Why the Gay Pride Parade Stabber is a Murderer

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20150730173112 (1)by Rabbi Yair Hoffman for the Five Towns Jewish Times

Labelling someone a murderer when no one was murdered is a serious allegation. Nonetheless, it seems that this is the conclusion that must be drawn when confronted with the halachic evidence –anyone who stabs another with a wound that has the potential to kill someone is labelled a murderer. But first, let’s begin with the facts:

According to a report on the Yeshiva World, six people were stabbed this past Thursday afternoon during Jerusalem’s annual gay pride parade and one Jewish suspect was arrested.

Yeshiva World News reports, “The wounded received treatment at the scene and were evacuated to hospitals. Two were considered to be in serious condition and another was in critical condition.

The attacker is Yishai Schlisel who also stabbed people at the parade in Jerusalem 10 years ago and was released 3 weeks ago.

The man ran at the marchers at the corner of Keren Hayesod and Sokolow Street at about 6.45 p.m. He attacked one person after another until the police reached him, Channel 2 reported.

Pictures of the suspect shown on Israeli television showed a man in ultra-Orthodox garb with a kitchen knife stabbing participants in the parade.”

DEFINITION OF HASRAAH

Now let’s analyze the halachic evidence to our above claim. In Halacha the death penalty or the lashes penalty may only be administered by an earthly court if there was a warning issued immediately prior to the crime or action being committed (See Rambam Sanhedrin 12:2, Rashi Chulin 41a). The warning must include the violation as well as the penalty for violating it. This warning is called “Hasraah.”

HASRAAS SAFAIK

But what if there was some doubt associated with the warning – some other element that we are not sure whether it will happen or not – that causes the warning to no longer be immediately before the action being committed? Let’s take as an example a man taking an oath not to eat “loaf B” if he will also eat “loaf A.” The violation of an oath that involves an action is punishable with lashes. If the man was warned before eating “loaf B” (or the oath loaf) he still does not yet incur the lashes penalty because he did not consume “loaf A” (the conditional loaf). The Talmud records a debate about warnings where the it is not clear whether the action or crime will have been committed. The halachic conclusion is that it is indeed considered a valid warning.

THE PROOF

It is clear from Tosfos Kesuvos 15a (“Hasraas Safaik”) that Hasraas Safaik is considered a valid hasraah if and only if the criminal being warned knows that he is definitely violating the crime that he is being warned about.

This is also the view of Tosfos in Bava Kamma 44b (“Havei Lei Palgah uPalgah”). The Talmud in Sanhedrin 76b indicates that when dealing with metal striking someone in a manner that could kill a person perforce must be considered a violation of the Torah prohibition of “Lo Sirtzach” the murder warning issued by the witnesses.
Now, it happens to be that if the victim does not end up dying – there is an exemption, an exclusion, in the punishment that the murderer receives. However, the action that he did is considered and fully labelled an “act of murder” according to Tosfos – even if the victim did not die.

There are further proofs to this position that are cited in Sefer Zichron Tzvi Meir vol. XIV (siman 33.)

We find a similar concept espoused by Rav Moshe Feinstein zatzal (see Igros Moshe OC II #7) in regard to the term “Maisis – an enticer.” Rav Moshe states that the term is applicable to anyone who attempts to entice another Jew to violate a Mitzvah in the Torah – it is just that the death penalty is reserved for an enticer who attempts to get a Jew to violate the prohibition of Avodah Zarah – worshipping false gods. Rav Feinstein cites the term Maisis used regarding the snake who tried to convince Chava to eat of the forbidden fruit.

NOT MERE SEMANTICS

The issue, clearly, is not mere semantics. It is important to label violations of Torah law properly, in order to ensure that these violations do not occur in the future, chalilah.
While certainly, marching publically in a parade where an anti-Torah, toayvah lifestyle is proudly upheld is wrong – the people that are marching are still neshamos created in Hashem’s image. Taking matters in one’s own hand like the perpetrator has done, twice, is a complete and utter violation of Torah law and must be denounced by the Torah community.

As Rav Elyashiv zatzal has consistently pointed out, we Torah Jews do things in a Beis Din and not on our own [vigilantism] (Shiur on BM 113a). The verse in Dvarim (17:11) states quite clearly, “Al pi haTorah asher yorucha – according to the Torah that they shall teach” – this refers to the Beis Din – not to one’s own individual feelings about how things ought to be. This is what we must follow and we must sway “neither to the right nor to the left.”

It certainly does not have to be said that we should all be looking at such an act with a sense of disgust and anathema.

CULTIVATING A FEELING OF ANATHEMA

Rav Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler zt”l (in Michtav M’Eliyahu Vol. II p. 548) explains that in the time of Yehoshua, all of Israel was punished with the loss at the battle of Ai, even though it was only one member of the entire nation of Israel that had actually sinned. Why then was the entire nation punished? Rav Dessler explains that it was because they did not look with anathema at anyone who might violate the command of Yehoshua not to touch the spoils of war.

The lesson is clear. We must unequivocally and immediately verbalize how horrified we are at such action, so that Chalilah we not tolerate violence like this among ourselves.

The author can be reached at [email protected]


16 COMMENTS

  1. WELL SAID…BUT I BELIEVE THAT THIS FELLOW THOUGHT HE WAS DOING THE RIGHT THING — “DEFENDING THE KEDUSHA OF IHR HAKOIDESH YERUSHALAYIM – THE PALTERIN SHEL MELECH!!! IT WAS STATED THAT HE DID A SIMILAR ACT 10 YEARS AGO AND WAS JUST LET OUT… QUESTION IS–WHY DID NOT ANY RABBONIM INFORM HIM DURING HIS INCARCERATION OR IMMEDIATELY THEREAFTER—-THAT IT IS FORBIDDEN TO THIS ACT AS IT IS RETZICHA!! IF THAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENNED AND HE STILL DID THE ACT HE IS AN AVARYON AFTER HASRAAH!!! OBVIOUSLY HE DIDN’T CHANGE HIS TAINTED CHESHBONOS OF KANO-US.. QUESTION REMAINS WHETHER THE RABBONIM CHASTISED HIM AFTER HIS FIRST ACT!!!!!

