Mens Rea Without Actus Reus

My weekly halachah column for parashas Be’Haalosecha: Parashas Be’Ha’alosecha concludes with the episode of Miriam and Aharon “speaking against” Moshe and the consequent affliction of the former with tzara’as. The Torah later (Devarim 24:9) adjures us to “Remember what Hashem thy G-d did unto Miriam”. The Ramban (Sefer Ha’Mitzvos #7), following the Sifri, understands this …

Speaking Truth About Those In the World Of Truth

For S.B. Several years ago, we cited a favorite passage of my father from Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky’s אמת ליעקב, asserting that there is no prohibition of לשון הרע on the dead, and even הוצאת שם רע is only forbidden by Rabbinic institution, and not Biblically prohibited: [באמת] לשון הרע אינו אלא על החיים, ועל מתים …

Tortious Malediction

For S.B., who is a blessing, not a curse. Prof. Eugene Volokh: Prayer as Attempted Murder? A reader asks an interesting question: Some Christian Reconstructionists are urging their fellows to pray for the death of John McCain so that Sarah Palin will be become President. [Example here.] Are those who pray for McCain’s death guilty …