Anything about JUDAISM
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Admonit Posted - 28 October 2004 12:53
this man in the library sat me down and said
"moses said god said no-one should go up to the mountain besides him. then he said god said to kill the midianites. then he said god siad to kill the women adn children. thats genocide! and you know why moses said no one should go up? because he didnt want anyone to contradict him thats why!"

so i told him ill be glad to check it out. what do u say to that?

MODERATOR Posted - 28 October 2004 13:47
You should tell him that he should have asked a better question: According to about 4.75 million people die every month throughout the world. That makes over 56.5 million pople a year.

Who do you think causes these people to die? G-d. Fifty six million people a year. Talk about holocausts! What gives G-d the right to be such a mass murderer? Throughout history, entire civilizations were wiped out - now that's genocide!

And if you add up the amount of people who G-d caused to die throughout history, I dont even know how many millions and millions it would be.

And your friend in the library is bothered by the Midianim?!

The answer is that everybody dies in his proper time. Thats "normal". Murder is when you kill someone before his time is up. So your friend assumes that when G-d sends the malach hamaves to break a bridge and have someone fall to his death, that is OK, because the person's "time is up", but when G-d tells Moshe to throw a midianite off a bridge that is murder because the victim should still live.

And that is his mistake. For when G-d decides that someone should die - be it at the hands of the Angel of Death or one of Hashem's human agents - that person's time is up. G-d could kill all the midianim at the hands of an earthquake or at the hands of Klall Yisrael - same difference.

Except for the fact that the earth has no bechirah, and therefore is incapable, Boruch Hashem, of rebellign against G-d and disobeying.

But people are. And so if your friend in the library woudl be told by the Torah to kill someone and he refused, it would be the same as if the Malach Hamaves was told by G-d that someone's time is up and he refused to end that person's life.

Yourfriend in the library surely understands that it is part of G-d's unfathomable, cosmic plan when a volcano erupts and a civilization is wiped out. Nobody would accuse G-d of genocide. Or the malach hamaves who was only following G-d's orders.

You know, maybe some time around 3000 years ago, someone died, went up to heaven, and was shown a video of the holocaust - concentration camps, torture, death, genocide. And G-d angrily tells him "This is all your fault - you caused this to happen. It wasnt supposed to happen - it wasnt in my plan - but you did it with your free will! You are a murderer of six million Jews!"

"How can this be, G-d?" the accused would say. "That scene takes place 3000 years after I died. How could I be responsible for that?"

But G-d answered, "Remember when I commanded you all to kill the midianites? And remember when you came upon that little baby and you couldnt do it? Remember that?"

"Yes I do," he says. "I was merciful."

"Merciful? More merciful than me?" G-d thundered back. "That baby was the great-grandmother of Hitler! Hitler was never suppose to have been norn. In My divine plan, that baby was never supposed to grow up or have children. I gave the Divind plan to you to fulfill. You know I said to do it. Yet you think that you know better? Now look at the fruits of your actions!"

Tell that to your friend in the library.

(Btw - the above is a fictitious version of the true story of King Shaul and Agag, King of Amalek. Same idea.)

Admonit Posted - 07 November 2004 21:05
thank you. though i hopefully will not see him again. much obliged.
Qs Posted - 12 November 2004 13:22
"Murder is when you kill someone before his time is up"

Well, couldn't you just say that is was Hashem's divine plan? Obviously if you were able to kill him, his time was up - so it is not murder. It is impossible to kill someone before his time is up since Hashem controls the world! So the idea of "murder" cannot exist!

MODERATOR Posted - 12 November 2004 13:38
The Ohr HaCHaim explains that is not so. Yosef's brothers threw him into a pit, CHazal say, to see if he would live or die, which would determine whether Hashem wanted him alive or dead. He says the reason they had to throw him into a pit to determine this and not just hit him with a rock or something like that, is because a Baal Bechirah is given the ability by G-d to kill people even if it not their proper time to die, but snakes and scorpions - which were in the pit - only bite if G-d wants them to.

So if a human being kills somoene it is very possible that he would not have died otherwise; but if an animal kills someone we know that person was destined to die there and then.

