(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Torah Forum (c) Project Genesis

Date: Sun, 10 Jan 1999 21:06:56 -0500 (EST)
From: Russell Hendel <  rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu>
Subject: Re: People who never sinned

Just a quick answer to Dov Laufer who in Torah Forum Vol 4 number 53
incorrectly claimed that murder and adultery require intention. This is not so.

An example will illustrate the 2 basic ways of establishing the status of
INADVERTENT SIN: a) I thought today was Sunday and made a bonfire--we call
this ERROR IN OBJECT since I thought today was Sunday vs Saturday. b) I
knew today was Saturday and that it is prohibited to work, but I thought
that lighting a fire was permissable on Shabbath--we call this ERROR IN ACT
since the error was on which acts were prohibited.

(There is also a 3rd possibility whose details I am not certain of, where we
are aware of that today is Sabbath and that lighting a fire is prohibited
but I forget there is a death penalty--error in SEVERITY).

Furthermore if one browses thru e.g. Chap 6 of Laws of Murder then one
immediately sees many examples of INADVERTENT MURDER where there was no
intention to kill---e.g. I am coming down a ladder and I slip and kill
someone below.

Dov can ask: But you didn't intend to kill or violate the Shabbath. Why are
these called inadvertent? ANSWER: I guess halacha is suggesting that you
SHOULD be responsible to e.g. know what day it is, who you are sleeping
with, what is prohibited on the Shabbath, what acts of yours are dangerous
enough that they might kill etc.

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA
RHendel @ mcs drexel edu