Rav Avigdor Miller on The Death Penalty

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Q:
If revenge is such a bad character trait why is it that the Rav speaks so much about punishing criminals and wicked people?


A:
There’s a tape called Kosher Revenge; if you’ll listen to it you’ll find the subject explained at length. But briefly now, I’ll tell you that every instinct in mankind is implanted for a purpose. There is no instinct that is intrinsically wrong. And the instinct for revenge is for the purpose of executing justice. We have to be angry at wrongdoers – not like the liberals who ridicule the idea of the death penalty. They say it’s only relieving our feelings. We must relieve those feelings on the criminals because that’s why Hakodosh Boruch Hu gave us those feelings.

The purpose of revenge is in order that wrongdoers should be punished. We must be angry at wrongdoers! And that’s why it was a very great crime that a certain Orthodox Jewish organization worked hard to get Governor Hugh Carey elected. That Orthodox organization committed a great crime against the Jewish people because the restoration of capital punishment is of the utmost necessity for checking crime. And you should keep in mind that these people, the Orthodox group who fought to have Governor Cary elected, have done a very big disservice to the Jewish people. Because revenge is important and it functions so that we should be angry at criminals and wrongdoers. And when people have atrophied their natural instincts, when they lose that feeling of revenge, that’s when crime flourishes and justice is no longer practiced.
TAPE # 256 (November 1978)