Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Chayav Mita - Rabbinical death penalty for gentiles

Note: "Chayav Mita" - deserving of the death penalty.

Ask The Rabbi

Bournemouth, Dorset, England

Q: I have heard the Halacha that a non-Jew who keeps Shabbat is Chayav Mita. Can you please tell me the source of this Halacha and also its reason?

A: The reason why a gentile that keeps Shabbos is chayav mita, is that G-d created the world with the purpose of keeping it going and functioning. Everyone must participate in the continuation of the world by working and building. The Jews who accepted the Shabbos, were free of that obligation, since they had accepted the testimony that G-d is the Creator, and that all of our creating stems from Him. Hence we do not work on the Sabbath in order to show that He is the source of all the creation. But the gentile who does not have that commandment to rest and testify about the creation, he is not fulfilling his purpose in the world, which is to create and continue the world. Hence his punishment is death, since he is not fullfilling his function.

Best wishes from,

Rabbi Israel Pesach Feinhandler
Author of Avney Yashpeh and Beloved Companions
2/12 Gedera St.
Jerusalem, Israel 94427
telephone: 972-2-5371447
fax: 972-2-537-2658
e-mail: feinhan@aquanet.co.il
web site: http://www.shemayisrael.co.il/ask


Cecelia Plechinger
Pittsburgh PA USA

Q: Somebody from Dorset, England asked you if Goyim observing Shabbos is "Chayav Mita" and why. I was confused by the reply. What does "Chayav Mita" mean and why is a Goy not to also rest in thanks for Creation. Creation was already done and the world is continued today by the goodness of haShem and by the labors of all the people in the world except that the Jews must not labor on Shabbos. The Goyim are not required to rest on Shabbos, but if they wish to, why is the "not fulfilling their puropose?"

Dear Cecelia,

A: It is really hard to understand why our Sages say that such a harsh punishment as death is deserved for a gentile that keeps Shabbos. We cannot fully understand but we can give some understanding. The purpose of the goy is to make a world that is liveable so that the Jews who are the real purpose of the world will have somewhere to live and be able to serve G-d which is the purpose of the whole creation. When the goy is keeping Shabbos, he is saying that he is not willing to be the one who will make the world liveable, but rather he wishes to be the one who is testifying about the creation. That he is not allowed to do since it is not his task in life, and he is not fullfilling his purpose.

Q: What about somebody planning to convert and is observing Shabbos in order to make sure that he or she can do it before actually converting. This person is certainly a Goy observing Shabbos. What is the differnce, if any, in this case and the case of a Goy who does not want to convert, but observes Shabbos for some other reason?

A: Even when a person wishes to convert, he must desecrate the shabbos at least once during every shabbos so that he shall not be over this prohibition. So you see that he has the same din as any other goy.

Best wishes from,
Rabbi Israel Pesach Feinhandler

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?