Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  Page title
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Bloody Hands

“When you spread out your hands I will hide My eyes from you, even when you say your prayers I will not hear, for your hands are full of blood” (Yeshaya 1,15). It is considered inappropriate for hands that have been responsible for the death of another person to draw down Divine Blessings of love. Based on this verse, our Sages ruled that if a kohen has taken a human life he may not recite Birkas Kohanim (Brachos 32b, Rambam Brachos 15,3).

Someone was driving on an icy road when his car skidded and smashed into another automobile. The other driver was killed instantly by the impact of the collision. May the surviving driver continue to recite Birkas Kohanim?

The Rema rules that if he does teshuva he may continue to recite Birkas Kohanim (128,35). Therefore, if he is Ashkenazi and has undertaken a proper regimen of teshuva, he may continue to say this bracha (Responsa Shevet HaLevi 1,43). The Shulchan Aruch is more stringent, however, and Sephardim follow its ruling that the driver may not continue saying the bracha even though the death was an accident (Shulchan Aruch 128,35).

The above halacha assumes that the driver was following road safety regulations. However, if he was driving recklessly, the death of the other driver is not considered accidental. According to some opinions, if he repents completely he may resume saying Birkas Kohanim (Rema ibid.).

A soldier returns from service in Iraq, where he killed a number of enemy soldiers. May he also return to his service blessing the Jewish people with Birkas Kohanim? Since he was fighting with the positive intention of protecting his country and the Jewish people, Rav Moshe Feinstein rules that he may certainly continue to say Birkas Kohanim (Igros Moshe, Yoreh De’ah 2,158).


Text Copyright © 2011 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON MASEI AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

It Must Have Been a Miracle!
Shlomo Katz - 5773

The Accidental Murderer
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5770

How?
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5761

> An Oath
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5769

The Age Of Experience
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

Our Universe Small
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

His Private Path
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

First Things First
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5761

Events of the Past
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5772

ArtScroll

A New Chapter
Shlomo Katz - 5771

Delivery From G-d Through Your Mouth
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5760

Forgotten Oaths
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5764

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Seeing Punishment as Blessing
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5765

Been There Done That
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5764

Ramban: Why was Parshas Nedarim given over specifically to "Roshei haMatos?"
- 5771

Following Instructions!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information