borders. If we are to arrive
at the basis for the death penalty, we must consult God's Torah, the
only guidebook to morality.
- We find that God killed peoples and nations for their distortion in
practice, and yes, even for harboring corrupt ideas. The idolatrous
city and Amalek are wiped out, although they harm no one physically.
What does this teach us? The lesson here is that God's plan for man is
the only plan for man. When people stoop to a level of philosophical
deviance, their existence is worthless, purposeless, and harmful to
others. If God wishes others be not led astray, His wisdom thereby
dictates the destruction of all members of such a people, including
babies. We can almost hear the shouts of "intolerance" and
"brutality" at my last sentence, but again, man's reaction
does not affect truth. Justice demands that even infant life born in
such cultures be terminated, perhaps for a number of salient reasons,
including the inescapable grip their culture bears down on all
members. There is in some societies no possible salvation from their
distorted views and practices. They must all be exterminated.
- God's plan is man's achievement of perfection, knowledge of God and
the practice of God's morality. Those members of mankind who reach
this objective have realized man's true purpose, and are worthy of
life, even extended life. Those who have not, but can, are given about
80 years to accomplish this task. Those who will never reach this
goal, are at times commanded to be put to death - out of the way from
other potentially perfected people, lest the latter stumble in their
current state of ignorance.
- Life per se is not a good unless it partakes of God's guidelines.
When man does not live as God desires, he is punished for his crimes.
Equally true, man is killed as a preemptive measure, saving others
from following the corrupt fools, losing their one chance at a life of