The Last Jedi's Luke Skywalker as an Educator: A תנ"ך Perspective

A Brief Overview of the Star Wars Saga

(Please note that this contains spoilers for the entire series.)

In the Star Wars universe there is a power called the Force. The Force is an energy field created by all living things. It binds the galaxy together. Star Wars takes place in a futuristic universe where various planets and moons are inhabited by a multitude of races and creatures. These people have chosen to become members of the Republic. Protectors of the Republic and peace/ order are called the Jedi and serve as Jedi Knights. They are the forces for good. Those who want to seize power for themselves/ create an empire are known as the Sith. They are the forces for chaos.

Once upon a time there was a young Jedi named Anakin Skywalker. He had incredible power; it was unsurpassed. There was a prophecy that was understood to be about him where he was the Chosen one who would bring balance to the Force. His mentor, Obi Wan Kenobi, did his best to train him. One of the rules of being a Jedi Knight is that one is not permitted an excess of emotion and therefore one is not permitted to romantically love and form personal attachments. However, Anakin does fall in love with a woman called Padme. The two marry secretly. Padme becomes pregnant and Anakin becomes afraid that she will die in childbirth. He becomes obsessed with the idea of gaining enough power to control death. Sith Lords offer him this opportunity and he makes a deal with them, eventually becoming the fearsome Darth Vader.

Unbeknownst to Anakin, Padme gives birth to twins named Luke and Leia Skywalker. They are raised separately to prevent Darth Vader or others from finding them. They are not told who their father is. Through a complicated series of events, they eventually join forces to overthrow Darth Vader. Leia is romantically involved with a dashing pilot named Han Solo. Luke is the one who trains as a Jedi Knight and eventually is able to rid the world of Darth Vader's evil.

In The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, the remnants of Darth Vader's empire have risen once more to try to overthrow the Republic. The forces for good, which include Leia Skywalker, band together against the forces for evil. Mysteriously, Luke Skywalker (the last Jedi) has disappeared and other Jedi have not been trained. During these films, we encounter a powerful Sith lord named Kylo Ren. It becomes clear that Kylo Ren is actually a child of Leia Skywalker and Han Solo, and that his name was once Ben. At the same time, a woman called Rey demonstrates that she is powerful in the Force and has the ability to become a Jedi. She desperately searches for Luke, who she believes can train her to use her powers.

How did Ben become Kylo Ren? It's partially due to a tragic mistake his mentor, Luke, made. Ben had been sent to Luke to be trained as a Jedi. But then, something happened...

Luke's Confession to Rey

“I saw darkness and sensed it building in him [Ben Solo]. I’d seen it in moments during his training. One time I looked inside and it was beyond what I ever imagined. Snoke had already turned his heart. He [Ben] would bring destruction and pain and death and the end of everything I loved because of what he would become. And in the briefest moment of pure instinct I thought I could stop it.”

-Luke Skywalker talking to Rey about Ben Solo (now known as Kylo Ren)

What happens next? Three Points of View

Link to view the actual film clips.

Luke goes to the place where Ben is sleeping. We see him standing over him.

What Luke tells Rey initially: "and then I saw Ben. My nephew...with that mighty Skywalker blood. In my hubris I thought I could train him, that I could pass on my strength. Han wasn't fond of it, but Leia trusted me with her son. I took him and a dozen students and began a training temple. By the time I realized I was no match for the darkness rising in was too late.

Rey: What happened?

Luke: I went to confront him [Ben] and he turned on me. He must have thought I was dead. By the time I came to the temple was burning. He had vanished with a handful of my students and slaughtered the rest. Leia blamed Snoke but it was me. I failed."

Ben's perspective: "He had sensed my power. As he senses yours [Rey's]. And he feared it. [The scene zooms in on a crazed Luke standing over Ben, his green lightsaber glittering. It looks like he is about to strike so Ben defends himself.]

What Luke admits later: "I had sensed it building in him. I'd seen it in moments during his training. [Luke turns on his lightsaber and it glitters green. He looks conflicted, standing over Ben.] But then I looked inside...and it was beyond what I ever imagined. Snoke had already turned his heart. He would bring destruction, and pain,and death...and the end of everything I loved because of what he would become. And for the briefest moment of pure instinct... I thought I could stop it. It passed like a fleeting shadow. And I was left with shame. And its consequence. And the last thing I saw were the eyes of a frightened boy whose master had failed him." [Ben wakes up and sees Luke looking at the lightsaber, sick at heart, but interprets it as an attack that is about to take place. He thinks his uncle is about to kill him. Ben calls his lightsaber and blocks. Luke shouts "Ben, no!"]

Was Luke right? Sensing what Ben would become, was his desire to eradicate the incumbent threat not only appropriate, but moral?

There are three Jewish narratives that speak to this.

1. A narrative that concerns Abraham and Hagar's son, Ishmael

2. A narrative that pertains an innocent baby named Micah, saved by Moses

3. A confrontation between a king of Judah, Hezekiah, and a prophet, Isaiah

(If we have time, I will explain why the text dealing with The Wayward Child/ בן סורר ומורה does not apply in the scenario presented above).

Narrative 1: Abraham, Hagar and Ishmael

(יד) וַיַּשְׁכֵּ֣ם אַבְרָהָ֣ם ׀ בַּבֹּ֡קֶר וַיִּֽקַּֽח־לֶחֶם֩ וְחֵ֨מַת מַ֜יִם וַיִּתֵּ֣ן אֶל־הָ֠גָר שָׂ֧ם עַל־שִׁכְמָ֛הּ וְאֶת־הַיֶּ֖לֶד וַֽיְשַׁלְּחֶ֑הָ וַתֵּ֣לֶךְ וַתֵּ֔תַע בְּמִדְבַּ֖ר בְּאֵ֥ר שָֽׁבַע׃ (טו) וַיִּכְל֥וּ הַמַּ֖יִם מִן־הַחֵ֑מֶת וַתַּשְׁלֵ֣ךְ אֶת־הַיֶּ֔לֶד תַּ֖חַת אַחַ֥ד הַשִּׂיחִֽם׃ (טז) וַתֵּלֶךְ֩ וַתֵּ֨שֶׁב לָ֜הּ מִנֶּ֗גֶד הַרְחֵק֙ כִּמְטַחֲוֵ֣י קֶ֔שֶׁת כִּ֣י אָֽמְרָ֔ה אַל־אֶרְאֶ֖ה בְּמ֣וֹת הַיָּ֑לֶד וַתֵּ֣שֶׁב מִנֶּ֔גֶד וַתִּשָּׂ֥א אֶת־קֹלָ֖הּ וַתֵּֽבְךְּ׃ (יז) וַיִּשְׁמַ֣ע אֱלֹקִים֮ אֶת־ק֣וֹל הַנַּעַר֒ וַיִּקְרָא֩ מַלְאַ֨ךְ אֱלֹקִ֤ים ׀ אֶל־הָגָר֙ מִן־הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם וַיֹּ֥אמֶר לָ֖הּ מַה־לָּ֣ךְ הָגָ֑ר אַל־תִּ֣ירְאִ֔י כִּֽי־שָׁמַ֧ע אֱלֹקִ֛ים אֶל־ק֥וֹל הַנַּ֖עַר בַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר הוּא־שָֽׁם׃ (יח) ק֚וּמִי שְׂאִ֣י אֶת־הַנַּ֔עַר וְהַחֲזִ֥יקִי אֶת־יָדֵ֖ךְ בּ֑וֹ כִּֽי־לְג֥וֹי גָּד֖וֹל אֲשִׂימֶֽנּוּ׃

(14) Early next morning Abraham took some bread and a skin of water, and gave them to Hagar. He placed them over her shoulder, together with the child, and sent her away. And she wandered about in the wilderness of Beer-sheba. (15) When the water was gone from the skin, she left the child under one of the bushes, (16) and went and sat down at a distance, a bowshot away; for she thought, “Let me not look on as the child dies.” And sitting thus afar, she burst into tears. (17) God heard the cry of the boy, and an angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heeded the cry of the boy where he is. (18) Come, lift up the boy and hold him by the hand, for I will make a great nation of him.”

Questions to Consider

1. Who cries initially?

2. Whose voice does it say God heeds?

3. Why do you think God heeds that individual's voice?

4. What do you think is the reason for the addition of the seemingly extra words באשר הוא שם (where he is) in verse 17?

וא"ר יצחק אין דנין את האדם אלא לפי מעשיו של אותה שעה שנאמר (בראשית כא, יז) כי שמע אלקים אל קול הנער באשר הוא שם
And Rabbi Yitzḥak said: A man is judged only according to his deeds at the time of his judgment, and not according to his future deeds, as it is stated with regard to Ishmael: “For God has heard the voice of the lad where he is” (Genesis 21:17). Although Ishmael and his descendants would act wickedly in the future, his prayer was heard and answered because he was innocent at the time.

