Touro Law Review


Yehiel Kaplan


Under Jewish law, mercy and compassion are essential principles to ensure the presence of a just legal system. Not only do mercy and compassion in the law preserve traditional values of human dignity, implementing a more compassionate legal system has practical benefits in both the spheres of legal judgment and of legal punishment. This article will compare the Jewish legal system’s application of these necessary doctrines to how other modern legal systems, including the American legal system, implement mercy and compassion. As a result of this in-depth comparison, this article recommends that the American legal system, and other modern legal systems, should borrow from the Jewish legal system in order to place a greater importance on mercy by focusing more on rehabilitation of the offender rather than demanding strict adherence to harsh punishment policies that only end up doing more harm than good.