Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Executioner

Parshat Shoftim

This sounds like the title to a John Grisham novel, or a Harrison Ford movie. but it is not.

The passuk tells us in 17:7 that if one worships other gods, etc., we bring him t judgement with witnesses, etc., and when the death sentence is meted out, "the hand of the witnesses will be first to kill him, and then the hands of the ntion, You shall remove the evil from your midst."

Why must the witnesses get their hands dirty and also play the role of executioner? Why not have the executioner of the Beis Din perform the execution?

It is a fairly easy thing for two people to show up in court and testify against someone else (truthfully of course. I am not talkign about them possibly fabricating their stories). There would be no reprcussions and nothing for them to worry about. By making them follow through and carry out the execution, we are making it much more serious. They have to realize that they are not one small part of a process, but everything is hinged on them and they will be the ones up front getting their hands dirty performing the execution.

If that does not sober them up, nothing will.

They, and the rest of the nation if necessary, must be prepared to act on their findings and eradicate evil from amongst them.


socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Nice title, nice words.

Rafi G said...


whatsinaname (formerly team driver) said...

yea but wouldn't that simply promote not testifying. One thing i always wondered is the following: we place a lot of fear onto witnesses to deter false testimony. These days people run from being a witness. They want nothing to do with it. People are afraid they will say something which will endanger themselves or their lives. Maybe what they saw was a mob hit. Maybe the murderer will come to find me. People today run from being witnesses. Wouldn't this only promote the concept of a scared witness? Its bad enough to send someone to death row, but to pull the switch too? No one will testify anymore... just a thought...

Rafi G said...

I considered that too. I do not have an answer right now other than to say it is a mitzva and you get punished by beis din if they find out you witnessed but did not testify..
they want you to testify but make sure you get it right..