(יד) בַּאֲשֶׁר הוּא שָׁם, בִּזְכוּת עַצְמוֹ, יָפָה תְּפִלַּת הַחוֹלֶה לְעַצְמוֹ יוֹתֵר מִכֹּל. בַּאֲשֶׁר הוּא שָׁם, אָמַר רַבִּי סִימוֹן קָפְצוּ מַלְאֲכֵי הַשָּׁרֵת לְקַטְרְגוֹ, אָמְרוּ לְפָנָיו רִבּוֹן הָעוֹלָמִים, אָדָם שֶׁהוּא עָתִיד לְהָמִית אֶת בָּנֶיךָ בַּצָּמָא אַתָּה מַעֲלֶה לוֹ בְּאֵר, אָמַר לָהֶם עַכְשָׁו מַה הוּא, צַדִּיק אוֹ רָשָׁע, אָמְרוּ לוֹ צַדִּיק, אָמַר לָהֶם אֵינִי דָן אֶת הָאָדָם אֶלָּא בִּשְׁעָתוֹ. (בראשית כא, יח):

Where he is. In his own merit, because the prayer of the sick person himself is the most effective of all. Where he is. Rabbi Simon said: The ministering angels gathered to accuse him [Ishmael]. They said before him, "God of the universe, a man who will in future kill your children (the Israelites) with thirst - you will quench his thirst via a well?!" God said to them: "What is he now- righteous or wicked?" The angels replied, "Righteous." God said to them, "I do not judge a man except based on where he is spiritually at that specific point in time."

Questions to Consider

1. Why do the angels argue that Ishmael deserves death?

2. What is God's response?

3. How might we apply God's response to our scenario with Luke and Ben (Kylo Ren)? What ought Luke to have done based on these sources?

4. Where in the future do the Ishmaelites actually cause the Israelites to die of thirst? (Please see below).

(יד) לִקְרַ֥את צָמֵ֖א הֵתָ֣יוּ מָ֑יִם יֹשְׁבֵי֙ אֶ֣רֶץ תֵּימָ֔א בְּלַחְמ֖וֹ קִדְּמ֥וּ נֹדֵֽד׃
(14) Meet the thirsty with water, You who dwell in the land of Tema; Greet the fugitive with bread.
(א) לקראת צמא. דרך להביא מים ואתם יושבי ארץ תימא לא עשיתם כן אלא בלחמו קדמו נודד הביאו להם מיני מאכלים מלוחים ונודות נפוחים מלאי רוח והיה אוכל ומבקש לשתות ונותן פי הנוד לתוך פיו והרוח נכנס במעיו והוא מת, ד"א לקראת צמא התיו מים לא כן עשיתי לאביכם כשהיה צמא גליתי לו באר מים:

(translation via Chabad)

it is customary to bring water, but you, the inhabitants of the land of Tema, did not do so, but with his bread they came before the wanderer; they brought them sorts of salty foods and blown up flasks full of air, and he would eat and ask to drink, and he would put the opening of the flask into his mouth, and the air would go into his innards, and he would die. Another explanation of “Toward the thirsty they bring water,” is as follows: I did not do so to your forefather, Ishmael; when he was thirsty, I revealed to him a well of water."

Narrative 2: Micah and Moses

A little bit of background- Moses and Aaron are sent by God to ask Pharaoh to send out the Israelites to worship at a mountain in the wilderness for three days. Pharaoh assumes that if the people have enough spirit to make this request, they have too much time on their hands. Therefore, he takes away the straw the Egyptians had originally been issuing them to form the bricks. At the same time, all of the Israelites must still meet their original quota of bricks. The Israelites complain bitterly and Moses turns to God.

(כב) וַיָּ֧שָׁב מֹשֶׁ֛ה אֶל־ה' וַיֹּאמַ֑ר אדושם לָמָ֤ה הֲרֵעֹ֙תָה֙ לָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֔ה לָ֥מָּה זֶּ֖ה שְׁלַחְתָּֽנִי׃ (כג) וּמֵאָ֞ז בָּ֤אתִי אֶל־פַּרְעֹה֙ לְדַבֵּ֣ר בִּשְׁמֶ֔ךָ הֵרַ֖ע לָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֑ה וְהַצֵּ֥ל לֹא־הִצַּ֖לְתָּ אֶת־עַמֶּֽךָ׃

(22) Then Moses returned to the LORD and said, “O Lord, why did You bring harm upon this people? Why did You send me? (23) Ever since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has dealt worse with this people; and still You have not delivered Your people.”

(כב) מַהוּ וְהַצֵּל לֹא הִצַּלְתָּ, רַבִּי יִשְׁמָעֵאל אוֹמֵר: וְהַצֵּל לֹא הִצַּלְתָּ וַדַּאי. רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא אוֹמֵר יוֹדֵעַ אֲנִי שֶׁאַתָּה עָתִיד לְהַצִּילָם, אֶלָּא מָה אִכְפַּת לָךְ בְּאוֹתָן הַנְּתוּנִים תַּחַת הַבִּנְיָן. בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה בִּקְשָׁה מִדַּת הַדִּין לִפְגֹעַ בְּמשֶׁה, וְכֵיוָן שֶׁרָאָה הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שֶׁבִּשְׁבִיל יִשְׂרָאֵל הוּא אוֹמֵר, לֹא פָּגְעָה בוֹ מִדַּת הַדִּין.

What is the meaning of "and still You have not delivered Your people?" Rabbi Yishmael says: You have not delivered Your people overall. Rabbi Akiva says: "I [Moses] know that in future you will save them, but what do you care about those [infants] that are actually being placed between the bricks?

[From here we learn that when the Israelites were unsuccessful in meeting their quota of bricks, the Egyptian overseers would take the Israelite little ones and crush them within the building structure in place of those bricks.]

At that moment the attribute of judgment wanted to go against Moses, but when God saw that Moses was making this argument because of his great love/ empathy for Bnei Yisrael, He did not allow the attribute of judgment to impact him.

תנא הוא נבט הוא מיכה הוא שבע בן בכרי נבט שניבט ולא ראה מיכה שנתמכמך בבנין ומה שמו שבע בן בכרי שמו

It is taught in a baraita: Based on a homiletic interpretation of their names, these three biblical figures are deemed to be the same person. He is called Nebat, he is called Micah, and he is called Sheba, son of Bichri. Nebat, who looked [nibat] but did not see, believed that he was destined for greatness, and that was achieved only by his son. Micah, who was crushed [nitmakhmekh] in the building of the storage cities of Pithom and Raamses, was miraculously saved. And what is his actual name? His name is Sheba, son of Bichri.

נתמכמך בבנין - של מצרים שנתנוהו בבנין במקום לבנה כדמפרש באגדה שאמר לו משה להקב"ה אתה הרעות לעם הזה שעכשיו אם אין להם לבנים משימין בניהם של ישראל בבנין אמר לו הקב"ה קוצים הם מכלין שגלוי לפני אילו הם חיים היו רשעים [גמורים] ואם תרצה תנסה והוציא אחד מהן הלך והוציא את מיכה. ל"א נתמכמך עסק בבנין עד שנעשה מך כדאמרינן (סוטה דף יא.) כל העוסק בבנין מתמסכן:

He was crushed in the building- Of the Egyptians who crushed them in their buildings. It's explained in the Agadah that Moshe said to God, "You are harming the nation because now if they do not have sufficient bricks, they (the Egyptian overseers) place their sons into the building structures." God replied, "These individuals [the children that are being built into the walls] are thorns among the Israelites- it is revealed to Me that if they were to live they would be completely wicked. If you wish, however, you may devise a test- save one from the bricks [and see what will become of him]." So Moshe did so and he saved Micha.