The Ohr HaChaim is following the Zohar.The Metzudas Dovid says a similar thing in Daniel, explaining that CHananiah, Mishael and Azariah could have jumped out of the Kivshon HaAish but didnt - because they were worried that Nevuchadnetzar would kill them if they did. Yet they were nto as worried about burning alive, because fire is not a Baal Bechirah and thus burns only who Hashem tells it to burn. But Nevuchadnetzar, as Baal Bechirah, can kill somoene even if G-d does not want him dead.

(Note: The Chovos Halevovos and Sefer HaChinuch disagree with the above)

1983 Posted - 14 November 2004 11:52
Moderator, Yahser Koach on those answers. I have heard these 2 questions asked and answered numerous times but I truly think that these are the best answers I have heard. I was extremely impressed. Keep up the good work.
taon Posted - 29 July 2007 18:21

CuriosGentileGeorge Posted - 19 March 2005 20:46

very thoughtprovoking!!!

TurtleGirl Posted - 18 April 2005 7:54

Hashem doesn't murder. He runs the universe, and if he decides someone's time is up, then it's up. It's his decision. Think about it this way; he has the ability to make people be born, and people die. People giving birth is his decision, too, because there can always be a miscarriage. Be happy about when a new soul enters the world, and say "gam zu l'tova" when someone else passes away.

iFearG-d Posted - 23 March 2008 19:14
The text doesn't say that we killed the 'young children' to stop a future Holocaust. Rather, the text says three times we killed them 'for vengeance' regarding the matter of Peor. Numbers 31 seems to use the fallacy of the undistributed middle, 'they' first meaning the women of Peor, later including the young children who were not guilty of Peor. Remember, the executions are 'for vengeance' for Peor, no statement of past life crimes. If indeed the text uses the fallacy of the undistributed middle to justify an execution, should we not look at this as obvious evidence from Hash-m that we should ignore the Voice, given it's / lahavdil / capable of errors in logic?

Second point: When, *which verse* after Numbers 31:1, did Hash-m give Moshe *permission* to spare,ironicly, the young girls?

Third, what happened to lo b'shamayim he, the Torah is not in heaven?

Since the Torah was given at Sinai years earlier before Numbers 31, how is it that Moshe could accept the command from a Bas Kol to kill without a trial? If we are really really sure it's G-d, then it's OK to change the Torah given at Sinai?

Is it permitted to execute a child strictly because of deeds it's parents did? Deut 24 clearly says no.

Everybody who dies deserves to die from Hash-m's perspective.

But nobody on earth is permitted, morally, to use that reasoning to justify an excecution.

Imagine a murder trial:
'Yes, I did it, but since the person actually died, they must have deserved it, therefore, I must have been doing the will of / lhavdil / Hash-m.'
Anybody can now kill anybody without any reason at all.

Is it indeed permitted to kill someone because of something they haven't done yet?

Why not kill all the goyim, surely some of their children will attack us, let's just kill them all and be safe. Who knows, they might be a descendant of one of the original 7 / 10 tribes of Canaan, so we're *required* to kill all goyim, sufake d'orrissa l'chumra. Why not?

Of course, we'll have to wait until the moshiac comes. Then we can 'bring on' the age of the moshiac by fulfill *all* the commandments, when practical, of course (when is up to the moshiac).

Killing children to stop their future crimes, or their descendants' potential future crimes seems to fail the most obvious reality test for a religion their can be. When we see other nations doing nonsense like that, we don't stop and ask if they really got permission from G-d. Nobody stops to wonder if it really was correct to wipe out a people for leibensraum (living space), we just all know automatically and absolutely that genocide, when used against us at least, is evil, period. If someone thinks G-d is telling them to kill a child, then G-d is testing that person to see if they would be moral or not. Remember, G-d also made the stars, we don't follow those. G-d made all voices, the only question is, when should we follow one? Shouldn't moral basics (or, if you need, substitute Noahide 'Do Not Kill') be primary / over-riding, even a Voice, even G-d's Voice? After all, 'Do Not Kill also came from G-d. First.
I've made mistakes before, I look forward to a fresh perspective on this.

