The Talmudic Case of the “Wayward and Rebellious Son”

A brief passage in the book of Deuteronomy presents the law of the “wayward and rebellious son,” whose parents may bring him before the elders of the city and testify to his bad behavior; after which the elders can sentence him to death by stoning. In the Talmud’s view, this punishment is justified because it prevents this child from growing into an adult who will commit truly heinous crimes; if executed now, “he will die innocent rather than die guilty.” The talmudic sages then go on to impose restrictions on who qualifies for this punishment: there is only a three-month age range during which the child is liable; he must demonstrate that he is, in the Torah’s words, “a glutton and a drunkard” by eating raw (or very rare) meat and drinking Italian wine; he must buy these foods with money stolen from his parents. But, writes Adam Kirsch, the rabbis don’t stop there:

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Read more at Tablet

More about: Deuteronomy, Halakhah, Judaism, Religion & Holidays, Talmud

Thoughts on Yitzhak Rabin’s Assassination, a Quarter-Century On

On the Jewish calendar, today is the 25th anniversary of Prime Minister Yitzḥak Rabin’s assassination at the hands of a fellow Jewish Israeli. Rabin, after a long and impressive career in the military and in politics, had not long beforehand signed the Oslo Accords, and was murdered by a zealous opponent of that decision. Reflecting on the occasion, David Horovitz writes:

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Israeli politics, Oslo Accords, Yitzhak Rabin