(ב) עגל מסכה. כֵּיוָן שֶׁהִשְׁלִיכוֹ לָאוּר בְּכוּר, בָּאוּ מְכַשְּׁפֵי עֵרֶב רַב שֶׁעָלוּ עִמָּהֶם מִמִּצְרַיִם וַעֲשָׂאוּהוּ בִכְשָׁפִים; וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים מִיכָה הָיָה שָׁם, שֶׁיָּצָא מִתּוֹךְ דִּמּוֹסֵי בִּנְיָן שֶׁנִּתְמַעֵךְ בּוֹ בְּמִצְרַיִם, וְהָיָה בְיָדוֹ שֵׁם וְטַס שֶׁכָּתַב בּוֹ מֹשֶׁה "עֲלֵה שׁוֹר" "עֲלֵה שׁוֹר" לְהַעֲלוֹת אֲרוֹנוֹ שֶׁל יוֹסֵף מִתּוֹךְ נִילוּס – וְהִשְׁלִיכוֹ לְתוֹךְ הַכּוּר וְיָצָא הָעֵגֶל (תנחומא):

(2) עגל מסכה A MOLTEN CALF — As soon as he (Aaron) had thrown it (the gold) into the fire in a melting pot the magicians amongst the mixed multitude who had come up with them from Egypt came and made it (the golden calf) by their magic art. There are some who say that Micah the idolator mentioned in Judges ch. 17, was there, who had been drawn forth from the foundations of a building in Egypt where he was nearly crushed. He had in his possession a “supernatural name” (שם) and a plate upon which Moses had written: “Come up, ox, come up, ox!” in order to raise the coffin of Joseph who is compared to an ox (cf. Deuteronomy 33:17) out of the Nile, and he cast it (the plate) into the melting pot and the calf (the young ox) came out (ויצא העגל הזה) (Midrash Tanchuma, Ki Tisa 19).

(א) וַֽיְהִי־אִ֥ישׁ מֵֽהַר־אֶפְרָ֖יִם וּשְׁמ֥וֹ מִיכָֽיְהוּ׃ (ב) וַיֹּ֣אמֶר לְאִמּ֡וֹ אֶלֶף֩ וּמֵאָ֨ה הַכֶּ֜סֶף אֲשֶׁ֣ר לֻֽקַּֽח־לָ֗ךְ ואתי [וְאַ֤תְּ] אָלִית֙ וְגַם֙ אָמַ֣רְתְּ בְּאָזְנַ֔י הִנֵּֽה־הַכֶּ֥סֶף אִתִּ֖י אֲנִ֣י לְקַחְתִּ֑יו וַתֹּ֣אמֶר אִמּ֔וֹ בָּר֥וּךְ בְּנִ֖י לַה'׃ (ג) וַיָּ֛שֶׁב אֶת־אֶֽלֶף־וּמֵאָ֥ה הַכֶּ֖סֶף לְאִמּ֑וֹ וַתֹּ֣אמֶר אִמּ֡וֹ הַקְדֵּ֣שׁ הִקְדַּ֣שְׁתִּי אֶת־הַכֶּסֶף֩ לַה' מִיָּדִ֜י לִבְנִ֗י לַֽעֲשׂוֹת֙ פֶּ֣סֶל וּמַסֵּכָ֔ה וְעַתָּ֖ה אֲשִׁיבֶ֥נּוּ לָֽךְ׃ (ד) וַיָּ֥שֶׁב אֶת־הַכֶּ֖סֶף לְאִמּ֑וֹ וַתִּקַּ֣ח אִמּוֹ֩ מָאתַ֨יִם כֶּ֜סֶף וַתִּתְּנֵ֣הוּ לַצּוֹרֵ֗ף וַֽיַּעֲשֵׂ֙הוּ֙ פֶּ֣סֶל וּמַסֵּכָ֔ה וַיְהִ֖י בְּבֵ֥ית מִיכָֽיְהוּ׃ (ה) וְהָאִ֣ישׁ מִיכָ֔ה ל֖וֹ בֵּ֣ית אֱלֹקִ֑ים וַיַּ֤עַשׂ אֵפוֹד֙ וּתְרָפִ֔ים וַיְמַלֵּ֗א אֶת־יַ֤ד אַחַד֙ מִבָּנָ֔יו וַיְהִי־ל֖וֹ לְכֹהֵֽן׃ (ו) בַּיָּמִ֣ים הָהֵ֔ם אֵ֥ין מֶ֖לֶךְ בְּיִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל אִ֛ישׁ הַיָּשָׁ֥ר בְּעֵינָ֖יו יַעֲשֶֽׂה׃ (פ) (ז) וַיְהִי־נַ֗עַר מִבֵּ֥ית לֶ֙חֶם֙ יְהוּדָ֔ה מִמִּשְׁפַּ֖חַת יְהוּדָ֑ה וְה֥וּא לֵוִ֖י וְה֥וּא גָֽר־שָֽׁם׃ (ח) וַיֵּ֨לֶךְ הָאִ֜ישׁ מֵהָעִ֗יר מִבֵּ֥ית לֶ֙חֶם֙ יְהוּדָ֔ה לָג֖וּר בַּאֲשֶׁ֣ר יִמְצָ֑א וַיָּבֹ֧א הַר־אֶפְרַ֛יִם עַד־בֵּ֥ית מִיכָ֖ה לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת דַּרְכּֽוֹ׃ (ט) וַיֹּאמֶר־ל֥וֹ מִיכָ֖ה מֵאַ֣יִן תָּב֑וֹא וַיֹּ֨אמֶר אֵלָ֜יו לֵוִ֣י אָנֹ֗כִי מִבֵּ֥ית לֶ֙חֶם֙ יְהוּדָ֔ה וְאָנֹכִ֣י הֹלֵ֔ךְ לָג֖וּר בַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר אֶמְצָֽא׃ (י) וַיֹּאמֶר֩ ל֨וֹ מִיכָ֜ה שְׁבָ֣ה עִמָּדִ֗י וֶֽהְיֵה־לִי֮ לְאָ֣ב וּלְכֹהֵן֒ וְאָנֹכִ֨י אֶֽתֶּן־לְךָ֜ עֲשֶׂ֤רֶת כֶּ֙סֶף֙ לַיָּמִ֔ים וְעֵ֥רֶךְ בְּגָדִ֖ים וּמִחְיָתֶ֑ךָ וַיֵּ֖לֶךְ הַלֵּוִֽי׃ (יא) וַיּ֥וֹאֶל הַלֵּוִ֖י לָשֶׁ֣בֶת אֶת־הָאִ֑ישׁ וַיְהִ֤י הַנַּ֙עַר֙ ל֔וֹ כְּאַחַ֖ד מִבָּנָֽיו׃ (יב) וַיְמַלֵּ֤א מִיכָה֙ אֶת־יַ֣ד הַלֵּוִ֔י וַיְהִי־ל֥וֹ הַנַּ֖עַר לְכֹהֵ֑ן וַיְהִ֖י בְּבֵ֥ית מִיכָֽה׃ (יג) וַיֹּ֣אמֶר מִיכָ֔ה עַתָּ֣ה יָדַ֔עְתִּי כִּֽי־יֵיטִ֥יב ה' לִ֑י כִּ֧י הָיָה־לִ֛י הַלֵּוִ֖י לְכֹהֵֽן׃

(1) There was a man in the hill country of Ephraim whose name was Micah. (2) He said to his mother, “The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from you, so that you uttered an imprecation which you repeated in my hearing—I have that silver; I took it.” “Blessed of the LORD be my son,” said his mother. (3) He returned the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother; but his mother said, “I herewith consecrate the silver to the LORD, transferring it to my son to make a sculptured image and a molten image. I now return it to you.” (4) So when he gave the silver back to his mother, his mother took two hundred shekels of silver and gave it to a smith. He made of it a sculptured image and a molten image, which were kept in the house of Micah. (5) Now the man Micah had a house of God; he had made an ephod and teraphim and he had inducted one of his sons to be his priest. (6) In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did as he pleased. (7) There was a young man from Bethlehem of Judah, from the clan seat of Judah; he was a Levite and had resided there as a sojourner. (8) This man had left the town of Bethlehem of Judah to take up residence wherever he could find a place. On his way, he came to the house of Micah in the hill country of Ephraim. (9) “Where do you come from?” Micah asked him. He replied, “I am a Levite from Bethlehem of Judah, and I am traveling to take up residence wherever I can find a place.” (10) “Stay with me,” Micah said to him, “and be a father and a priest to me, and I will pay you ten shekels of silver a year, an allowance of clothing, and your food.” The Levite went. (11) The Levite agreed to stay with the man, and the youth became like one of his own sons. (12) Micah inducted the Levite, and the young man became his priest and remained in Micah’s shrine. (13) “Now I know,” Micah told himself, “that the LORD will prosper me, since the Levite has become my priest.”

Questions to Consider

1. Who is Micah?

2. What fate is Micah spared from (and who saves him from it)?

3. Who exactly is it that determines that Micah will be evil? (THIS IS SIGNIFICANT)

4. How can we apply this source to our scenario with Luke and Ben? Was Luke justified based on these sources?

5. What does Micah end up doing/ what sins does he commit?

Food for Thought: How might what God told Moses about Micah have impacted the way in which Moses interacted with Micah?