  2. Kano’us? Gimme a break! He is stabbing people with a kitchen knife! We are talking about a seriously mentally imbalanced person. Who is indeed a danger to society. He should be locked up in an institution- not a jail.

  3. Why is it perfectly understood to all that marching down the streets of Jerusalem with a poster of Mohammed and a pig would not be tolerated for one second but a demonstration like what took place in Jerusalem today is perfectly ok? This parade should never have gotten approval for fear of unleashing a cauldron of culture war that the likes of the world has not seen.

  4. The toeivahs have no right to provoke violence in Yerushalayim. Let them have their parade in Moscow, Russia or Riyadh, Saudi Arabia or any other arab country. They come to Yerushalayim because today’s Jews are confused with political correctness. The toeivahs don’t belong in Ir Hakodesh. Send them away, now.

    We have no right to stab, wound or maim anyone and the perpetrator, even though he had noble intentions is a mental case and must be treated as such. On the other hand, the toeivahs are sick, sick individuals who need medical and psychological help. We must stop encouraging this choice of personal perversion.

  5. Anyone going to the parade is a masis and a madiach so why are they not chayav Misa without hasrah. Yes and anyone that could stop them should stop them. I don’t see how he us a murderer.

  6. The fact that we need an article to explain to people how wrong it is to murder people who are simply walking down a street, shows how messed up our people are. We all have issues. Let’s stop judging everyone. Many of these pro gay people are full of love and kindness but have mental issues or a really big yetzer hara. The people who are happy about this attack, on the other hand, are full of anger and hate and really need to work on their middos and learn Torah properly to fix their sick souls (unless they merely have mental health issues and should then see a psychologist).

  7. Why is it that this person is deemed a mental case? When the Arab kills no one thinks he is crazy. He is a fanatic, perhaps a terrorist but never a mental case. Responsible for this parade is every individual who just takes this nonsense on a regular basis. How much funding will the kollelim get is what the haredi parties are known to demand. Eveyone knows ayn torah ay. Kemach or government. But after 2000 years of saying vsechzena aynaynu from afar, the Jewish people return to their holy city to allow this outrage. it never should have come to this if every g-d fearing jew in israel would have said we are coming to yerushalayim and giving you a demo that would mske the Etheopean demo look like child’s play.

  8. Pinchos was also a murderer yet the torah tells us hes the holiest man, that because of him the magaifah stopped. #6 nobody is judging them we know they have a mental disorder which makes them gay we dont go around ostracizing gay people but when they put it in your face thats a whole nother story why is it ok for them to stick it in our face and when they get the response they surly expected then we the straight people are to blame

  9. I can’t believe there are people trying to defend this lunatic. Today he tried to kill these marchers. What would stop him from G-d forbid trying to kill anyone else he thinks is not doing Hashem’s will. The way he thinks it should be done.

  10. Rabbi hoffman,

    With all due respect.Why is this the issue that has you call out that people need to rebuke such behavior or else they are reponsable themselves?

    What about everything going on in our communities with schools not letting girls in or other things I don’t need to mention. There should be public rebuke to that sort of behavior by the rabonim as well. In fact I could argue those examples are worse as they attack the moral fabric of Judaism and let people think the actions are ok.

  11. I could not follow this essay’s reasoning. It starts by asking if an attempted murderer has the status of a murderer, presumably in halacha. (What else?) It says that he evidence is that it does. No evidence is offered. And the rest follows suit.

    I appreciate the need to condemmn attemted murder. Fully.

    Why however, is murder worse in our eyes than mishkav zchur? The Torah – considering its treatment of the to – considers the latter more reprehensible.

    Rabbi Hoffman, can we please have an article denouncing mishkav zchur?

  12. @lebidik_yankel, I think the author’s point is that attempted murder results in the attacker being known as a “murderer.” At the Toeiva parade, it can’t be discerned who is not worthy of being stoned, i.e. participants that are not homosexual males; one of the victims was a female. Nevertheless, It’s likely he had some sort of svara that he held of in his attempts to sanctify G-d and his city.

  13. Let’s get real! This guy is NOT Pinchos. Pinchos probably thought long and hard and asked Daas Torah before he killed Cosbi and Zimri. Does anyone seriously believe that our attacker the mental capacity to think before he acted this way?
    To me he’s just like those extremist ‘Muslims’ who go around shooting people in the name of religion. They are twisted and belong in a mental institution for life!

  14. Not commenting on if this was right or wrong, but #14, Pinchas did not ask anyone before he did what he did. Rashi says clearly that Hashem made everyone forget the Halacha so that Pinchas could get the reward that was coming to him. On the other hand, the Rambam says that in order to be allowed to do it you it has to be when they are in the act. Maybe when they are marching proudly about it it has the same halacha? I don’t know. But that’s all most of us can say. Maybe R’ Hoffman can write us an article about the halacha of “kanayim pogim bo” when it applies and when it doesn’t. Since it was just a given in this article that it didn’t apply in this case of the parade. Remember, the people in Pinchas’s generation also dismissed this as a case of extremism until Hashem said what he did was right. Most people commenting are talking from emotion, not halacha.

  15. GG boy #14: Pinchos most certainly did not think long and hard and asked Daas Torah before he killed Cosbi and Zimri. He acted impromptu without asking a shaila at all. If he asked, Pinchos would have been told not to.