Chavarah- Jewish Community Learning

A blog of Jewish study and traditions. Notes from classes: Torah Study with Rabbi Marder, Toledot and Shabbaton as well as other details found of interest.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

"Show Him No Pity"

A convicted murder is guilty - how should we feel about that person? How should we feel about the punishment?

There are different thoughts from our sages:

Hirsch: Showing pity is the same as showing indifference. You must punish those who are guilty to honor the sanctity of life.

R. Akiva: Killing a person "impairs God's likeness" in mankind and thus diminishes the image of God each time a life is taken including the convicted murderer.

While the Torah clearly includes capital punishment for murder, we need to remember that times were different, there were no jails. Later interpretations in Talmud and Rabbinical texts regarding this makes capital punishment very difficult to justify unless there are extreme circumstances.


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