Narrative 3: A Confrontation Between Hezekiah and Isaiah

(א) בַּיָּמִ֣ים הָהֵ֔ם חָלָ֥ה חִזְקִיָּ֖הוּ לָמ֑וּת וַיָּבֹ֣א אֵ֠לָיו יְשַׁעְיָ֨הוּ בֶן־אָמ֜וֹץ הַנָּבִ֗יא וַיֹּ֨אמֶר אֵלָ֜יו כֹּֽה־אָמַ֤ר ה' צַ֣ו לְבֵיתֶ֔ךָ כִּ֛י מֵ֥ת אַתָּ֖ה וְלֹ֥א תִֽחְיֶֽה׃ (ב) וַיַּסֵּ֥ב אֶת־פָּנָ֖יו אֶל־הַקִּ֑יר וַיִּ֨תְפַּלֵּ֔ל אֶל־ה' לֵאמֹֽר׃ (ג) אָנָּ֣ה ה' זְכָר־נָ֞א אֵ֣ת אֲשֶׁ֧ר הִתְהַלַּ֣כְתִּי לְפָנֶ֗יךָ בֶּֽאֱמֶת֙ וּבְלֵבָ֣ב שָׁלֵ֔ם וְהַטּ֥וֹב בְּעֵינֶ֖יךָ עָשִׂ֑יתִי וַיֵּ֥בְךְּ חִזְקִיָּ֖הוּ בְּכִ֥י גָדֽוֹל׃ (ס) (ד) וַיְהִ֣י יְשַׁעְיָ֔הוּ לֹ֣א יָצָ֔א העיר [חָצֵ֖ר] הַתִּֽיכֹנָ֑ה וּדְבַר־ה' הָיָ֥ה אֵלָ֖יו לֵאמֹֽר׃ (ה) שׁ֣וּב וְאָמַרְתָּ֞ אֶל־חִזְקִיָּ֣הוּ נְגִיד־עַמִּ֗י כֹּֽה־אָמַ֤ר ה' אֱלֹקֵי֙ דָּוִ֣ד אָבִ֔יךָ שָׁמַ֙עְתִּי֙ אֶת־תְּפִלָּתֶ֔ךָ רָאִ֖יתִי אֶת־דִּמְעָתֶ֑ךָ הִנְנִי֙ רֹ֣פֶא לָ֔ךְ בַּיּוֹם֙ הַשְּׁלִישִׁ֔י תַּעֲלֶ֖ה בֵּ֥ית ה'׃ (ו) וְהֹסַפְתִּ֣י עַל־יָמֶ֗יךָ חֲמֵ֤שׁ עֶשְׂרֵה֙ שָׁנָ֔ה וּמִכַּ֤ף מֶֽלֶךְ־אַשּׁוּר֙ אַצִּ֣ילְךָ֔ וְאֵ֖ת הָעִ֣יר הַזֹּ֑את וְגַנּוֹתִי֙ עַל־הָעִ֣יר הַזֹּ֔את לְמַֽעֲנִ֔י וּלְמַ֖עַן דָּוִ֥ד עַבְדִּֽי׃
(1) In those days Hezekiah fell dangerously ill. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz came and said to him, “Thus said the LORD: Set your affairs in order, for you are going to die; you will not get well.” (2) Thereupon Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD. He said, (3) “Please, O LORD, remember how I have walked before You sincerely and wholeheartedly, and have done what is pleasing to You.” And Hezekiah wept profusely. (4) Before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the LORD came to him: (5) “Go back and say to Hezekiah, the ruler of My people: Thus said the LORD, the God of your father David: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears. I am going to heal you; on the third day you shall go up to the House of the LORD. (6) And I will add fifteen years to your life. I will also rescue you and this city from the hands of the king of Assyria. I will protect this city for My sake and for the sake of My servant David.”—

אמר ליה מאי כולי האי אמר ליה משום דלא עסקת בפריה ורביה אמר ליה משום דחזאי לי ברוח הקדש דנפקי מינאי בנין דלא מעלו אמר ליה בהדי כבשי דרחמנא למה לך מאי דמפקדת איבעי לך למעבד ומה דניחא קמיה קודשא בריך הוא לעביד אמר ליה השתא הב לי ברתך אפשר דגרמא זכותא דידי ודידך ונפקי מנאי בנין דמעלו אמר ליה כבר נגזרה עליך גזירה אמר ליה בן אמוץ כלה נבואתך וצא כך מקובלני מבית אבי אבא אפילו חרב חדה מונחת על צוארו של אדם אל ימנע עצמו מן הרחמים

Hezekiah said to him: What is all of this? For what transgression am I being punished?
Isaiah said to him: Because you did not marry and engage in procreation.
Hezekiah apologized and said: I had no children because I envisaged through divine inspiration that the children that emerge from me will not be virtuous. Hezekiah meant that he had seen that his children were destined to be evil. In fact, his son Menashe sinned extensively, and he thought it preferable to have no children at all.
Isaiah said to him: Why do you involve yourself with the secrets of the Holy One, Blessed be He? That which you have been commanded, the mitzva of procreation, you are required to perform, and that which is acceptable in the eyes of the Holy One, Blessed be He, let Him perform, as He has so decided. Hezekiah said to Isaiah: Now give me your daughter as my wife; perhaps my merit and your merit will cause virtuous children to emerge from me.
Isaiah said to him: The decree has already been decreed against you and this judgment cannot be changed.
Hezekiah said to him: Son of Amoz, cease your prophecy and leave. As long as the prophet spoke as God’s emissary, Hezekiah was obligated to listen to him. He was not, however, obligated to accept Isaiah’s personal opinion that there was no possibility for mercy and healing.
Hezekiah continued: I have received a tradition from the house of my father’s father, from King David, the founding father of the dynasty of kings of Judea: Even if a sharp sword rests upon a person’s neck, he should not prevent himself from praying for mercy. One may still hold out hope that his prayers will be answered, as was David himself when he saw the Angel of Destruction, but nonetheless prayed for mercy and his prayers were answered.

