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  • Writer's pictureAliza Davidovit

DAY #6: Thou shalt not murder!--Are you sure you didn’t kill anyone?

Thou shalt not murder.” Most people tend to sigh a breath of relief when landing on this commandment thinking this is an easy one to keep. But it’s not as easy a test to pass as you might think. Know that embarrassing a person in public, according to the Talmud, is tantamount to murder. [Bava Metzia 59a] “Just as blood is spilled in the act of murder, so too when one is shamed the blood drains from that person’s face.”[Chabad] It’s actually a double murder because not only is the embarrassed person considered murdered, but the perpetrator who does the embarrassing loses his own share in the World to Come.

Slandering and gossiping about people can kill their reputations and ruin their lives and you can effectively kill their potential with your dagger-like tongue. The Talmud teaches that “evil gossip kills three: the one who says it, the one who listens, and the subject of the gossip.” A person may commit many sins but gossiping puts one in a dangerous situation, the sages teach that all of one’s gossiping words come as a prosecuting angel against the gossiper in the Heavenly Court pleading for the person’s destruction.

Back to the killing fields, know that wasting semen is a Torah prohibition according to all authorities and the Talmud says it is tantamount to murder. We may they think the rabbis are exaggerating, as we always do when we hate what they tell us, except that we see in the Torah that God Himself kills Judah’s sons Er and Onan for the sin of spilling seed.

For certain a person is not allowed to kill himself either by suicide or by seriously neglecting his health which could lead to death. The Rambam teaches that a person’s body is not his own: we must take the upmost care and be vigilant custodians of our well-being until God decides to call us home. “Human life is so precious that even closing the eyes of a dying person, hastening death by mere seconds, makes one a full-fledged murderer and liable to the same punishment as one who killed a healthy individual”(Semachot 1:4). Judaism even prohibits self-incrimination if the death penalty is in consideration and a person cannot be a witness against himself.

In the spiritual realm, according to the Kabbalah, every time we sin we are in fact guilty of killing and spilling the blood of our Godly soul and feeding it into our animal soul. [via Rabbi Aaron Raskin]. So, did you pass the test?


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