Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Torah Mitzion update

Well, another good night of learning with the Hesder Torah Mitzion chevra at KINS.

Last night's Halachic topic was is mass suicide permitted in Halacha? There's a source in last week's parsha, Noach where it permitted eating of meat, or more accurately, killing animals. The passuk is Beresheet Perek Tet, Passuk Heh, Ach et damchem L'nafshoteichem Edrosh; And surely your blood of your lives will I require. Rabbeinu Tam wrote in Masechet Avodah Zarah on Daf Yud Chet amud alef (18a), that the passuk indicates that, where they fear, lest idolators pass them into sin (apostasy) as by tortures one cannot withstand, then it is muttar (permissible) to damage oneself. There's a distinction between permitted and obligatory. The Daat Zekeinim holds that this is a warning against one who wishes to strangle oneself. The most famous case in Judaism of mass suicide is at Masada in 73 CE where Elazar Ben Yair spoke to the Jews who didn't want to give into the Romans who were taking over Eretz Yisrael. According to Josephus, Elazar ben Yair would gather his people together to deliver this speeach. Noble Jews, you who decided long ago not to submit to Roman Domination, you must stay strong.

It's a very good topic and hopefully one that isn't Halacha LeMaaseh.

Next Wednesday, Rav Carmel from Yeshivat Eretz Chemdah, will be in Chicago on Wednesday evening to give a shiur.


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