Thank you for your time, attention, wisdom and reply.

MODERATOR Posted - 24 March 2008 0:39
The term "vengeance" is used throughout Tnach even regarding unprovoked attacks. It is not literal, Hashem has no feelings and does not feel anger, He does not need revenge. In cases like this it refers to Divine justice. Obviously it doesn't say that it's to prevent future reshaim from attacking us, the section you are quoting from (and you can say Bamidbar perek lamed aleph here) is Moshe talking to the soldiers. They would be primarily concerned with what these mdyanim did now, not the future, which would be a given.

Look again at the perek, there was no such logical fallacy.

The entire Torah is the word of Hashem, not just the aseres hadibros. No one questioned that, and if someone chas vesholom tried to claim something they made up was from Hashem, they would have been punished immediately as were Korach and his followers. Moreover, even after the Torah was written, neviim only were not given more or less mitzvos, they were still given commands.

The example you give does not make sense. We are only talking about when Hashem Himself says through a navi this person must be killed. No one can claim they kiled becuase they knew this person would always be a rasha and didn't deserve to live, he'd be considered crazy.

As for your last point, if you want a real "contradiction", why are murderers put to death? Is that a contadiction as well? Of course not, becuase this person is chayiv misah according to the Words of Hashem.

taon Posted - 09 April 2008 16:12
I was looking in a Rav Hirsch Chumash, and I nticed he translated vengeance with a more correct word, and showed what various terms like vengeance and others mean, by going through the various uses of each shoresh. That might clear things for you.


questions? go here:

Matisyohu28 Posted - 13 April 2008 17:55
taon, care to share the vort with us? I'd be interested to know how else it can be understood - one person I know would benefit from this enormously.

Mussar teaches you how to live. But learning bava kama is living! - Rav Avigdor Miller ZT'L

taon Posted - 22 April 2008 23:17
Sure, once I can get a chance to get hold of it.


questions? go here:

taon Posted - 24 April 2008 17:28
First off, nikamas is translated in passuk gimmel as repreisal, not revenge. WHy the Midyanim had to be fought was explained in perek chaf hey. several of the other questions brought up are also explained. as for nikom, which is commonly translated to revenge, we are reffered to Bereishis with cayin and hevel. I don't have Rav Hirsch on Sefer Bereishis with me, but the gist is 1 it often refers to the one victimised, not the one the "vengeance is on", im sorry i cant be more specific about when, it seemed this word in this form is, with one or two exceptions, reffering to the victim 2 the point is really upholding justice, not revenge, as the word is in connection with the victim, as already stated. if it was to get back at the person, the word would be in conjenction with that person. Again, I dont have the exact commentary with me. here, we are shown that it is the same shoresh, root, at kum, rise up.. the fact that the nikom/kum is connected in the pesukim gramtically with the wronged one shows even more clearly that the object of this is to re-erect justice, to bring up the righteous and truth. The next part uses grmmatical terms that confuse me a little (i still have problems with grammar and dikduk, sorry) but nikom is in the reflexive form, and constructed with a mem. if the word was connected to the midyanim and meant rvenge and dstroying them, it would be constructed with a beis. Im not sure which mem he is referring to, but i think it means the word maeais. in this posuk, it implies the nikom is not at the midyanim, but for bringing up Bnei Yisroel from the midyanim. if it was directed directly at the midyanim, whihc it would have to be if it wwas revenge, it would be more in the form of revenge to the midyanim. here it is clear otherwise. when it is used directly to the midyanim and with a beis in passuk gimmel, it is Moshe speaking reminding Bnei Yisroel that it is for Hashem. that is what they should have in mind, that this is becuase of actiions that are the antithesis of what Hashem is and made the world for. also note that the Name of Hashem used is the Name of mercy. this is for their sakes and ours. For why this was necessary, and why some were spared, and onl some Jews fought, look into the text itself as well as the meforshim.


questions? go here:

amolam Posted - 24 September 2009 15:35
>>You know, maybe some time around 3000 years ago, someone died, went up to heaven, and was shown a video of the holocaust - concentration camps, torture, death, genocide. And G-d angrily tells him "This is all your fault - you caused this to happen. It wasn’t supposed to happen - it wasn’t in my plan - but you did it with your free will! You are a murderer of six million Jews!"

