January 30, 2009

Hiring a hit man – a Talmudic analysis

Who bears religious responsibility for a murder via a hit man:  the hired man or the person who hires him?  What sort of guilt does the person who hires a hit man bear?  This is a fascinating example of Jewish analysis of religious law, and if you are interested in how Jewish analysis of religious law works, here is a shiur (lecture) by Rabbi Michael Taubes (from January 17) that you may enjoy.  It is full of excitement, as the audience challenges him.  While this is not exactly your typical sermon, it is quite interesting.  I think this is a wonderful introduction to how Talmudic analysis of Jewish law works.

(Of course, fortunately, in our secular legal system, someone who hires a hit man is fully liable, as a former Reform rabbi, Fred Neulander, discovered when he hired a hit man to murder his wife.  Neulander is currently serving a thirty year to life sentence in the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton.)

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