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Dying To Teach Torah

Rebbe Akiva endangered his life and was eventually killed because he publicly taught Torah. Wow!! Problem is that one is NOT PERMITTED to risk ones life in order to keep any Mitzva in the Torah besides the three cardinal sins [See Rambam at the beginning of the fifth perek of Hilchos Yesodai Hatorah]?

Please help me.

i don't rmemeber where in yeshiva i heard this, but even the smallest mitzva B'farhesiya becomes yaharog v'al ya'avor. is anyone familiar with a source for this?

t is true that Yesodei haTorah 5:2 limits the hereg ve'al yaavor to the three cardinal sins. However, one halacha later (5:3), Rambam qualifies this with the following:

וכל הדברים האלו שלא בשעת הגזרה אבל בשעת הגזרה...יהרג ואל יעבור אפילו על אחת משאר מצוות

"All of these things (ie: that you cannot allow yourself to be killed rather than commit a sin, aside from the Big-3) apply when it is not in a time of religious persecution, however in such a time...one should allow oneself to be killed rather than transgress any mitzva"

This is all based on Sanhedrin 74a (4 lines from the bottom, which Rambam quotes nearly verbatim, adding in the part about Gezeira being like Nevuchadneztar).

So why can't we simply say that Rebbe Akiva defined his time (when the Romans were prohibiting public Torah study, among other things) as a time of gezeirat hamalchut, in which everything becomes יהרג ואל יעבור?

Sorry for posting here - I didn't see your reply.

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About me

  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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