Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim
Reader: When we look at evil people, we see different shades of evil: some murder one person, others murder thousands, and others even even millions. Now, when we consider the concept of “measure-for-measure,” is it a fact that the greatest “punishment” for such an evil person is their soul being destroyed? If that is so, are we to assume all the murderers get equal treatment? For all of them, their souls are [equally] destroyed, so it doesn't seem like there are “levels” to this soul destruction. Meaning, if all murderers—despite their varying severity—are equally removed from existence…where is the “measure-for-measure” for each respective evildoer according to his own level of evil?
Rabbi: It could, be that measure-for-measure is a method through which God helps the sinner identify the area of his flaw...to improve. Thus, those beyond improvement do not receive such a kindness. But Maimonides does write that punishment can be all in this world, all in the next world, or partially in both. Thus, God decides how to measure a fitting punishment. Maimonides writes (Hilchos Teshuva 6:1):
There is a category of sin for which justice demands that punishment should be visited upon the sinner in this world, on his body, or his property, or on his infant children, for the little children of man, who have not yet reached the age of intelligence nor attained the age when they are included among those who are obliged to observe the precepts, are considered man's own acquisition, even as it is written: "Every man shall be put to death for his own sin" (Deut. 24.16)—he suffers for his own sins when he reaches the age of man. There is a category of sin for which justice demands that punishment should be visited upon the transgressors only in the World to Come, and the sinner suffers no harm whatever in this world; and there is still another category of sin for which punishment is inflicted upon the sinner both in this world and the World to Come.