Feb 09 2013

What does the Torah teach us about gun control and self-defense? (Part 1)


What does the Torah teach us about gun control
and self-defense? (Part 1)

By Sha’ul Newman

 February, 2013

Gun control seems to be the “hot button” topic in the mainstream media as of late.  On one side, we have Obama and the Statists pushing to ban Americans from owning certain weapons, restricting the amount of ammunition that one can own and requiring extensive background checks for all gun owners.  This legislation will makes guns “contraband” and legal gun owners the “bad guys.”  Hypocrisy abounds as politicians surrounded by armed guards claim that “less guns will make us safer.”

As with any topic, our creator has foreseen these questions and has stated His answers in His word, the Torah.  While automatic weapons did not exist at the time of the Torah being penned, problems such as violence, bloodshed, the need for self-defense and governments imposing regulations were commonplace.  The creator is both eternal and all-knowing, and so He could foresee the actions being taken today in Washington, D.C. before ever framing the ends of the earth.

As the Torah tells the story of mankind, it does not attempt to “sugar coat” the lives of the men and women mentioned; instead we see an accurate portrayal of people including their faults, evil deeds and shortcomings.   When mankind was formed (Hebrew: vayyitzer) (1) from dust and injected with the ruach (essence) of his creator, he became a living nefesh (soul).  Man, therefore does not HAVE a soul; he IS a soul.  He has a body of flesh, formed from the dust of the ground which gives him what is called in Judaism “Ha  Yetzer ra” (The impulse for evil) and the imparted ruach which gives him “Ha yetzer tov” (The impulse to do good).  Man is placed into a garden called Eyden and it’s not long before Ha Yetzer ra wins out.  The creator plants an eytz (tree) in the middle of the garden and gives one solitary command. “Do not eat it.”  This is the picture of the state that man was created to live in: perfect freedom with only one solitary rule to limit his actions.  He doesn’t have to obtain a permit to build a house, pay taxes to a ruling overlord, beg permission from a bureaucrat to marry whom he wants, worry about his children being conscripted into an army to fight a people overseas or give up a portion of the fruits of his labor to a politician.  This is the epitome of anarchy!

However, mankind was soon tricked into breaking this one simple dietary law.  With the breaking of this dietary law, sin entered the world. (2) With the advent of sin came expulsion from the garden into a harsh world with a new set of rules.   Curses were put upon the trickster serpent, the man, the woman and the ground.  Man was no longer immortal, but became subject to death and disease.



Ahdahm and Chava, the original inhabitants of Eyden, soon gave birth to children.  Their bachor (firstborn) was named Kayin.  He had a younger brother named Hevel.  When the time came to present sacrifices to Yahuwah (blessed is He), the creator, Kayin brought the fruit of a cursed earth while Hevel brought of the best of his flock.  Yahuwah rejected Kayin’s offering but accepted Hevel’s.  This enraged Kayin, who became jealous of his brother.  Seeing his state, Yahuwah (Blessed is He), the creator warned him.  He basically said to him “Look, Dude – don’t trip over this.  Just do what I ask and everything will be cool.  But, if you get hotheaded and loose your cool, then sin will be on you like white on rice.  You know that dude wants to bug you, but I made you strong to kick his rear.”  Now, from this point, the details are fuzzy.  We are told that the brothers waked through a field and that Kayin rose up against Hevel and killed him.  We don’t know if he used a rock, a stick, a knife or a Red Jacket AR-15 with a barrel shroud and a 30 round capacity magazine.  However, the Torah makes one thing blazingly clear.  It was not the weapon that was to blame (3); it was the evil impulse in Kayin’s flesh that caused the murder.  Had this situation happened yesterday, the Statists would be crying out for a ban on rocks, sticks, knives or guns.  They would say that “since Kayin used x to kill Hevel, no one should have x. (Ignoring the root cause and offering “solutions” that only take rights from innocent people)  What was Yahuwah (blessed be He)’s response to this incident.  Did He call for an immediate ban on semi-automatic slings?  No!  He used da’at (wisdom) and tzadek (justice) to get to the root of the problem: sin and the evil actions of individuals.  In part 2, I will show how and why He implemented a system of capital punishment for murderers and go into detail about what Torah teaches about self-defense.



 1)      The Hebrew spelling of this word is unique in B’reisheet 2:7, it uses two of the Hebrew letter yod instead of the normal spelling which includes only one.  This is inferred to mean the word “yetzer” (impulse).  The two yods have traditionally been interpreted as showing that man is created with two impulses, one for good and one for evil. 

2)      Sin is defined in scripture as “a transgression of the Torah.”  Yochannan Aleph 3:4 “Anyone who commits sin violates Torah, for sin is the transgression of the Torah.”

3)      Evidenced by the fact that Yahuwah (blessed be He) did not feel the need to even mention the type of weapon used.

Sha’ul Newman is a Netzari Yisraelite yeshiva student and soon-to-be ordained rabbi in the Netzari faith.

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