Ransoming Captive Jews
An important commandment calls for the redemption of Jewish prisoners, but how far should this mitzvah be taken?
Summary and Conclusions
We have seen that pidyon shvuyim is a major value in our tradition and that Jews have exerted great efforts to redeem captives. However, we do not pay excessive ransom "mipney tikkun olam," for the public good. In other words, the public takes precedence over the individual, even if this endangers the individual. Exchanging hundreds or thousands of terrorists for one Israeli encourages kidnapping of Israelis, and frees hundreds or thousands of terrorists who will pick up their weapons and attack Israel. In other words, it endangers the public and should not be done.
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