Here are some speculations why I would think Judaism would never execute [rightfully] convicted Jews right away:

  1. We don't like killing people (even those who deserve it) and try everything within our power to avoid doing so.

  2. We should follow the Pasuk (Yechezkel 33,11) that very clearly shows that G-d prefers Teshuvah over death:

    "אֱמֹר אֲלֵיהֶם חַי אָנִי נְאֻם ה"א אִם אֶחְפֹּץ בְּמוֹת הָרָשָׁע כִּי אִם בְּשׁוּב רָשָׁע מִדַּרְכּוֹ וְחָיָה.
    שׁוּבוּ שׁוּבוּ מִדַּרְכֵיכֶם הָרָעִים וְלָמָּה תָמוּתוּ בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל"

  3. We cry at a funeral realizing that an hour of Mitzvos is worth more than the whole afterlife (Pirke Avot). Why not allow the convict to enjoy some more Mitzvos?

  4. Beruria, R" Meir's wife is famous for changing his mind from killing some sinners and making them do Teshuva instead (Berachot 10a), based on another Posuk (Tehilim 104,35):

    "יִתַּמּוּ חַטָּאִים מִן הָאָרֶץ וּרְשָׁעִים עוֹד אֵינָם"

    Translation - "G-d wants the sins to be extermined not the sinners".

  5. It appears that killing has no social value, (probably besides "יראו ויראו"), the opposite is true - it is a huge loss to the family, kids, relatives, community etc.

Why is the necessity to execute the convict immediately (Rambam Sanhedrin 13.1)?

  • 5
    What would the alternative be? Have the guy sit in jail on death row for 20 years before killing him? Have him go home and tell him 'you better come back in a month for us to kill you'? Jul 7 '19 at 23:19
  • Once he's liable to the death penalty, he forfeits his right to live...
    – robev
    Jul 8 '19 at 2:21
  • are you asking why there is no appeal, or why there is no delay?
    – simyou
    Jul 8 '19 at 6:45
  • @Salmononius2 If we value life and Mitzvos, postponing it for a day or two would give a person additional merits and Mitzvos and opportunity of doing Teshuvah. That's the alternative.
    – Al Berko
    Jul 8 '19 at 10:49
  • @AlBerko So why not wait 3 days, since he can get another days worth of Mitzvos? Or not kill him at all, so he can get a lifetime of Mitzvos? My point is, I agree that we give utmost importance to human life and Mitzvos, but the fact of the matter is, we're dealing with a case where someone commits an offence that warrants the death penalty. We're already going against all the rules of not wanting to end a life, so why would we not carry out the sentence as quickly as possible? Jul 8 '19 at 16:42

Chazal determined that the anguish of Inuy HaDin - having to wait around on death row - is far too great a punishment, and everybody deserves to be spared that anguish.

Similarly, Chazal determined that it's way more painful to be executed by stoning (i.e. being thrown off the 2nd floor and then being pelted with rocks) when dressed, and thus instituted that (despite modesty issues) men are stripped to their "underpants" before being stoned to spare them unnecessary pain. Yet, women are stoned while dressed as they do not deserve the mental anguish of being undressed in public.

  • Thank you for taking the Q. seriously (as I can see others didn't). I remember those arguments studying Makos and Sanhedrin, but I seriously doubt their veracity. If I were presented with two options - being executed immediately or postpone it for a couple of days I'd surely go for the second. But I don't see how you address all the points I mentioned? Why would עינוי הדין override all of the above?
    – Al Berko
    Jul 8 '19 at 10:48
  • @AlBerko - I think all your points are addressed by עינוי הדין - since that is the reason given. We just can't grasp what it feels like. This guy knows he did the crime, he knows he was convicted and now he is awaiting the punishment. As a parallel compare with a kid's fear of being punished, as mentioned in the Kitzur 165:7:saying: לֹא יְאַיֵם עַל הַתִּינוֹק שֶׁיַכֵּהוּ לְאַחַר זְמָן. אֶלָּא אִם רוֹאֵהוּ עוֹשֶׂה אֵיזֶה מַעֲשֶׂה, יַכֵּהוּ מִיָד אוֹ יִשְׁתֹּק לְגַמְרֵי. מַעֲשֶׂה בְּתִינוֹק שֶׁבָּרַח מִבֵּית הַסֵּפֶר, וְהִפְחִידוֹ אָבִיו שֶׁיַכֵּהוּ, הָלַךְ הַתִּינוֹק וְהֵמִית אֶת עַצְמוֹ Jul 9 '19 at 8:34
  • I don't trust sages' psychological reasoning blindly. If one is sentensed anyway, why not let him earn some more Mitzvos, otherwise, why do we cry on death? Nothing bad happened - G-d issued His verdict. We don't mourn after convicts, right? The case with a kid is totally different - he continues to live. Judging for yourself, how would YOU answer my Q. in my previous comment?
    – Al Berko
    Jul 9 '19 at 10:42

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