(א) בֶּן־שְׁתֵּ֨ים עֶשְׂרֵ֤ה שָׁנָה֙ מְנַשֶּׁ֣ה בְמָלְכ֔וֹ וַחֲמִשִּׁ֤ים וְחָמֵשׁ֙ שָׁנָ֔ה מָלַ֖ךְ בִּירוּשָׁלִָ֑ם וְשֵׁ֥ם אִמּ֖וֹ חֶפְצִי־בָֽהּ׃ (ב) וַיַּ֥עַשׂ הָרַ֖ע בְּעֵינֵ֣י ה' כְּתֽוֹעֲבֹת֙ הַגּוֹיִ֔ם אֲשֶׁר֙ הוֹרִ֣ישׁ ה' מִפְּנֵ֖י בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ (ג) וַיָּ֗שָׁב וַיִּ֙בֶן֙ אֶת־הַבָּמ֔וֹת אֲשֶׁ֥ר אִבַּ֖ד חִזְקִיָּ֣הוּ אָבִ֑יו וַיָּ֨קֶם מִזְבְּחֹ֜ת לַבַּ֗עַל וַיַּ֤עַשׂ אֲשֵׁרָה֙ כַּאֲשֶׁ֣ר עָשָׂ֗ה אַחְאָב֙ מֶ֣לֶךְ יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וַיִּשְׁתַּ֙חוּ֙ לְכָל־צְבָ֣א הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם וַֽיַּעֲבֹ֖ד אֹתָֽם׃ (ד) וּבָנָ֥ה מִזְבְּחֹ֖ת בְּבֵ֣ית ה' אֲשֶׁר֙ אָמַ֣ר ה' בִּירוּשָׁלִַ֖ם אָשִׂ֥ים אֶת־שְׁמִֽי׃ (ה) וַיִּ֥בֶן מִזְבְּח֖וֹת לְכָל־צְבָ֣א הַשָּׁמָ֑יִם בִּשְׁתֵּ֖י חַצְר֥וֹת בֵּית־ה'׃ (ו) וְהֶעֱבִ֤יר אֶת־בְּנוֹ֙ בָּאֵ֔שׁ וְעוֹנֵ֣ן וְנִחֵ֔שׁ וְעָ֥שָׂה א֖וֹב וְיִדְּעֹנִ֑ים הִרְבָּ֗ה לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת הָרַ֛ע בְּעֵינֵ֥י ה' לְהַכְעִֽיס׃ (ז) וַיָּ֕שֶׂם אֶת־פֶּ֥סֶל הָאֲשֵׁרָ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר עָשָׂ֑ה בַּבַּ֗יִת אֲשֶׁ֨ר אָמַ֤ר ה' אֶל־דָּוִד֙ וְאֶל־שְׁלֹמֹ֣ה בְנ֔וֹ בַּבַּ֨יִת הַזֶּ֜ה וּבִירוּשָׁלִַ֗ם אֲשֶׁ֤ר בָּחַ֙רְתִּי֙ מִכֹּל֙ שִׁבְטֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אָשִׂ֥ים אֶת־שְׁמִ֖י לְעוֹלָֽם׃ (ח) וְלֹ֣א אֹסִ֗יף לְהָנִיד֙ רֶ֣גֶל יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל מִן־הָ֣אֲדָמָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר נָתַ֖תִּי לַֽאֲבוֹתָ֑ם רַ֣ק ׀ אִם־יִשְׁמְר֣וּ לַעֲשׂ֗וֹת כְּכֹל֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר צִוִּיתִ֔ים וּלְכָל־הַ֨תּוֹרָ֔ה אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּ֥ה אֹתָ֖ם עַבְדִּ֥י מֹשֶֽׁה׃ (ט) וְלֹ֖א שָׁמֵ֑עוּ וַיַּתְעֵ֤ם מְנַשֶּׁה֙ לַעֲשׂ֣וֹת אֶת־הָרָ֔ע מִן־הַ֨גּוֹיִ֔ם אֲשֶׁר֙ הִשְׁמִ֣יד ה' מִפְּנֵ֖י בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ (י) וַיְדַבֵּ֧ר ה' בְּיַד־עֲבָדָ֥יו הַנְּבִיאִ֖ים לֵאמֹֽר׃ (יא) יַעַן֩ אֲשֶׁ֨ר עָשָׂ֜ה מְנַשֶּׁ֤ה מֶֽלֶךְ־יְהוּדָה֙ הַתֹּעֵב֣וֹת הָאֵ֔לֶּה הֵרַ֕ע מִכֹּ֛ל אֲשֶׁר־עָשׂ֥וּ הָאֱמֹרִ֖י אֲשֶׁ֣ר לְפָנָ֑יו וַיַּחֲטִ֥א גַֽם־אֶת־יְהוּדָ֖ה בְּגִלּוּלָֽיו׃ (פ) (יב) לָכֵ֗ן כֹּֽה־אָמַ֤ר ה' אֱלֹקֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל הִנְנִי֙ מֵבִ֣יא רָעָ֔ה עַל־יְרוּשָׁלִַ֖ם וִֽיהוּדָ֑ה אֲשֶׁר֙ כָּל־שמעיו [שֹׁ֣מְעָ֔הּ] תִּצַּ֖לְנָה שְׁתֵּ֥י אָזְנָֽיו׃ (יג) וְנָטִ֣יתִי עַל־יְרוּשָׁלִַ֗ם אֵ֚ת קָ֣ו שֹֽׁמְר֔וֹן וְאֶת־מִשְׁקֹ֖לֶת בֵּ֣ית אַחְאָ֑ב וּמָחִ֨יתִי אֶת־יְרוּשָׁלִַ֜ם כַּֽאֲשֶׁר־יִמְחֶ֤ה אֶת־הַצַּלַּ֙חַת֙ מָחָ֔ה וְהָפַ֖ךְ עַל־פָּנֶֽיהָ׃ (יד) וְנָטַשְׁתִּ֗י אֵ֚ת שְׁאֵרִ֣ית נַחֲלָתִ֔י וּנְתַתִּ֖ים בְּיַ֣ד אֹֽיְבֵיהֶ֑ם וְהָי֥וּ לְבַ֛ז וְלִמְשִׁסָּ֖ה לְכָל־אֹיְבֵיהֶֽם׃ (טו) יַ֗עַן אֲשֶׁ֨ר עָשׂ֤וּ אֶת־הָרַע֙ בְּעֵינַ֔י וַיִּהְי֥וּ מַכְעִסִ֖ים אֹתִ֑י מִן־הַיּ֗וֹם אֲשֶׁ֨ר יָצְא֤וּ אֲבוֹתָם֙ מִמִּצְרַ֔יִם וְעַ֖ד הַיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּֽה׃ (טז) וְגַם֩ דָּ֨ם נָקִ֜י שָׁפַ֤ךְ מְנַשֶּׁה֙ הַרְבֵּ֣ה מְאֹ֔ד עַ֛ד אֲשֶׁר־מִלֵּ֥א אֶת־יְרוּשָׁלִַ֖ם פֶּ֣ה לָפֶ֑ה לְבַ֤ד מֵֽחַטָּאתוֹ֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר הֶחֱטִ֣יא אֶת־יְהוּדָ֔ה לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת הָרַ֖ע בְּעֵינֵ֥י ה'׃

(1) Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem; his mother’s name was Hephzibah. (2) He did what was displeasing to the LORD, following the abhorrent practices of the nations that the LORD had dispossessed before the Israelites. (3) He rebuilt the shrines that his father Hezekiah had destroyed; he erected altars for Baal and made a sacred post, as King Ahab of Israel had done. He bowed down to all the host of heaven and worshiped them, (4) and he built altars for them in the House of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, “I will establish My name in Jerusalem.” (5) He built altars for all the hosts of heaven in the two courts of the House of the LORD. (6) He consigned his son to the fire; he practiced soothsaying and divination, and consulted ghosts and familiar spirits; he did much that was displeasing to the LORD, to vex Him. (7) The sculptured image of Asherah that he made he placed in the House concerning which the LORD had said to David and to his son Solomon, “In this House and in Jerusalem, which I chose out of all the tribes of Israel, I will establish My name forever. (8) And I will not again cause the feet of Israel to wander from the land that I gave to their fathers, if they will but faithfully observe all that I have commanded them—all the Teachings with which My servant Moses charged them.” (9) But they did not obey, and Manasseh led them astray to do greater evil than the nations that the LORD had destroyed before the Israelites. (10) Therefore the LORD spoke through His servants the prophets: (11) “Because King Manasseh of Judah has done these abhorrent things—he has outdone in wickedness all that the Amorites did before his time—and because he led Judah to sin with his fetishes, (12) assuredly, thus said the LORD, the God of Israel: I am going to bring such a disaster on Jerusalem and Judah that both ears of everyone who hears about it will tingle. (13) I will apply to Jerusalem the measuring line of Samaria and the weights of the House of Ahab; I will wipe Jerusalem clean as one wipes a dish and turns it upside down. (14) And I will cast off the remnant of My own people and deliver them into the hands of their enemies. They shall be plunder and prey to all their enemies (15) because they have done what is displeasing to Me and have been vexing Me from the day that their fathers came out of Egypt to this day.” (16) Moreover, Manasseh put so many innocent persons to death that he filled Jerusalem [with blood] from end to end—besides the sin he committed in causing Judah to do what was displeasing to the LORD.

(י) וַיְדַבֵּ֧ר ה' אֶל־מְנַשֶּׁ֥ה וְאֶל־עַמּ֖וֹ וְלֹ֥א הִקְשִֽׁיבוּ׃ (יא) וַיָּבֵ֨א ה' עֲלֵיהֶ֗ם אֶת־שָׂרֵ֤י הַצָּבָא֙ אֲשֶׁר֙ לְמֶ֣לֶךְ אַשּׁ֔וּר וַיִּלְכְּד֥וּ אֶת־מְנַשֶּׁ֖ה בַּחֹחִ֑ים וַיַּֽאַסְרֻ֙הוּ֙ בַּֽנְחֻשְׁתַּ֔יִם וַיּוֹלִיכֻ֖הוּ בָּבֶֽלָה׃ (יב) וּכְהָצֵ֣ר ל֔וֹ חִלָּ֕ה אֶת־פְּנֵ֖י ה' אֱלֹקָ֑יו וַיִּכָּנַ֣ע מְאֹ֔ד מִלִּפְנֵ֖י אֱלֹקֵ֥י אֲבֹתָֽיו׃ (יג) וַיִּתְפַּלֵּ֣ל אֵלָ֗יו וַיֵּעָ֤תֶר לוֹ֙ וַיִּשְׁמַ֣ע תְּחִנָּת֔וֹ וַיְשִׁיבֵ֥הוּ יְרוּשָׁלִַ֖ם לְמַלְכוּת֑וֹ וַיֵּ֣דַע מְנַשֶּׁ֔ה כִּ֥י ה' ה֥וּא הָֽאֱלֹקִֽים׃ (יד) וְאַחֲרֵי־כֵ֡ן בָּנָ֣ה חוֹמָ֣ה חִֽיצוֹנָ֣ה ׀ לְעִיר־דָּוִ֡יד מַעְרָבָה֩ לְגִיח֨וֹן בַּנַּ֜חַל וְלָב֨וֹא בְשַׁ֤עַר הַדָּגִים֙ וְסָבַ֣ב לָעֹ֔פֶל וַיַּגְבִּיהֶ֖הָ מְאֹ֑ד וַיָּ֧שֶׂם שָֽׂרֵי־חַ֛יִל בְּכָל־הֶעָרִ֥ים הַבְּצֻר֖וֹת בִּיהוּדָֽה׃ (טו) וַ֠יָּסַר אֶת־אֱלֹקֵ֨י הַנֵּכָ֤ר וְאֶת־הַסֶּ֙מֶל֙ מִבֵּ֣ית ה' וְכָל־הַֽמִּזְבְּח֗וֹת אֲשֶׁ֥ר בָּנָ֛ה בְּהַ֥ר בֵּית־ה' וּבִירוּשָׁלִָ֑ם וַיַּשְׁלֵ֖ךְ ח֥וּצָה לָעִֽיר׃

