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Punishments for Law-Breakers?

The rabbi's claim is based on his own personal interpretation of some Torah laws written by Rambam in Mishneh Torah. However, his interpretation is different from the interpretation that is accepted by the majority of the rabbinical Torah-law authorities. In fact, it altogether doesn't fit with the straightforward words that Rambam wrote.
The actual Torah law, in practice, is the interpretation that is accepted by the majority of the rabbinical authorities. So most of the rabbi's claims do not correspond to the real Torah law.

In regard to Noahide courts, see topics 10-12 in Chapter 1 of "The Divine Code," 3rd Edition, Part VIII (Establishment of Laws and Courts), by Rabbi Moshe Weiner of Jerusalem, which is posted here:

What Rambam writes in Laws of Kings, chapters 5 and 6, is about Torah Laws that apply when there is a proper king and a proper Sanhedrin court of 70 sages ruling over the Jewish people in the land of Israel.

In that context, there are two types of war that the king is permitted to wage:
- a "commanded" war that is obligatory as commanded in Torah Law
- an "optional" war

An "optional" war is only fought against the people in an area of land that is adjacent to the border of the nation of Israel, and it can ONLY be conducted if it is approved by a proper Sanhedrin court of 70 sages. So it does NOT apply in our times.

The only type of "commanded" war that is relevant to this discussion is a war of self-defense. If a Jewish nation in the land of Israel is attacked, the king is commanded to fight a war of self-defense, and he does not need to have approval from a Sanhedrin court. (Even if the Jewish people in Israel do not have a king, they are still obligated to fight in self-defense against attackers, G-d forbid.)

If the Jewish king (or some other type of Jewish government) of the land of Israel fights a war of self-defense, and in the process conquers an area of the enemy's land and subjugates the inhabitants to be under his authority, the king has the right to impose laws upon them, to the extent that those laws are consistent with Torah law.

In regard to the nation of Israel itself when it has a Jewish government, Rambam writes that according to Torah law, the government may not give a Gentile permission to live in Israel or pass through it unless he accepts to observe the Seven Noahide Commandments. To date, the government over the modern nation of Israel has not been Torah observant, and such a law has never been enacted. If such a law ever was about to be enacted, the Gentiles who did not agree to observe the 7 Noahide Commandments would leave in advance.

In Laws of Kings ch. 8, Rambam writes that IF a Jewish government in the nation of Israel were to enact such a law (that Gentiles are only permitted to live in Israel if they accept the Noahide Commandments) AND IF Israel did later fight a war of self-defense against an enemy nation and a Jewish soldier fighting in the enemy territory wants a Gentile women from there to be his wife, he can bring her back to Israel to convert her after a period of time to Judaism so he can then marry her. If the aforementioned law was in place, that would be the only way for a Gentile who is not observant of the Noahide Commandments to be allowed entry to the nation of Israel. But if he then decided before she converted that he didn't want her to be his wife, and if she then declined to convert, she must be granted 12 months to live freely in the nation of Israel before she has to accept to observe the 7 Noahide Commandments. This is a very obscure case, and even if it were to ever become possible in the future, the understanding of Torah is that the Jewish soldiers in that situation should be greatly discouraged from taking such an action.

Obviously, all of that has no relevance to our time, and in the absence of a valid Sanhedrin court of 70 sages, it is only talking about a situation in the nation of Israel itself or an area of enemy territory that is captured and subjugated by the nation of Israel in the course of a war of self-defense.

It is also not correct to say that about the King Moshiach (the Messiah) when he comes, may it be speedily in our days.

Rambam writes in Laws of Kings 11:4 that when G-d sends the King Moshiach, it is possible that he may have to fight wars of self-defense against attacking enemies in order to secure the borders of the nation of Israel and establish his kingship there. Once he establishes his kingship (hopefully without the need for any wars), he will then build the Third Holy Temple, gather all the Jews to Israel, install a valid Sanhedrin court, and govern the land of Israel according to Torah law.

After all of that, the truth of the One G-d and the truth of Torah will be obvious to all the Gentiles in the world, and they will all have repented from their idolatries and false beliefs. It is prophesied in the Hebrew Bible that the King Moshiach will then lead them all in peace to unite in serving G-d (see Tzephaniah 3:9). The Kingdom of G-d will be established over the entire world, and G-d will remove the evil inclination from the hearts of all people. Everyone's occupation from then on will be to gain more and deeper knowledge of G-d, which will be taught by the King Moshiach (see Isaiah 11:9). That is the prophesied Messianic Era, up until the Resurrection of the Dead, which will be the beginning of the eternal World to Come.

As it stands now, when the Jewish government in the land of Israel does not (and is not willing to) take on any of the types of authority mentioned above, the only obligation and right that the Jews have in regard to this matter anywhere is to make an effort through peaceful explanations to persuade Gentiles to accept the 7 Noahide Commandments. Jews are exempt from this obligation in times, places and situations for which it would be dangerous for a Jew to do this.

This answer was reviewed and approved by Rabbi Moshe Weiner, Jerusalem, author of "Sheva Mitzvot HaShem" and "The Divine Code."

Messages In This Thread
Punishments for Law-Breakers? - by davidPeterson - 04-04-2011, 04:28 AM
RE: Punishments? - by Director Michael - 04-10-2011, 03:15 PM
RE: Punishments? - by davidPeterson - 04-20-2011, 12:40 AM
RE: Punishments? - by Director Michael - 04-21-2011, 03:00 PM
RE: Punishments? - by davidPeterson - 04-21-2011, 08:41 PM
RE: Punishments? - by Director Michael - 04-29-2011, 12:09 AM
RE: Punishments? - by Director Michael - 07-02-2011, 04:58 AM
RE: Punishments? - by brandynpublic - 12-09-2011, 06:15 PM
RE: Punishments? - by Director Michael - 12-14-2011, 11:25 AM
RE: Punishments for Law-Breakers? - by amenyahu - 03-16-2013, 07:17 AM
RE: Punishments for Law-Breakers? - by Director Michael - 01-13-2019, 01:07 PM
Ignorance - by Emmanuel Villegas - 06-22-2011, 10:01 PM
Societal laws and punishments - by amenyahu - 03-13-2013, 09:00 AM
Death Penalty - by brandynpublic - 12-27-2015, 10:25 AM
Execution - by Stittad - 01-10-2019, 07:42 AM

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