Chapter 7: Ben Sorer Umoreh-The rebellious child
Halacha 1: The scriptural source for the punishment
- The punishment: Scripture explicitly states that a rebellious child receives capital punishment through stoning.
- The source: The actual scriptural warning is found in a different verse which states that one may not eat over blood. This means that one may not eat a meal that causes his blood to be spilled, which is the gluttonous meal of a rebellious son that causes him to be liable for capital punishment.
- The term Zolel: The term Zolel means that he eats meat in a state of hunger.
- The term Sovei: The term Sovei means that he drinks wine in a state of hunger.
Halacha 2: The conditions necessary to be fulfilled to be liable for capital punishment
- For a rebellious son to become liable for capital punishment carries with it a number of conditions.
- All these conditions were received through the oral tradition.
- The rebellious son is not liable for stoning until he:
- Steals money from his father. If he stole money from another person, then he is not liable for capital punishment.
- Uses the money to buy cheap meat and cheap wine
- He eats and drinks the food outside of his father’s property. If he eats the food in his father’s property then he is not liable.
- The food being eaten does not contain any prohibition involved in its consumption, not even rabbinical. Thus, if the food was not kosher, or it was a fast day when the food was eaten, then he is exempt from liability.
- The food being eaten does not involve the fulfillment of any mitzvah, not even rabbinical. Thus if he ate the food by a Seudas Mitzvah, or Maaser Sheyni in Jerusalem, or in a mourners home in the process of comforting the mourners, then he is exempt from liability.
- he eats the food together with a group of lowlifes
- he eats the food in a half cooked state, not completely raw and not fully cooked.
- He mixes the wine together with some water
- he drinks the wine like a glutton
- he eats a weight of 50 Dinarim of meat in one session of eating
- he drinks 1/2 a Lug of wine in one eating session
Halacha 3: The food and drink that makes the rebellious child liable
- The type of meat: If the rebellious child ate foods other than meat of an animal, then he is not liable.
- This applies even if he ate poultry.
- If he ate only some meat of an animal, and then a poultry, which added up to a total of 50 Dinarim of meat and poultry together, then he is liable.
- The type of beverage: If the rebellious son drank beverages other than wine then he is not liable.
- Raw meat: If the rebellious child ate raw meat of an animal, then he is not liable.
- Wine not mixed with water: If the rebellious child drank wine that was not mixed with water, then he is not liable.
- Salted meat: If the rebellious child ate salted meat of an animal on its third day of being salted, then he is not liable.
- Freshly squeezed grape juice: If the rebellious child drank freshly squeezed grape juice that has not yet aged to become wine, then he is not liable.
Halacha 5: The age of the rebellious child was liable for capital punishment
- Under Bar Mitzvah: If the rebellious child has not reached the age of mitzvah’s then he is not liable.
- An adult: If the rebellious child is an adult who is in his own domain, then he is not liable for stealing and eating the gluttonous meal.
- Practically, the lifespan of a rebellious child who is liable for capital punishment is from age 13 years and one day, who has grown to pubic hairs, until his entire genitalia is surrounded with hair. Once the genitalia is surrounded with pubic hair, then he is considered in his own domain and is not liable for stoning.
Halacha 6: The lifespan of liability of a rebellious child
- Three months: The maximum lifespan of a rebellious child is only three months. These three months begin from when he first grows his two pubic hairs, as starting from this time he can impregnate a woman and have her fetus be recognizable, and the Torah only made a rebellious child liable for capital punishment and not a potential father.
- If the child grows an abundance of pubic hairs that surround the genitalia prior to the three months, then is likewise exempt.
Halacha 7: The judicial process of the rebellious son
- The first testimony: The father and mother must bring the rebellious child to a court which contains three judges.
- They must bring two witnesses who tell the judges that their son is rebellious and has stolen from his father had purchased meat and why with the money that he stole and ate it in the above-described method after being warned not to do so.
- As a result of this testimony the rebellious child receives lashes.
- The second testimony: If the child repeats the above stealing and eating a second time then the parents are to bring the child to a court which is presided by 23 judges. They must bring two witnesses who testify that he once again stole and ate the foods in the above-mentioned manner.
- The witnesses: It is valid if the witnesses for the first testimony are the same witnesses for the second testimony.
- Checking the age of the child: After the above sense of testimony are received the court is to check the age of the child and if his genitalia has been surrounded by pubic hair. If it is not surrounded by pubic hair and three months have yet to pass since he first began growing them, then his verdict is given in the same manner as all other people were liable for capital punishment.
- The original three judges: The rebellious child cannot be stoned unless the three original judges are present.
Halacha 8: Parents forgive son
- If the mother and father forgive the son for his rebellious actions prior to the verdict, then he is exempt from liability.
Halacha 9: Son runs away
- If the rebellious child ran away prior to the verdict and was only caught after he already grew pubic here around his entire genitalia, then he is exempt from liability.
- If he ran away after the verdict was already given, then he is to be stoned even if he is captured in his old age, as whoever receives a verdict of death is considered like dead is not of any blood.
Halacha 10: The father and mother
- If both parents don’t want to bring child to court: The rebellious son is only liable for capital punishment if both parents, father and mother, agree to take him to court. If either the father or mother do not want to take him to court, then he is not held liable.
- If one of the parents are missing a hand or leg, or are mute, or are blind or deaf, then the son is not liable for capital punishment.
Halacha 11: A rebellious daughter
- It is a decree of the verse that the law of a rebellious child only applies to a son and not to a daughter.
- It also does not apply to a Tumtum or Androginus.
Halacha 12: Tumtum
- If a Tumtum was later discovered to be a male, he is not liable for capital punishment.
Halacha 13: Announcing the death of the rebellious son
- It is an obligation to announce the death of the rebellious son to the public.
- This is done by writing and distributing to all the Jewish people that an individual was stoned in the following court due to him being a rebellious son.
Halacha 14: Inheriting his money
- The father of the rebellious son inherits all of his assets after his death.