(10) The LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they would not pay heed, (11) so the LORD brought against them the officers of the army of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh captive in manacles, bound him in fetters, and led him off to Babylon. (12) In his distress, he entreated the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. (13) He prayed to Him, and He granted his prayer, heard his plea, and returned him to Jerusalem to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD alone was God. (14) Afterward he built the outer wall of the City of David west of Gihon in the wadi on the way to the Fish Gate, and it encircled Ophel; he raised it very high. He also placed army officers in all the fortified towns of Judah. (15) He removed the foreign gods and the image from the House of the LORD, as well as all the altars that he had built on the Mount of the House of the LORD and in Jerusalem, and dumped them outside the city.

(משלי כה, א) גם אלה משלי שלמה אשר העתיקו אנשי חזקיה מלך יהודה וכי חזקיה מלך יהודה לכל העולם כולו לימד תורה ולמנשה בנו לא לימד תורה אלא מכל טורח שטרח בו ומכל עמל שעמל בו לא העלהו למוטב אלא יסורין שנאמר (דברי הימים ב לג, י) וידבר ה' אל מנשה ואל עמו ולא הקשיבו ויבא ה' עליהם את שרי הצבא אשר למלך אשור וילכדו את מנשה בחוחים ויאסרוהו בנחשתים ויוליכהו בבלה וכתיב (דברי הימים ב לג, יב) ובהיצר לו חילה את פני ה' אלקיו ויכנע מאד מלפני (ה') אלקי אבותיו ויתפלל אליו ויעתר לו וישמע תחינתו וישיבהו ירושלים למלכותו וידע מנשה כי ה' הוא האלקים הא למדת שחביבין יסורין

“These too are the proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah, king of Judea, copied” (Proverbs 25:1), indicating that Hezekiah taught Torah and disseminated it to the multitudes. And is it conceivable that Hezekiah, king of Judea, taught Torah to the entire world and to Manasseh his son he did not teach Torah? Rather, Hezekiah certainly taught Manasseh much Torah; nevertheless, from all his exertion to teach him and from all his toil to teach him, it was only afflictions that elevated him to the path of good, as it is stated: “And the Lord spoke to Manasseh and to his people but they would not heed. And the Lord brought upon them the captains of the army of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh with hooks, and bound him with chains, and carried him to Babylonia” (II Chronicles 33:10–11). And it is written thereafter: “And when he was in distress, he sought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and he prayed to Him and He was entreated of him, and He heard his supplication, and brought him back to Jerusalem into his kingdom; then Manasseh knew that the Lord He was God” (II Chronicles 33:12–13). You learned from this that afflictions are cherished.

Questions to Consider

1. Why did King Hezekiah fall ill?

2. What was the prophet Isaiah's response to the points Hezekiah raised about what he had seen via the Divine spirit?

3. Who were King Menasseh's parents? COMPARE THIS TO BEN SOLO.

4. Why do you think King Menasseh might not have been able to come to God/ accept him when his parents were as illustrious as the incredibly wise and good King Hezekiah and the daughter of the prophet?

5. What finally inspires King Menasseh to change? How might we relate this back to Kylo Ren?

6. Based on all of this, was Luke correct in his assessment of Ben and his desire to eradicate him? What do the sources suggest?

Rey's Accusation against Luke

Is it true?

Did you do it?

Did you create Kylo Ren?

Tell me the truth.


You failed him by thinking his choice was made.

It wasn't.

There is still conflict in him.

If he turned from the Dark Side, that could shift the tide.

This could be how we win.

Why בן סורר ומורה is Different

It does not apply to Kylo Ren.

(יח) כִּֽי־יִהְיֶ֣ה לְאִ֗ישׁ בֵּ֚ן סוֹרֵ֣ר וּמוֹרֶ֔ה אֵינֶ֣נּוּ שֹׁמֵ֔עַ בְּק֥וֹל אָבִ֖יו וּבְק֣וֹל אִמּ֑וֹ וְיסְּר֣וּ אֹת֔וֹ וְלֹ֥א יִשְׁמַ֖ע אֲלֵיהֶֽם׃ (יט) וְתָ֥פְשׂוּ ב֖וֹ אָבִ֣יו וְאִמּ֑וֹ וְהוֹצִ֧יאוּ אֹת֛וֹ אֶל־זִקְנֵ֥י עִיר֖וֹ וְאֶל־שַׁ֥עַר מְקֹמֽוֹ׃ (כ) וְאָמְר֞וּ אֶל־זִקְנֵ֣י עִיר֗וֹ בְּנֵ֤נוּ זֶה֙ סוֹרֵ֣ר וּמֹרֶ֔ה אֵינֶ֥נּוּ שֹׁמֵ֖עַ בְּקֹלֵ֑נוּ זוֹלֵ֖ל וְסֹבֵֽא׃ (כא) וּ֠רְגָמֻהוּ כָּל־אַנְשֵׁ֨י עִיר֤וֹ בָֽאֲבָנִים֙ וָמֵ֔ת וּבִֽעַרְתָּ֥ הָרָ֖ע מִקִּרְבֶּ֑ךָ וְכָל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל יִשְׁמְע֥וּ וְיִרָֽאוּ׃ (ס)

(18) If a man has a wayward and defiant son, who does not heed his father or mother and does not obey them even after they discipline him, (19) his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his town at the public place of his community. (20) They shall say to the elders of his town, “This son of ours is disloyal and defiant; he does not heed us. He is a glutton and a drunkard. (21) Thereupon the men of his town shall stone him to death. Thus you will sweep out evil from your midst: all Israel will hear and be afraid.

אינו נעשה בן סורר ומורה עד שיאכל בשר וישתה יין: תנו רבנן אכל כל מאכל ולא אכל בשר שתה כל משקה ולא שתה יין אינו נעשה בן סורר ומורה עד שיאכל בשר וישתה יין שנאמר זולל וסובא ואע"פ שאין ראייה לדבר זכר לדבר שנאמר (משלי כג, כ) אל תהי בסובאי יין בזוללי בשר למו ואומר (משלי כג, כא) כי סובא וזולל יורש וקרעים תלביש נומה אמר ר' זירא כל הישן בבית המדרש תורתו נעשית לו קרעים קרעים שנאמר וקרעים תלביש נומה: מתני׳ גנב משל אביו ואכל ברשות אביו משל אחרים ואכל ברשות אחרים משל אחרים ואכל ברשות אביו אינו נעשה בן סורר ומורה עד שיגנוב משל אביו ויאכל ברשות אחרים רבי יוסי בר' יהודה אומר עד שיגנוב משל אביו ומשל אמו: גמ׳ גנב משל אביו ואכל ברשות אביו אע"ג דשכיח ליה בעית משל אחרים ואכל ברשות אחרים אע"ג דלא בעית לא שכיח ליה וכל שכן משל אחרים ואכל ברשות אביו דלא שכיח ליה ובעית עד שיגנוב משל אביו ויאכל ברשות אחרים דשכיח ליה ולא בעית: רבי יוסי בר' יהודה אומר עד שיגנוב משל אביו ומשל אמו: אמו מנא לה מה שקנתה אשה קנה בעלה אמר רבי יוסי בר' חנינא מסעודה המוכנת לאביו ולאמו והאמר רבי חנן בר מולדה אמר רב הונא אינו חייב עד שיקנה בשר בזול ויאכל יין בזול וישתה אלא אימא מדמי סעודה המוכנת לאביו ולאמו איבעית אימא דאקני לה אחר ואמר לה על מנת שאין לבעליך רשות בהן: מתני׳ היה אביו רוצה ואמו אינה רוצה אביו אינו רוצה ואמו רוצה אינו נעשה בן סורר ומורה עד שיהו שניהם רוצין רבי יהודה אומר אם לא היתה אמו ראויה לאביו אינו נעשה בן סורר ומורה: גמ׳ מאי אינה ראויה אילימא חייבי כריתות וחייבי מיתות ב"ד סוף סוף אבוה אבוה נינהו ואמיה אמיה נינהו אלא בשוה לאביו קאמר תניא נמי הכי רבי יהודה אומר אם לא היתה אמו שוה לאביו בקול ובמראה ובקומה אינו נעשה בן סורר ומורה מאי טעמא דאמר קרא איננו שומע בקלנו מדקול בעינן שוין מראה וקומה נמי בעינן שוין כמאן אזלא הא דתניא בן סורר ומורה לא היה ולא עתיד להיות ולמה נכתב דרוש וקבל שכר כמאן כרבי יהודה איבעית אימא ר' שמעון היא דתניא אמר רבי שמעון וכי מפני שאכל זה תרטימר בשר ושתה חצי לוג יין האיטלקי אביו ואמו מוציאין אותו לסקלו אלא לא היה ולא עתיד להיות ולמה נכתב דרוש וקבל שכר אמר ר' יונתן אני ראיתיו וישבתי על קברו כמאן אזלא הא דתניא עיר הנדחת לא היתה ולא עתידה להיות ולמה נכתבה דרוש וקבל שכר כמאן כר' אליעזר דתניא רבי אליעזר אומר כל עיר שיש בה אפילו מזוזה אחת אינה נעשית עיר הנדחת

