My Questions About the Mitzvah of Redeeming a Captive (Pidyon Shvuyim)

From my archives, five years ago in May

The blogger DovBear asks whether Rubashkin is a meshichist (messianist) and if so, does the mitzvah of pidyon shvuyim (redeeming captives) extend to his case? Many modern orthodox Jews ask why there are no ultra orthodox campaigns for Gilad Shalit? Unlike Rubashkin who was not siezed for ransom, Shalit is indeed being held by Hamas for ransom under terrible conditions. If the choice of “worthy” prisoners is driven by ideology, in this case, hostility to Zionism, why not also consider the ideological issue of meshichism?

Is it even correct to use the term pidyon shvuyim when talking about a person given due process in a medinah shel chesed? It may be a mitzvah to help. However, pidyon shvuyim is a mitzvah of much higher priority than many other kinds of tzedakah. Helping child abusers may not even be a mitzvah of any sort if it enables criminality or exposes the community to a halachic rodef.

I am told that there is a collection being made to secure bail for the recently arrested molester, Meir Dascalowitz. If so, I wonder; are they also collecting for a mashgiach temimi to make sure he does not molest any additional kids while he is out on bail. If not we may end up having aveirah haboh b’mitzvah.


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