Could the Mod please clarify. I assume you don't mean that such a scenario is really possible. Isn't it a given that the Holocaust WAS in Hashem's plans due to avairos etc...

MODERATOR Posted - 25 September 2009 2:20
It's a hypothetical example. But hitler yemach shmo chose with his own free will for this tragedy to happen through himself, and in this form, when Hashem could have caused it to happen through other means. So too, someone's bechira can cause a punishment (or reward) to happen in a different way or time than it may have otherwise.
Matisyohu28 Posted - 30 September 2009 19:20
ifearG-d - I don't know where you got any of these ideas from - mitzvos have exceptions. As a matter of fact, your idea of g-d saying not to kill was actually the 'hava amina(literally: 'i would have said', means a torah idea that is refuted by torah study but which seems valid at first) of the Arizal - he says that if there were no 'pesik' or pause after each of the 10 commandments, there would be no way of being able to kill at all - but the torah says no, sometimes one must kill - everything has it's time and radical, absolute ideas such as 'killing is always wrong' have no place in torah, which values serving g-d according to g-d over all - the fact that there is a difference in your eyes between the commandment to eat matzah and the commandment to kill out people is only due to human, material biases and not a sublime emunah that whatever g-d says is right and only what G-d says is right - G-d made us in His image to serve him according to the way he wants, not that we should make him in our image and make up philosophies like liberalism(or conservativism, or any other 'ism') that are alien and akin to the ancient idols, in spirit - you claim the divine value of man while stripping him of the connection to g-d that is the mitzvos - the 'test' you describe is only valid if religion must conform to a human, man-made(and even a-logical) moral system, largely created from sentimentalism and not concrete reasoning - G-d defines religion, g-d defines right and wrong, and mayube, by some miracle, I, in my limited capacity will merit to see some shade of divine wisdom - if I merit it.

actually, it says not to murder - lo tirtzach means 'you shall not murder', killing someone is obligatory when the torah tells you to, because this is not called murder, but rather, fulfilling of another mitzvah, sort of like how the torah says you cant break shabbos, but it also says you have to do a bris milah on shabbos, this is called a 'gezeras hakasuv' in hebrew, meaning, the torah set up the laws in this way from the get-go).

Picking and choosing which parts of the torah are true and which are false is intellectually dishonest - it claims to be all from G-d, therefore, you invalidate it all when you say that only what you think is from g-d is actually from G-d.

If there was a man about to blow up the world, and you could stop him by shooting him - and let's say you had to kill him, no one would say it would be immoral. Even though you're killing someone.

Now a logical mind cannot accept such things - you should kill him since he's trying to kill others; it would be sinful not to. Now, when you understand what a mitzvah is, not just a 'good deed', not a custom, not a symbolism, but a living breathing lifeforce that sustains the world, not to mention yourself, when you understand that there are consequences for violating commandments, that things actually happen - death is only the beginning; better a person should die, chazal say, than violate certain sins, is how great they are and how unfathomable is their impact - one cannot be wishy washy and allow himself to follow g-d when he sees fit, and to not when it conflicts with his self-made baseless systems.

This is the message of the Akeidah as well - avraham was more merciful than you; more than you can imagine; he embodied the attribute of kindness, chazal say - hence his greatest test from hashem was to overcome his kindness to do the will of hashem, to go against his nature and understand that whatever hashem does is right, no matter what I may think. It's g-0d's world, and we're nothing compared to him - only if one is distanced from G-d can he look at morality as separate from G0-d, just as one need be far from G-d to look at naything in this world as being far from g-d - nothing in this world exists on its own; it is sustained, not just contingent, but sublimely hashem's energy constantly recreating the world and making it exist, for only hashem truly exists - when one has this understanding, anything conceivable in the mind takes on new light; it's not 'just there', but now has a purpose and divine qualities whcih can come of it - treif food even, has sparks of holiness that can be revealed if it is eaten in a permissible way(if it is nullified by 60 times its quantity), thus it becomes a service of G-d, not in the barbaric sense, but in holiness, to do anything - giving up your own life, or taking the life of another - service of hashem cannot be held backl by any interceding impuritites and fantasies - If your kidnness is your own, if it is not the product of serving hashem and of higher motives, but just for materialistic 'humanistic' idolatry, then you are not being kind, but you are murdering the world and furthering a world of purposelessness and emptiness, the opposite of creation.

