Here's a great tip:
Enter your email address and we'll send you our weekly magazine by email with fresh, exciting and thoughtful content that will enrich your inbox and your life, week after week. And it's free.
Oh, and don't forget to like our facebook page too!
Printed from chabad.org
All Departments
Jewish Holidays
TheRebbe.org
Jewish.TV - Video
Jewish Audio
News
Kabbalah Online
JewishWoman.org
Kids Zone

Melachim uMilchamot - Chapter 10

Melachim uMilchamot - Chapter 10

E-mail
Halacha 1

A gentile who inadvertently violates one of his commandments is exempt from all punishment with the exception of a person who kills inadvertently. In such an instance, the redeemer of the blood is not executed for slaying the killer, nor may the latter seek asylum in a city of refuge. However, the court will not execute him.

When does the above apply? When he inadvertently violates a command without sinful intention; for example, a person who engages in relations with his colleague's wife under the impression that she is his own wife or unmarried.

If, however, one knew that she was his colleague's wife, but did not know that she was forbidden to him or it occurred to him that this act was permitted or one killed without knowing that it is forbidden to kill, he is considered close to having sinned intentionally and is executed. This is not considered as an inadvertent violation. For he should have learned the obligations incumbent upon him and did not.

Halacha 2

A gentile who is forced by another person to violate one of his commandments is permitted to transgress. Even if he is forced to worship false gods, he may worship them. For gentiles are not commanded to sanctify God's name.

A gentile minor, deaf-mute, or fool is never given punishment for they are not bound by any commandments.

Halacha 3

A gentile who converted, was circumcised, and immersed in the mikveh, and, afterwards, decided to forsake God and revert to his previous status as a resident alien is not granted permission to do so. Rather, he must remain as an Israelite in all matters or be executed.

If he was a minor and immersed by the court, he may repudiate his conversion when he attains majority and assume the status of a resident alien alone. However, if he does not object as soon as he attains majority, he is no longer given the opportunity to object and his status is that of a righteous convert.

Therefore, if a Jew has relations with a girl below the age of majority who was immersed in the mikveh by a court, the money due her as payment of her ketubah or as a fine for raping her or seducing her is placed in the custody of the court until she attains majority and does not repudiate her conversion. This step is taken lest she take the money, attain majority, and then, repudiate her conversion. Thus, she would derive benefit as a gentile from monies to which she is only entitled according to Jewish law.

Halacha 4

A gentile who converts after cursing God's name, worshipping false gods, engaging in relations with a colleague's wife, or killing a fellow gentile is exempt from punishment.

In contrast, if he converted after killing a Jew or having relations with a Jew's wife, he is liable. He is decapitated for killing the Jew and strangled to death for engaging in relations with a Jew's wife. He is given the latter punishment because the laws governing him have changed.

Halacha 5

It has already been explained that gentiles are always executed by decapitation except in cases when one engages in relations with the wife of a Jew or a consecrated maiden. In the latter instance, he is stoned to death.

If he engaged in relations with a Jew's wife after they married, but before they ever engaged in relations, he is executed by strangulation.

Halacha 6

According to the Oral Tradition, gentiles are forbidden to cross-breed animals and graft different species of trees together. However, they are not executed for violating this prohibition.

A gentile who gave a Jew a blow is liable to die for causing even the most minimal damage. Nevertheless, he is not executed.

Halacha 7

Only Abraham and his descendants were commanded regarding circumcision as Genesis 17:9-10 states: 'Keep My covenant, you and your offspring... circumcise every male.'

The descendants of Ishmael are excluded as implied by Genesis 21:12: 'It is through Isaac, that your offspring will be called.' Esau's descendants are also excluded, for Isaac told Jacob Genesis 28:4: 'May God grant Abraham's blessing to you and your descendants,' implying that only he is the true offspring of Abraham who maintains his faith and his upright behavior. Thus, they alone are obligated in circumcision.

Halacha 8

Our Sages related that the descendants of Keturah who are the offspring of Abraham that came after Isaac and Ishmael are also obligated in circumcision. Since, at present, the descendants of Ishmael have become intermingled with the descendants of Keturah, they are all obligated to be circumcised on the eighth day. However, they are not executed for failure to perform this mitzvah.

Halacha 9

A gentile who studies the Torah is obligated to die. They should only be involved in the study of their seven mitzvot.

Similarly, a gentile who rests, even on a weekday, observing that day as a Sabbath, is obligated to die. Needless to say, he is obligated for that punishment if he creates a festival for himself.

The general principle governing these matters is: They are not to be allowed to originate a new religion or create mitzvot for themselves based on their own decisions. They may either become righteous converts and accept all the mitzvot or retain their statutes without adding or detracting from them.

If a gentile studies the Torah, makes a Sabbath, or creates a religious practice, a Jewish court should beat him, punish him, and inform him that he is obligated to die. However, he is not to be executed.

Halacha 10

We should not prevent a gentile who desires to perform one of the Torah's mitzvot in order to receive reward from doing so, provided he performs it as required. If he brings an animal to be sacrificed as a burnt offering, we should receive it.

If a gentile who observes the seven mitzvot gives charity, we should accept it from him. It appears to me that it should be given to the Jewish poor for the gentile may derive his sustenance from the Jews and they are commanded to support him if necessary. In contrast, if an idolater gives charity, we should accept it from him and give it to the gentile poor.

Halacha 11

The Jewish court is obligated to appoint judges for these resident aliens to judge them according to these statutes so that the world will not become decadent.

If the court sees fit to appoint the judges from the resident aliens themselves, they may. If it sees fit to appoint them from among the Jews, they may.

Halacha 12

Should two idolaters come before you to have their dispute judged according to Jewish law. If they both desire to be judged according to Torah law, they should be judged accordingly. If one desires to be judged according to Torah law and the other does not, they are only forced to be judged according to their own laws.

If there is a dispute between a Jew and an idolater: If the Jew will fare better according to their laws, they are judged according to their laws. When the judgement is rendered, the judges explain: 'Your law obligates this judgement.' If the Jew will fare better according to our laws, they are judged according to Torah law. When the judgement is rendered, the judges explain: 'Our law obligates this judgement.' It appears to me that this approach is not followed in regard to a resident alien. Rather, he is always judged according to their laws.

Similarly, it appears to me that in regard to respect and honor and also, in regard to charity, a resident alien is to be treated as a Jew for behold, we are commanded to sustain them as Deuteronomy 14:21 states: 'You may not eat any animal that has not been properly slaughtered... give it to the resident alien in your gates that he may eat it.' Though our Sages counseled against repeating a greeting to them, that statement applies to idolaters and not resident aliens.

However, our Sages commanded us to visit the gentiles when ill, to bury their dead in addition to the Jewish dead, and support their poor in addition to the Jewish poor for the sake of peace. Behold, Psalms 145:9 states: 'God is good to all and His mercies extend over all His works' and Proverbs 3:17 states: 'The Torah's ways are pleasant ways and all its paths are peace.'

Published and copyright by Moznaim Publications, all rights reserved.
To purchase this book or the entire series, please click here.
The text on this page contains sacred literature. Please do not deface or discard.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
E-mail
FEATURED ON CHABAD.ORG