Thursday, July 20, 2006

Jewish Law and Torture II

Following up on this post, I saw that R. Chaim Shmuelevitz (in Sichos Mussar but more fully in Peninim Mi-Shulchan Gavohah from a taped lecture) points out that of the three advisors who were, according to the midrash, in the discussion with Pharoah on how to subjugate the Jews, Bilam did the worst and in this week's parashah was killed in battle (Num. 31:8) while Iyov did less (he just was silent) and had tremendous suffering. The lesson is that any life, even full of suffering, is better than death. Not quite equivalent of torture vs. killing, but indicative that causing someone to die is worse than causing someone to suffer.

R. Michael J. Broyde was kind enough to send me his full article on torture in Jewish law, available for download here (PDF).

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