The killing of a child before he sins is not because we know he will sin - that would be murder. You're once again putting human impurities and fantasies into something G-d told us, which is not man-made - hashem's thoughts are not like ours. And so, if hashem wants to tell us that I, the creator of the universe, know that this person will sin or whatnot - I am therefore giving you a commandment to kill him even though you are incapable of knowing this - of your own accord, you are not allowed to decide such things and make up logical reasons to kill people - the torah says you may not make logical cheshbonos(equations) to kill somoene, since there;s a chance you're wrong - only when following G-d can one be sure he is right, especially when it's a matter of life and death - fractious man has no right to decide such things, life is too precious. No man decided to kill out midyanim, or amalek, or anyone else - and no one killed out the canaanites for living space, chas veshalom(g-d frobvid) to think such a thing! the torah says G-d told the Jews that the count of sins that the canaanites did had reached its breaking point - a basic of judaism is that people are rewarded and punished; siuns bring punishment, and when a people sin enough, their time is up - children die for all sorts of reasons, and so do the righteous - one reasons is that if it werent that way, we wouldnt have any free will because we would see with our own eyes then retribution of the wicked and the reward of the righteous, and we would be turned from the great miracle if free will to serve g-d from internal awareness and understandings that elevate man from his animal state - you would be nothing better than a scientist, observing phenomenon, with no personal commitment, no change, no understanding, no principles, no longing for G-d, no trust, no faith, and no perfection - just seeing that sin = punishment, and you'd be nothing more than a robot - hence, G-d made free will by punishment of the wicked along with the righeous, and all such other things above our understanding. Not all deaths are punishments,m especially children - many reasons are given, either as punishemtn for the parents, these children were given souls that were designed to only last this amount of time to serve their purpose, and other reasons, but the yesod(principle) is the same - G-d knows what's best, runs the world with a kindness you cannot fathom, and tells us that on rare occasions, while if left to our own devices we would be as kinbd as we can, we must nonetheless humble ourselves and understand that G-d is above us - shabbos is a mitzvah, saving a life is a mitzvah, and so is killing amalek - all traits are balanced in serving hashem and one must know when to use which trait. When hashem wantds him to be happy, he is happy, when sad, sad, when merciful, cerciful, and when tough, tough - misplaced mercy is cruelty and an unspeakable undermining of G-d's sovereignty of this world.

Lo bashamayim hi applies after the giving of the torah - this ios a part of the torah and is hence not a factor. The only reason we know lo bashamayim hi is because G-d says so - it's not something we thought of on our own. G-d is the one who told us to figure things out based on torah even when a bas kol will tell us differently - and so, that was in itself a test, since G-d told us from the get-go that you shoulkd not listen to bas kols which go against the torah - the torah says 'acharei rabim lehatos', to rule according to a majority, even if the heavenly court or whoever says something else - hashem had nachas when the rabbis concluded the conclusion that the torah - not the bas kol - prescribed, because they were following the torah and not caving in to the test.

This is not the 'self-determination' nonsense you are trying to read into it - you cannot take exceptions and make rules out of them; how many times does the gemora quote pesukim as proofs, accepting them even when they mean death? how many times does it talk about laws that are death penalties?(even though they never actually killed people more than once in 70 years), - we see clearly that the torah is not against the death penalty; it simply has complex laws which make it very very hard to have someone killed.

Mussar teaches you how to live. But learning bava kama is living! - Rav Avigdor Miller ZT'L

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