Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The prohibition against murder


Mitzvah 34 prohibits killing an innocent person. The Sefer haChinuch ties this law back to Gd’s initial instruction to His creations, "Produce fruit and multiply." Gd told the world that He is interested in seeing it filled with life, and we are instructed not to act against His desire.

One might be surprised that the same Torah could prohibit taking a life and yet provide for capital punishment , but the Sefer haChinuch’s linkage to "Produce fruit and multiply" provides a justification: Certain criminal actions work against Gd’s stated desire to see the world filled with life, and so Gd declares that for those cases, execution actually supports Gd’s overall mission.

Hiring a murderer, causing a death indirectly and committing suicide are all included within this prohibition, although the penalties vary. (Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Rotzeiach 2:2)

Have a great day,

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