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 […]

Judges and Grudges

The petition of Zelafhad’s daughters to Moshe emphasized that their father “was not in the company of them that gathered themselves together against the Lord in the company of Korah; but died in his own sin”: א וַתִּקְרַבְנָה בְּנוֹת צְלָפְחָד, בֶּן-חֵפֶר בֶּן-גִּלְעָד בֶּן-מָכִיר בֶּן-מְנַשֶּׁה, לְמִשְׁפְּחֹת, מְנַשֶּׁה בֶן-יוֹסֵף; וְאֵלֶּה, שְׁמוֹת בְּנֹתָיו–מַחְלָה נֹעָה, וְחָגְלָה וּמִלְכָּה וְתִרְצָה. ב […]