Are you allowed to daven for someone else to get punished? In other words, if a real Jewish rasha in every sense of the word does bad to you for no good reason and you feel incredibly hurt, can you daven for them to get punished? Assume that the person continually wrongs others.

It is true that Hashem will punish them anyway, but if davening makes you feel better, is it considered inappropriate or even wrong? And, if so, are there consequences to doing so? (Such as other tefillos becoming nullified because you davened for someone to get harmed?)

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    See B'rachos (10a), where Rabbi Meir wanted to pray for the death of some wicked, exceedingly belligerent neighbors, and his wife counseled him to pray that the neighbors repent instead. R' Meir followed this advice, and the neighbors repented: הנהו בריוני דהוו ,בשבבותיה דר"מ והוו קא מצערו ליה טובא הוה קא בעי ר' מאיר רחמי עלויהו כי היכי דלימותו אמרה לי' ברוריא דביתהו מאי דעתך משום דכתיב יתמו חטאים מי כתיב חוטאים חטאים כתיב... אלא בעי רחמי עלויהו דלהדרו בתשובה ורשעים עוד אינם בעא רחמי עלויהו והדרו בתשובה
    – Fred
    Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 20:06
  • If you know that Hashem will punish them, why isn't that knowledge sufficient to feel better? What if your opinion (no matter how strongly held) that the person is a rasha is incorrect?
    – Daniel
    Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 20:06
  • Somewhat similar: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/1344
    – msh210
    Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 20:11
  • 1
    Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/10360 and judaism.stackexchange.com/q/31250
    – Fred
    Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 20:15
  • 1
    We do this three times every day, in the bracha of ולמלשינים (which was instituted for Jewish heretics.)
    – wfb
    Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 5:29

4 Answers 4


There's a famous story about Rabbi Meir (from the Talmud) who was bothered by some people in his neighborhood and wanted to pray for them to die. His wife Bruria talked him out of it with the following argument:

"What do you think, that it is better to pray that the wicked die, because it is said, 'May sins cease from the earth' (Psalms 104:35)? But is it written, chotim [sinners]? [No,] it is written, chato'im [sins]. Furthermore, read the end of the verse: 'and let the wicked be no more.' If the sinners cease, there certainly will be [no need to state,] 'and let the wicked be no more.' " Rather, request mercy for them, that they repent, [thereby fulfilling] "and let the wicked be no more."

So no, it's not okay for someone to pray for someone else to be punished for their sins.

  • That's only if "punish" = "die".
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Apr 18, 2023 at 13:24

Tehillim Chapter 109. According to the summary (of unknown authorship) printed in front of it in many versions of Tehillim (I'm looking at a Tehillim Ohel Yosef Yitzchak, but there are many others that print it as well), it was said by Dovid when he was running away from Shaul, directed at many enemies who feigned friendship with him, but only spoke bad about him.

That strongly implies that the chapter targets Jews. See here for further discussion on if it targets Jews or not.

In it says things like:

בְּהִשָּׁפְטוֹ יֵצֵא רָשָׁע וּתְפִלָּתוֹ תִּהְיֶה לַחֲטָאָה

When he is judged, let him emerge guilty, and let his prayer be accounted as a sin.

The Sidur Beis Yaakov says that Dovid Hamelech was punished for this as it says גם ענוש לצדיק לא טוב (See Brochos 7a) therefore he brings a prayer for Krias Shema at night to say that I forgive everyone that harmed me and hope that none are punished because of me.

So it seems that it may not be outright forbidden, but is still generally not appropriate and will impact someone who does it negatively.


I heard that someone who calls for judgement on another, is himself subject to the force of judgement.

So permitted or not, it's not a good idea. There are other ways of helping yourself feel better: try learning Torah, exercising, or posting on Mi Yodeya.


In Kriat Shemah She-al Ha-mita - we say outright that we forgive everyone for any wrong-doings against us and then we go on to say that no-one should be punished because of our ill-feelings against them.

So yes, to daven for someone else to get punished is certainly inappropriate. (and probably ineffective for that matter since - if you did pray for someone to be punished - you annul that prayer anyway before going to sleep. :-))

רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם הֲרֵינִי מוֹחֵל וְסוֹלֵחַ לְכָל מִי שֶׁהִכְעִיס וְהִקְנִיט אוֹתִי, אוֹ שֶׁחָטָא כְּנֶגְדִּי בֵּין בְּגוּפִי, בֵּין בְּמָמוֹנִי, בֵּין בִּכְבוֹדִי, בֵּין בְּכָל אֲשֶׁר לִי, בֵּין בְּאֹנֶס בֵּין בְּרָצוֹן, בֵּין בְּשׁוֹגֵג בֵּין בְּמֵזִיד, בֵּין בְּדִבּוּר בֵּין בְּמַעֲשֶׂה, בֵּין בְּגִלְגּוּל זֶה בֵּין בְּגִלְגּוּל אַחֵר, לְכָל בַּר יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְלֹא יֵעָנֵשׁ שׁוּם אָדָם בְּסִבָּתִי.‏

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