Jews for Lynchin’

Dateline 2015.10.14—Ynet published an article by Orthodox Tzohar Rav Stav pointing out the immorality of harming Arabs who are not perps (perpetrators) or terrorist perps who are down for the count and no longer a threat. Many commenters flame Rav Stav, venting their rage while advocating “street justice”—lynching. Are Jews no better than KKK or Muslim lynchers? (photos—scroll down to photos of Muslim Arab lynchers in the commentary to Tor•âh pâ•râsh•at Ma•sᵊei (masei) in the Nᵊtzâr•im on-line beit kᵊnësët.)

Rav Stav’s initial declaration is unequivocally correct: “people who are not involved in murderous activities and those who no longer pose a danger must not be harmed”. The reciprocal is lynching. Yet, most of the commenters who criticize Rav Stav’s reminder, themselves advocating lynching, were probably the most vociferous critics when Arabs lynched Israelis.

Sâ•tân is in the details. Rav Stav got off-track in some details of his explanation, exacerbated by some justifiably angry commentators who aren’t seeing clearly. While anger is justified, resulting jaded thinking remains wrong thinking.

Commenters are correct that Israeli law lacks the Tzëdëq of requiting murder with capital punishment adjudicated by the courts (and designating to victims’ families, if they wish, to administer the execution). But that is something society must address, not the the decision of an individual or mob on scene—vigilante lynching. That’s no better than the KKK or Muslim Arabs! Didn’t even the Nazis have at least kangaroo trials?

Where Rav Stav went off-track is by saying, “They deserve to die, but that is not our way.” There are 2 logical errors in this statement. 1. They don’t “deserve” to die until they are convicted by a beit din (i.e., in court). Until then defense is the only justification for shooting (notice: I DIDN’T write “killing”; which should only be incidental, never deliberate). And what Rav Stav was pointing out is that when a terrorist perp is down and stays down, defense can no longer stand in court; ergo, (s)he is no longer a “shootable” threat. The sand in the gears here is that responders can’t always contain their rage like robots. They are human and courts must also recognize their human frailties. 2. Capital punishment most certainly is the Tor•âh Way! Ergo, if it’s not “our” way, then “we” have diverged from the Tor•âh Way—and that is a critical realization.

Many commenters need to educate themselves to the law, and get a grip. Your irresponsible rants may mislead someone to misunderstand the law and commit a terrible deed they cannot undo–because of your irresponsible angry rant. The blood will be on you, the irresponsible ranter, as well.


2 thoughts on “Jews for Lynchin’

  1. I meant to confirm that capital punishment (cp) is an integral part of Tor•âh practice. Since we are practicers of Tor•âh, cp is an integral part of Dërëkh י‑‑ה; which is our Dërëkh.

    I missed seeing the ambiguity of the double entendre when I quoted their phrase (1. cp our way; 2. we do cp our own way, however we wish–which, of course, is untrue).

    You’re right that cp is an integral part of Tor•âh practice; also that the Ha•lâkh•âh interprets the Tor•âh principle as ruling out vigilantism, personal vengeance, lynching or street justice; requiring the imprimatur of a Beit Din that, in turn, required at least 2 eyewitnesses to the alleged crime.

    In the Biblical era, at least 2 eyewitnesses were the best hard evidence that satisfied the Tor•âh principleTzëdëq = an objective and unbiased court judgment based on hard evidence.

    The passage often quoted to support the contrary argument, Pinᵊkhas, in fact, proves the opposite of what vigilantes argue: a check of the context documents that Pinᵊkhas was acting at the explicit order of the Beit Din, not his own, independent, personal (or extra-legal) judgment!

    To remain Tzëdëq today, this Tor•âh principle (Ha•lâkh•âh), must be brought up-to-date with today’s modern science and technology. While the best evidence in the Biblical era were two or more eyewitnesses (more than one, precluding a vindictive liar from “proving” his or her own allegation), modern scientific experiments have repeatedly proven that eyewitnesses are notoriously mistaken due to faulty memory and unreliable. Thus, the Biblical-era standard of eyewitnesses satisfying this principle are today superseded, for one example, by DNA-evidence, surveillance video meeting chain-of-evidence criteria and the like.

    And you’re right also, that requiring such hard evidence entirely rules out “street justice” based on suspicion or because one may look or act a little odd. It is also clear from this that Tor•âh intends not to pry into privacy (where there are neither eyewitnesses not themselves complicit, nor hard evidence of crime) that doesn’t cause involuntary harm to others. Tor•âh is tuned to the human condition that no one is perfect while aimed at protecting, and providing remedy and Tzëdëq to others, the Tor•âh society (Yi•sᵊr•â•eil), from harm and injustice.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like the passion in this, the more so because the passion hugs the legal line.

    A question though: Is it your statement that “capital punishment is our way”? The truth of this statement seems more complex than simple, in that Torah provides for (even seems to require) capital punishment but restricts its execution (so to speak) with rules of evidence that make it difficult if not impossible.

    Liked by 1 person

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