Torah Portion: Ki Sisa
You shall not kindle fire in any of your dwellings on the Sabbath day (Shemos 35:3).
It is a negative commandment that judges may not carry out their sentence on the Shabbos; that is, if an individual was sentenced to death in beis din (the court), he should not be executed on Shabbos, as it is written, You shall not kindle fire in any of your dwellings on the Sabbath day (Shemos 35:3). Our Sages explain that this verse comes to say that beis din may execute by fire on Shabbos someone who was sentenced to die by that punishment. The same applies to all other forms of execution as well. The reason our Sages interpreted the verse in this manner is because Scripture already wrote elsewhere regarding the Shabbos, You shall not do any work (ibid. 20:10), and kindling is a form work. Since Scripture writes it here explicitly, we are to learn the law discussed here — that beis din does not carry out the death penalty on Shabbos.
Among the roots of the mitzvah is idea that Hashem wished to honor this day [of Shabbos], that it should be a day of rest for all, including the sinners and those who were found guilty. This too is part of the honor of the day.
This commandment applies when the Holy Temple stood, to judges.