Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Torah's prohibition against kidnapping


The Torah’s prohibition against kidnapping is actually worded as a generic warning, "Do not steal." Its textual context, though, deals with life-and-death issues, and crimes punishable by capital punishment, and so the sages understood this to refer specifically to stealing a life, i.e. kidnapping. Separate biblical prohibitions address armed robbery as well as breaking-and-entering. This prohibition also applies for non-Jews, under the general Noachide prohibition against theft.

Kidnapping is about more than the basic crime of stealing a person; our prophets invoked the image of kidnapping in rebuking the Jews for taking advantage of the needy and helpless. Amos (2:6), for example, indicted the Jews for, "selling the righteous for silver, and the pauper for shoes." He cited the sale of Yosef as an example of such venal brutality, and he noted (5:15) that we should act as the remnant of Yosef rather than re-enact the sale of Yosef for profit.

Have a good day,

No comments:

Post a Comment