Dear God: Ask the Rabbi, Am I allowed to shoot Women of the Wall

The following question for a rabbi was posted and answered on the website

(translation by Rachel Jaskow)

Q. When I (or anyone else) am at the Western Wall and the Women of the Wall are there, in immodest clothing and with prayer shawls and phylacteries, playing with Torah scrolls and committing blasphemy, should I stop it by shooting the relevant people if there is no other way to do so?

A. You must repent for talking about killing a human being, and particularly for talking about resolving a dispute in such a manner. That is not the way of the Torah. Disputes should be resolved by profound, non-violent debate.

The purpose of such questions seems to be to sow incitement in our community. Questions like this do not come from a pure heart or a search for God. I wonder who stands behind you, seeking to use this dispute to stain our precious country’s Jewish identity with blood.

That is why I hesitated to answer your question at all. But since someone, somewhere, has spoken of killing another human being, and since perhaps you were asking honestly after all, I decided to respond to your query, with the strong caveat that it is not legitimate.

Only an authorized court may sentence a Jewish person to death. In our day, no such court exists until the judicial authority returns to its place in the Chamber of Hewn Stone, or at least until the small Sanhedrin of 23 judges is reconstituted.

In addition, the way to defeat the Reform movement is not by violence but by strengthening the alternative of faithfulness to the holy Torah and keeping away from them and their multitudes. Then wickedness will vanish like smoke when the light of the Oral Torah is victorious among the nation.

Your suggestion is therefore unacceptable. Direct your energy and your desire to rectify the situation to Torah study and to bringing up the next generation to holiness and exerting influence through love.

The nation is moving upward as its consciousness returns to God. Our generation is different from that of the Hellenists, who were moving in the opposite direction, toward exile. The practical guidance [that applied to that generation] was therefore different.

As stated above, you must repent of the desire to sully the moral debate in Israel. If you were truly thinking about committing murder, you must turn your life around completely, become sensitive to life and renounce violence.

In any case, since it is possible that you mean what you say, I have asked the Israel Police to look into the matter and find you, and stop you in time.

May you be healthy.

Response received from Rabbi Baruch Efrati
on 25 Sivan 5773 [June 3, 2013]



(the Hebrew text may be found at this link:

3 thoughts on “Dear God: Ask the Rabbi, Am I allowed to shoot Women of the Wall”

  1. I’m pleased, though, that the answer was sensible: you can always expect there to be some cranks, but at least their leader took a more reasonable position in this case.

  2. I found out later, from Hebrew-speakers who followed the post, that Rabbi Efrati’s answer actually went through several incarnations. The first incarnation included no mention of the crime of murder, the illegitimate nature of the question or contacting the police. It began with the phrase “Only an authorized court” and ended with “The practical guidance [that applied to that generation] was therefore different.”

    Rabbi Efrati does not challenge the questioner’s assumptions at all. Nor does he disabuse him of his misreading of Jewish law. Halakha allows women to pray as a group, wear tallit and tefillin and read from a sefer Torah, even if it exempts them from these mitzvot. Exemption does not equal prohibition. Rabbi Efrati does not make this point.

    So even with all his disclaimers and references to contacting the police, I still find his answer disturbing.

  3. Not at all clear whether the original question was “tongue in cheek”, but given the context, the rabbi gave an appropriately clear answer!
    And especially relevant in a week when someone is trying to paint WoW as threatening the Chief Rabbis…

Leave a Comment

Skip to content