Ask the Rabbi: The right to self-defense

The right to self-defense is well established within Jewish law as manifested by the law of 'rodef' (the pursuer).

By SHLOMO BRODY
December 3, 2010 14:11
4 minute read.
Open to interpretation. The right to self-defense.

home intruder_521. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

The right to self-defense made headlines here in 2007 after Shai Dromi, a Negev farmer, fatally wounded a burglar. In his case, he shot the intruders after attempting to verbally scare them and aimed to only wound them. The location of the hit, however, led to massive bleeding. The case led to a rethinking of Israeli law on the matter which, to a large extent, drew upon Jewish legal sources. This essay will theoretically explore the discussion within Jewish legal theory, with the caveat that readers should clarify the relevant laws for their own locales.

The right to self-defense is well established within Jewish law as manifested by the law of rodef (the pursuer). The sages contended that the verse “You shall not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor” (Leviticus 19:16) not only demands saving a friend from drowning or other dangerous situations but further dictates that one stop an assailant from committing murder (Sanhedrin 73a). This right was extended to both onlookers and threatened victims alike and was also applied in cases of sexual assault. The status of rodef was further applied to a fetus whose mother is endangered by the pregnancy, thereby mandating an abortion, even as the fetus certainly has no malicious intent (CM 425:2-3).

Read More...

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Joan Rivers
August 28, 2014
Joan Rivers rushed to hospital following throat surgery

By JPOST.COM STAFF

Cookie Settings