§ The mishna teaches that the boy does not become a stubborn and rebellious son unless he actually eats meat and drinks wine. The Sages taught in a baraita: If he ate any other food but did not eat meat, or if he drank any other beverage but did not drink wine, he does not become a stubborn and rebellious son unless he actually eats meat and drinks wine, as it is stated: “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voices; he is a glutton and a drunkard.” And although there is no explicit proof to the matter, there is an allusion to the matter in another verse, as it is stated: “Be not among wine drinkers, among gluttonous eaters of meat” (Proverbs 23:20). And the verse states: “For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty, and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags” (Proverbs 23:21). That is to say, a person who is a glutton and a drunkard, and sleeps a lot due to his excessive eating and drinking, will end up poor and dressed in rags. Rabbi Zeira expounds the same verse and says: With regard to anyone who sleeps in the study hall, his Torah shall become tattered, as it is stated: “And drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.” MISHNA: If he stole that which belonged to his father and ate on his father’s property, or he stole that which belonged to others and ate on the property of others, or he stole that which belonged to others and ate on his father’s property, he does not become a stubborn and rebellious son, unless he steals that which belonged to his father and eats on the property of others. Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, says: He does not become a stubborn and rebellious son unless he steals that which belonged to his father and that which belonged to his mother. GEMARA: The Gemara explains the reasons for the various halakhot taught in the mishna: If he stole that which belonged to his father and ate on his father’s property, even though this is accessible to him and it is easy for him to steal, he is afraid that his father will see him eating what he had stolen, and therefore he will not be drawn after his action to further evil. If he stole that which belonged to others and ate on the property of others, even though he is not afraid of them, as they neither know him nor watch over him, this theft is not easily accessible to him, as it is performed on someone else’s property, and therefore he will not be drawn to additional sin. And all the more so if he stole that which belonged to others and ate on his father’s property, in which case it is not accessible to him, and he is also afraid of his father. Therefore, he is not liable unless he steals that which belonged to his father and eats on the property of others, in which case it is easily accessible to him, and he is not afraid, and there is concern that he will be drawn after his action to additional sin. The mishna teaches that Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, says that he is not liable as a stubborn and rebellious son unless he steals that which belonged to his father and that which belonged to his mother. The Gemara asks: With regard to his mother, from where does she have independently owned property that her son can steal? The basis for this question is the halakha that anything that a woman acquires is acquired by her husband. Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says in answer to this question: The mishna is referring to a case where the boy stole food from a meal that had been prepared for his father and for his mother. In such a case the husband grants his wife ownership of the food that she will eat over the course of her meal. The Gemara raises a difficulty. But doesn’t Rabbi Ḥanan bar Molada say that Rav Huna says: A stubborn and rebellious son is not liable unless he purchases inexpensive meat and eats it, and he purchases inexpensive wine and drinks it, which indicates that he becomes liable only if he steals money, not if he steals the actual meat and wine? Rather, say that the boy stole from money set aside for a meal that was to be prepared for his father and for his mother. The Gemara presents another answer to the question posed concerning the opinion of Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda: If you wish, say instead that another person gave property to the mother and said to her: This shall be yours on the condition that your husband shall have no right to it. In such a case, the woman acquires the property for herself and her husband does not acquire it. Therefore, it is possible for the son to steal from his mother’s property. MISHNA: If his father wishes to have him punished but his mother does not wish that, or if his father does not wish to have him punished but his mother wishes that, he does not become a stubborn and rebellious son, unless they both wish that he be punished. Rabbi Yehuda says: If his mother was not suited for his father, the two being an inappropriate match, as the Gemara will explain, he does not become a stubborn and rebellious son. GEMARA: The Gemara asks: What does Rabbi Yehuda mean when he speaks of the mother as being not suited for the father? If we say that due to their union they are among those who are liable to receive karet, in which case the marriage does not take effect, and certainly if the union puts them in the category of those who are liable to receive one of the types of court-imposed death penalty, in which case the marriage also does not take effect, there is a difficulty: Why should it matter if they are not married? Ultimately, his father is still his father and his mother is still his mother, and the verses concerning the stubborn and rebellious son can be fulfilled. Rather, Rabbi Yehuda is saying that the boy’s mother must be identical to his father in several aspects. The Gemara comments: This is also taught in a baraita: Rabbi Yehuda says: If his mother was not identical to his father in voice, appearance, and height, he does not become a stubborn and rebellious son. The Gemara asks: What is the reason for this? As the verse states: “He will not obey our voices [kolenu]” (Deuteronomy 21:20), which indicates that they both have the same voice. And since we require that they be identical in voice, we also require that they be identical in appearance and height. The Gemara asks: In accordance with whose opinion is that which is taught in a baraita: There has never been a stubborn and rebellious son and there will never be one in the future, as it is impossible to fulfill all the requirements that must be met in order to apply this halakha. And why, then, was the passage relating to a stubborn and rebellious son written in the Torah? So that you may expound upon new understandings of the Torah and receive reward for your learning, this being an aspect of the Torah that has only theoretical value. In accordance with whose opinion is this? It is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda, who requires that the parents have certain identical characteristics, making it virtually impossible to apply the halakha. If you wish, say instead that this baraita is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Shimon. As it is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Shimon says: And is it simply due to the fact that the boy ate a tarteimar of meat and drank a half-log of Italian wine that his father and his mother shall take him out to stone him? Rather, there has never been a stubborn and rebellious son and there will never be one in the future. And why, then, was the passage relating to a stubborn and rebellious son written in the Torah? So that you may expound upon new understandings of the Torah and receive reward for your learning. Rabbi Yonatan says: This is not so, as I saw one. I was once in a place where a stubborn and rebellious son was condemned to death, and I even sat on his grave after he was executed. The Gemara raises a similar question: In accordance with whose opinion is that which is taught in a baraita: There has never been an idolatrous city and there will never be one in the future, as it is virtually impossible to fulfill all the requirements that must be met in order to apply this halakha. And why, then, was the passage relating to an idolatrous city written in the Torah? So that you may expound upon new understandings of the Torah and receive reward for your learning. In accordance with whose opinion is this? It is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer, as it is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Eliezer says: Any city that has even one mezuza or any other sacred scroll cannot become an idolatrous city. It is difficult to imagine an entire city without even one mezuza.

Excerpt from "Bad Boys" by Rabbi Moshe Heigh (link for full article)

There is a remark of the Iyun Yaacov on Rosh Hashana 16B. We said that the heavenly court punishes based on the present, but the human Sanhedrin is commanded to eliminate the ben sorer umoreh because of the future. Iyun Yaacov suggests a reason for this. In Heaven, they know exactly when the individual will sin. As a result, Hashem has “no need” to kill someone ahead of time. The heavenly court can wait until the precise moment necessary to rid the world of the danger. Why kill him earlier if he can be taken care of later? This was the case with Yishmael, where it was up to Hashem whether to provide water or not. On the other hand, human judges are limited in their abilities. The Torah’s policy, expressed in the context of ben sorer umoreh, is that the Sanhedrin has to act when given the legal opportunity to do so. Since the boy has already begun behaving in an abominable fashion, AND THERE IS AMPLE EVIDENCE right now that he will continue this way and get worse, he must be dealt with properly. Maybe later, he will assault people, murder them for their money, and no witnesses will be present! A human Sanhedrin cannot say, “Don’t worry, all you potential victims out there. We will know exactly when to execute this fellow, and we’ll certainly be provided with sufficient, legal evidence at the time.” The Torah tells us that this attitude is unacceptable. Let him die relatively guiltless, rather than as a hardened criminal. Perhaps the chance to rid society of this dangerous person will not arise again. Therefore, says the Iyun Yaacov, the Torah commands us to do away with this threat now, since there IS testimony to his crimes of the present. They themselves do not warrant a death penalty, but the Torah knows that they will result in more serious crimes. Thus, there is a requirement to judge him now, because of his future.

