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September 07, 1979 - Image 44

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1979-09-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Friday, September 1, 1919

44

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

No one can make you
Lelyveld to Head
feel inferior without your
NEW YORK Rabbi
consent.
—Eleanor Roosevelt Arthur J. Lelyveld will be
installed as president of the
Synagogue Council of
WOMEN'S
America on Wednesday.
Rabbi Lelyveld is senior
AMERICAN ORT
rabbi of Fairmount Temple,
Cleveland. He is a past
has 137,000 active,
dedicated, socially
aware members. Join
RALPH
the women of ORT to-
YAMRON'S
day.
Orchestra
Music For All Occasions

Call
355-9151

Synagogue Unit

By RABBI SAMUEL FOX

(Copyright 1979, JTA, Inc.)

968-0021

RABBI LELYVELD

IOil 4141 j
IN
1 1 /
W
7.

W.C.
Trojan

INVITATIONS? - -Z,
-.7 Hattie Schwartz ip'j
< ‘
Of Course!

-

"Son of C. Trojan"



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BAR MITZVAS? WEDDINGS?

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Jewish Law, Capital Punishment

president of the American
Jewish Congress and the
Central Conference of
American Rabbis and was
national director of the Bnai
Brith Hillel Foundations.

The most extraordi-
nary trait of the Jews was
that they actually strove to
make the vision of their
prophets into the common
deeds of their lives.
—Waldo Frank

FOR THE DISCRIMINATING SENIOR
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A study of the Jewish
attitude towards capital
punishment as reflected in
the Bible and in the ensuing
rabbinic literature presents
a somewhat enigmatic pic-
ture.
On the one hand, the
Bible lists a number of
transgressions for which
the death penalty is
prescribed as the fitting
punishment.
On the other hand, the
value of life and the regard
for the preservation of the
existence of human kind is a
paramount principle of
Jewish law.
The Talmud contains
many references to the kind
of crimes that result in the
death penalty; yet the rules
of evidence in the Talmud
and in the rabbinic litera-
ture are so stringent it be-
comes next to impossible to

carry out the death penalty.

One source in the Tal-
mud tells us that a rab-
binic court who would
execute one prisoner in
70 years is considered a
murderous body. The
resolution of this seeming
contradiction presents
an interesting analysis.
The frequent reference to
the death penalty in the
Bible is an indication of the
severity of the transgres-
sion. Yet only the Almighty,
whose knowledge is perfect,
has the absolute right to
take a human life. This
right has been transferred
to man—but only in the
rarest circumstance.
It is for this reason that
the Talmud sometimes re-
fers to a penalty called
"death by the hands of
heaven." The general idea is
that sins which are
classified as bringing the
death penalty are consid-
ered those to be deserving of
death if their proof could be
established beyond any
doubt and according to the
strictest rules of evidence.
The fact that it may often
not be conclusively proven
does not lessen the severity
of the crime, which, in such
a case becomes a matter be-
tween the individual and
the Almighty.
It is interesting to note
that when the safety of the
community is at stake, e.g.,
in the case of an informer
and spy who endangers the
security of the community,
the rabbinical court often
felt obligated to execute the

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Between 1955 and 1967,
it was estimated that Egypt
received more than $1 bil-
lion in Soviet arms, another
$1 billion in Soviet eco-
nomic aid and more than
$650 million in economic
assistance from Eastern
Europe and China. The
arms were supplied at
knock-down prices
($600,000 for a MiG fighter)
in exchange for cotton and
with long-term, cheap
money credits. Israel had to
pay much more, plus inter-
est for comparable planes.

right to sacrifice one indi-
vidual for the sake of the
community, is, in the case of
an informer, obligated to
execute the informer who
did not show this same qual-
ity of compassion for his fel-
low citizens in the commu-
nity.
• •

offender in order-to save the
community. An informer,
who has no mercy on the
welfare of the community,
forfeits his right to expect
the community to have
mercy upon him.
The community, who
otherwise would have no

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