Who Loses His Soul?

Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim

Reader: What is the penalty in Judaism legally and spiritually for someone who insults a Rabbi or religious scholar personally over a non religious issue and over a religious issue? What if he mocks or insults, in front of a Rabbi, Scholar, aspects of Judaism that are law….opinions that are not legal [not accepted halacha]. What does G-d say to blasphemers and heretics who do this around secular but self identifying Jews? What about Jews who do not convert but speak up for Jesus as G-d, a prophet, a messiah in front of religious Jews including Rabbis and everyday religious Jews?

Rabbi: I am not in a position to comment about legal penalties, but I will cite sources addressing the damage to the soul. All these below lose their afterlife:

Rav and Rabbi Ḥanina both say: This (an apikores) is one who treats a Torah scholar with contempt. Rabbi Yochanan and Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi say: This is one who treats another with contempt before a Torah scholar. (Sanhedrin 99b)

And, the following are they that have no share in the World to Come but suffer excision and loss of identity, and are damned for ever and ever for their exceeding wickedness and sinfulness: atheists, infidels, traducers of the Torah, dissenters of resurrection and the coming of a redeemer, apostates, enticers of many to sin, seceders from the congregation, a public perpetrator of sins emulating Jehoiakim, informers, leaders who cast fear upon the congregation not for the sake of God, shedders of blood by defaming people in public, evil-tongued people, he who abolishes circumcision. (Hil. Teshuva 3:6)

There are five categories of atheists (Min): 

(1) he who says that there is no God and no Omnipotence; 

(2) he who says that there is an Omnipotence but that there are two or more such; 

(3) he who says that there is One Lord; but that He is corporeal and has a form; 

(4) Likewise one who says that He alone is not the First Cause and Creator of all; 

(5) likewise he who worships a star, or planet, or any other as a mediator between him and the Lord of the universe; every one of these five is an atheist. (Hil. Teshuva 3:7)

There are three categories of infidels (Apikores): 

(1) he who says that prophecy is altogether an invention, and that no knowledge reaches the heart of the sons of man from the Creator; 

(2) he who denies the prophecy of Moses our Master; 

(3) and he who says that the Creator knows not the affairs of the sons of man; every one of these three is an infidel. 

There are three categories of Torah traducers (Kofer): 

(1) he who says that the Torah is not God given, even if he says that a single Verse or one word thereof was spoken by Moses on his own authority is, indeed, a traducer of the Torah; 

(2) he who denies its Oral explanation, that is the Oral Torah, or its teachers as Tzaduk and Bysos did; 

(3) he who says that the Creator switched one mitzvah for another and that the Torah had been nullified long ago, though it really was God given; every one of these three is a traducer of the Torah. (Hil. Teshuva 3:8)

There are two categories of apostates (Mumar) in Israel: 

(1) an apostate against one commandment; 

(2) an apostate against the whole Torah. The apostate against one commandment is; one who emboldens himself to transgress a given commandment consciously so that it becomes his habit of doing it publicly, even it be of the minor commandments, for instance, he persistently wears garment mixed of wool and flax, or rounds the corners of his head, as a consequence whereof it appears that such commandment no longer exists in his world, such one is, indeed, an apostate in this matter, if he does such spitefully. An apostate against the whole Torah is, a convert to the religion of the idolaters, for instance, at a time when they issue arbitrary edicts and he cleaves to them, saying: "Of what profit is there for me to cleave to Israel who are down-trodden and persecuted; it is rather best for me to cleave to these in whose hand lies the power", he, assuredly, is apostate against the whole Torah. (Hil. Teshuva 3:9)