Sanhedrin 70 – Ben Sorer U'moreh

There are two fundamental questions in regards to the בן סורר ומורה.

The first is, Don’t we believe that every Jew has a chance to do Teshuva, and deep inside has the potential to climb out of whatever pit he has dug for himself? How can we kill a young man על שם סופו – because of what he will be in the end? Isn’t there free will? How do we know for sure that he will end up so bad?

The second question is, What does the gemara mean when it says that the case of the בן סורר ומורה never happened, so it is there to learn and receive reward?

I believe that these two questions actually answer each other. The very fact that the בן סורר ומורה case can never happen teaches us indeed as we originally assumed. There is never really a possibility of a child being so bad that there is no hope and he is killed because of where we see him going. The Torah gives us this whole involved case with all these prerequisites to show us that it is impossible for a person beyond hope to really exist. Then why does the Torah even mention this case at all? The answer is so that we can learn this very lesson from the Torah – דרוש וקבל שכר.


  1. Dov on November 22, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    Interesting. I, also, thought of such!

  2. Aaron on July 23, 2015 at 12:46 am

    I don't understand. According to your pshat, the Torah is using Ben sorer umoreh to show us that no person is beyond hope. And we only know this according to one tanna, according to another there was at least one instance of a ben sorer umorah. Wouldn't it be much less confusing to NOT include the laws of ben sorer umoreh at all? Otherwise, we are pinned to torah sh'bal peh explaining the pashut pshat of torah s'bichsav?
    I have no qualms with torah sh'bal peh explaining drashos based on the mesorah, but why would Hashem include a parsha on ben sorer umoreh which is not relevant just to show us that no Jew is beyond teshuva, a concept we already knew before the torah taught us ben sorer umoreh!?

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