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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It's Good To Be King (Part 4:More Svara)

According to our second interpretation of Rashi (the Rambam), the TK and RY are arguing in every case of execution by the King.  Their machlokes even encompasses cases of crimes which are not directly against the King, such as murderers with one witness. It would seem difficult to apply the same svara here.

The position of RY is essentially the same as the first way to understand Rashi (M'eiri).  All people executed by the King come under the דין משפט of the King.  Therefore, the heirs inherit the estate.

The position of the TK is where the M'eiri and the Rambam disagree.  According to the M'eiri (as explained in the previous post), the TK fundamentally agrees with RY, that דין משפט carries with it the powers of execution as is evidenced when the King executes the murderer.  Their dispute is over how halacha views the sin of sedition.

According to the Rambam however, the TK disputes the very idea that the דין משפט of the King includes the power to execute.  Only a regular court may put someone to death.  All the people who are killed by the King are conquered under the דין כיבוש, even murderers.

How can murderers be treated as traitors to the King, and therefore be subject to כיבוש?  The answer is that by murdering one of the King's subjects, the murderer is undermining the order and justice of the entire kingdom.  The Rambam explains (hilchos rotzaoch 4:9) why only a murderer is killed by beis din under certain conditions and no other sinner:
ואין עושין דבר זה לשאר מחוייבי מיתת בית דין אבל אם נתחייב מיתה ממיתין אותו ואם אינו חייב מיתה פוטרין אותו שאע"פ שיש עונות חמורין משפיכות דמים אין בהן השחתת יישובו של עולם כשפיכות דמים  אפילו ע"ז ואין צריך לומר עריות או חילול שבת אינן כשפיכות דמים
Murder destroys the kingdom like no other crime.  The murderer is viewed not simply as a criminal, but as someone attacking the kingdom itself.  Through the powers of  כיבוש, the King kills the murderer and is entitled to the estate as spoils of war.


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