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Judaism on Guns, Gun Control & Hunting


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Nisan 2, 5783
What does Judaism say on guns in general, rules for gun control or for self defense?
The famous authority Nodah B'Yehuda writes at length that hunting animals for sport is not a Jewish idea, for the only hunters in the Torah are Nimrod and Esav, both not very righteous! On the other extreme, having guns for self-defense is a mitzva and very positive, as in the Israeli army throughout the Tanach until today. Shooting as a sport is fine, as any sport, but being that it enables and improves one's usage for self-defense it's very positive. The Torah is a "package deal", which should ensure that a product of Torah education will only use guns for good and not for bad. On the other hand, the average person on the street, who has not undergone the Torah's refining process, may very well be a dangerous character if he has a gun. Germany showed the world that an educated and technologically-equipped killer is much more dangerous than a primitive one! So the main point, regarding most things in life, is not necessarily technology, but to improve our character traits, and accordingly most technology, including guns, will be positive and not negative! In Israel, the Israeli Defense Force educates well that guns are for defense and not hurting innocent people, so accordingly, here it's much less problematic.
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