Yetzer Harah “Defense” Under Halacha
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- This topic has 6 replies, 9 voices, and was last updated 5 years, 4 months ago by Gadolhadorah.
September 26, 2017 9:56 pm at 9:56 pm #1371498
There was a current news article posted on YWN yesterday about an assault on a woman in BB where the assailant is asserting a “yetzer harah defense as distinct from mental incapacity. Is there such a mitigating factor under halacha that legitimizes the notion that some individuals are powerless to control their actions against an all-powerful YH?September 27, 2017 11:59 am at 11:59 am #1371857JJ2020Participant
I am not sure how one could possibly prove that his yetzer horah is so strong that it was impossible for him to do otherwise.
Although when it comes to addictions maybe it’s different?September 28, 2017 9:05 am at 9:05 am #1372611JosephParticipant
It’s like the DUI defense. “You’re Honor I’m not responsible for the crime since I was under the influence of alcohol.”September 28, 2017 10:50 am at 10:50 am #1372669zahavasdadParticipant
A better question should have been, Is Not guilty by reason of Insanity a valid defense under halacha. There really are insane people (I didnt say this guy, but in general there are)September 28, 2017 10:50 am at 10:50 am #1372719
To be contrarian, in the beis din shel ma’alah this coming weekend, my counsel will argue that since it was the Ebeshter himself who created the yetzer harah and endowed me with same, my yielding to its influence cannot and should not be held against me….I’m sure there will be some “objections” by the prosecution but hopefully will be successful….September 28, 2017 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm #1372741GAONParticipant
“Is there such a mitigating factor under halacha that legitimizes the notion that some individuals are powerless to control their actions against an all-powerful YH?”
Halacha? No. (though we do find by anusa techila where at the end she was not anusa – the Gemara כתובות נא gives a reason יצר אלבשה” – but there has to be Anusa Techila.)
But there is such a concept Al Pi Kabalah/Chasidus; see sefer May HoShaloach of the Ishbitzer Rebbe R MY Leiner ZTL how he explains the story of Zimri in Parshas Pinchas (or Balak), and is quoted by his Talmid Rav Tzodek haCohen.September 28, 2017 1:47 pm at 1:47 pm #1372874👑RebYidd23Participant
It’s like the “my hand did it” excuse.September 28, 2017 3:15 pm at 3:15 pm #1372960🐵 ⌨ GamanitParticipant
For the “my hand did it” you answer “so let’s cut off the hand and put it on trial”. Here he’s claiming the yetzer hora took control of his body. Unfortunately for him, if he unable to prevent the yetzer hora from doing so in future since society has a right to protect itself…September 28, 2017 3:29 pm at 3:29 pm #1372964👑RebYidd23Participant
Brain transplant?October 1, 2017 8:00 am at 8:00 am #1374198ChortkovParticipant
There are certain situations which fall below the Bechira level, which – according to R’ Dessler – renders the perpetrator unaccountable for his transgressions. Nevertheless, putting oneself in a situation where one will fall below his level of control is enough to hold him accountable for transgressing.
Regardless of this, however, no-one has ever got himself off the hook in Beis Din for claiming that the sin he did was below his level of Bechira. בית דין של מעלה may accept that, but in our Beis Din, if you do the forbidden act after accepting the warning from two valid witnesses, we punish you.
There is one place where we find the Yetzer Hara defence in practical Halacha, although the parameters of this defence are subject to large scale debate in the achronim. The Gemara in Kesuvos 51b mentions a concept of יצרה אלבשה, which is enough that we consider – even in this world – certain situations as אונס, not רצון.
See also Kiddushin 40a, although not entirely relevant.
(Of course, this does not apply to disgusting people who have taivos and have no self control.)November 2, 2017 12:28 am at 12:28 am #1394141LightbriteParticipant
Wait; I’m curious what ended up happening Gadolhadorah?November 2, 2017 7:37 am at 7:37 am #1394145
My understanding is that the Court didn’t even address the YH argument and that he was found guilty of assault . Not sure if he has been sentenced and/or what the punishment was.
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