Questions to Consider

1. What does it mean to be ACTIVE? What does it mean if something is DORMANT? (For clarity's sake, consider an active volcano to a dormant one.) Additionally, if someone thinks about doing something, is that the same as doing it?

2. What exactly must a Ben Sorer U'Moreh have done to merit possible execution?

3. What must the parents do in such a scenario?

4. Why did the rabbis legislate this concept out of existence?

5. Most importantly, look at what Luke says about Ben- "I had sensed darkness building within him. I had seen it in moments during his training." Did Ben actually, ACTIVELY, DO ANYTHING yet? (Now compare to the scenarios with Ishmael, Micah and Menasseh).

6. When is the first time Ben ACTIVELY does anything evil?

Where does Luke's action leave Kylo Ren?

The short answer is angry. Watch this scene.

Kylo Ren vs. Luke (End Scenes)

[Kylo is on his ship when he sees Luke appear. He speaks to his commander].

Kylo Ren: I want every gun we have to fire on that man.

Commander: [hesitates]

Kylo Ren: Do it.

[They begin]

Kylo Ren: More. MORE!

[They fire every gun they have.]

Commander: That's enough. That's enough! (Sarcastically} Do you think you got him? [pause] Now if we're ready to get moving..

[Luke is still standing.]

Kylo Ren: We can finish this.

Commander: Sir?

Kylo Ren: Bring me down to him. Keep the door covered and don't advance till I say.

Commander: Supreme Leader- don't get distracted; our goal..

[Kylo chokes him.]

Commander: Right away, sir!


Kylo Ren (to Luke): Did you come back to say you forgive me? To save my soul?

Luke: No.

[They circle one another]

Luke: I failed you, Ben. I'm sorry.

Kylo Ren: [angrily] I'm sure you are!

Questions to Consider

1. Why is Kylo Ren so angry with Luke?

2. What does this show about Kylo Ren's relationship to Luke (does it matter to him)?

3. If Kylo had been going to join the Dark Side all along, do you think he would react this way? Why yes/ no?

What does this mean for us as educators?

Excerpt from Abraham's Journey by Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, pages 98-99

It is not implausible to link the verb a-m-n to em, "mother," since she is the foremost teacher of and believer in the child. A mother will never despair of her child, nor will she spare any effort to further her child's welfare, even though she does not expect to live long enough to enjoy the fruits of her toil and sacrifice. She is the most unselfish being. Her faith in her child can never be shaken. She will patiently try to do some particular thing for her child over and over again, since failure, however disappointing, does not weaken her determination to bring out the best and finest in the child. The em is unconditionally committed to her child, in whose capabilities she has unrestricted trust.

To believe and to bring up are identical accomplishments. The believer must be able to engage in a great educational task, to pick up the debris of a shattered world and reconstitute a harmonious creation, to seize human talent and capability in an ongoing array of deeds, suffusing these powers with meaning and integrating them into a redeemed personality. The believer is committed to the reconstruction of human society and the catharsis of the individual. All this must happen in a natural, evolutionary way, through progressive action, while man, like an infant, learns to take his first ascending steps up the steep mountain of the Lord.

The element of faith is indispensable for any pedagogical endeavor. A teacher who lacks confidence that his pupil is able to grasp the ideas he passes on to him will never be successful. The teacher must also have faith that learning will have a moral impact upon the disciple. We believe that knowledge is redemptive and therapeutic performance. A pessimist must never do any teaching or be entrusted with the care of a child, since his efforts are doomed to failure from the very outset. All educational activities are identical with mothering, for what is mothering if not displaying unlimited faith in a child?

Excerpt from חובות התלמידים by Rabbi Kalonymous Kalman Shapira, page 7 (in the English translation)

The education of each and every child must therefore be different, depending on his nature, mind, character, and all his other unique qualities. The educator must become aware of these qualities; it will not suffice for him to know himself and his own mind alone, since everything depends on the student who is being educated. It is not enough to utilize his own mind and his own strength in activating, commanding, and instructing his students; he must grasp the student's mind and the student's strength, working and acting within the parameters of each child's abilities. What he commands and instructs one child should be different from what he commands and instructs the next child, whose nature, will, and personality are completely different from the first. And this is what King Solomon is hinting to us- "educate the child according to his path"- according to the particular path of each and every child.

Our goal here is not to teach the craft of pedagogy- how to utilize the student's mind in various ways, how to broaden his understanding and knowledge of the meaning of the Torah. For what we are seeking now is not the student's intellect alone: we are interested in the whole student. We wish to connect the Nefesh, Ruach and Neshamah of Jewish children to the God of Israel, so that they will emerge as Jews who revere the word of the Lord and direct all their desires toward Him.

Every father and every teacher knows that their children and students will not remain children forever, but will eventually grow in years and possibly in Torah knowledge and spiritual devotion. Yet there exist fathers and teachers who are concerned only with what they see right now. Since all they see right now are children the goal of their efforts is to educate their charges to become good children. They wish to infuse them with only a child's measure of Torah and awe of God. This they consider sufficient. But a teacher or parent who does this is sinning against God and against His people. Fathers and teachers must know that their task is to educate and uncover children of the Lord and giants of Israel. They must see the children sitting in front of them as great souls still immature; their task is to get them to grow and flourish. A teacher is a gardener in the garden of God, assigned to cultivate it and guard it from harm. Even if some of the children seem rebellious, or flawed in their character, the teacher must know that the nature of soul-seeds; of unripe angels, is to taste bitter as they are ripening and to be filled with nectar in their maturity. Neither the nature, nor any particular quality of a Jewish child, is absolutely evil. This is what the holy Baal Shem Tov and his disciples have taught us. What is necessary is just to know how to use these qualities and how to help them develop and grow. For example, a particular child may be very stubborn- which is a character flaw. His teacher may suffer greatly because of the child's stubborness. Yet if the teacher were to reflect, he would realize that when this child matures and receives as his own the yoke of Torah and of service to God, he will perform all his service of God with great stubbornness and self-sacrifice. He will not be frivolous or inclined to vacillate but will be the kind of Jew the Midrash described: In all matters of devotion, he will be as strong as the wall of a fortress.

Excerpt from "Niggun for Broken Hearts: A Shavuos Story" as written by Shimon Breitkopf and published in Mishpacha Magazine (link to full article)

"You see, there are two different types of Jews- 'Matan Torah Jews' and 'Megillas Rus Jews.' You know, a Matan Torah Jew lives on a very high level. He is a Jew who learns Torah day and night, who is attached to Hashem with all his heart. But in spite of all his greatness, he still can't bring Mashiach.

"Mashiach will come from a Megillas Rus Jew. Mashiach comes from Rus, because Rus taught the entire Jewish People that the greatest achievements come after a person has been pushed away, after he has been asked to leave. She taught us that if you come back after you've been driven away, after you've been shamed, and you still cling to the Torah, then your Torah will become the Torah of Mashiach.

"Your name is Dovid," he went on. "Dovid HaMelech also contended with shame and rejection. From the time he was born, he was denigrated and humiliated. But that made him a vessel for the most profound devotion that ever existed. You know, we all think that Shavuos is the holiday of the Jews who have a connection to Matan Torah, but I will tell you that it's really a Yom Tov for the Jews of Megillas Rus.


"You should know that when a person comes back after he has been driven away, he is a different person. He isn't coming back for external reasons. He comes back because his neshamah tells him to. That's the power of a Megillas Rus Jew."


-We must judge people as they are at that point in time (as we see by Ishmael). Only the Almighty can do otherwise (as we see by Micha).

-No matter what we think we might "know," our obligation is to do what we can to help nourish and nurture others (Hezekiah and his son Menasseh).

-It is entirely possible that the people we thought were irreedeemable may return (Menasseh).

-One should not educate or teach if they do not believe they can be effective.

-One must be careful not to judge others BEFORE THEY HAVE EVEN ACTED. Recognize that someone's nature or character flaw may become their greatest strength/ asset.

Luke & Leia's Last Encounter

Luke: I came to face him, Leia. And I can't save him.

Leia: I held out hope for so long...but I know my son is gone.

Luke: No one's ever really gone.