Parshas Ki Setzei
“He may not continue to hit him!” (Devarim 25:3)
It is a negative commandment not to hit a sinner more than he deserves. The explanation of the matter is that one who has been sentenced to receive lashes is assessed to see how much strength he has and to estimate according to his size, age and body how many lashes he can cope with. He must at least receive three lashes (if he cannot bear even this, he does not get lashes at all) up to a maximum of thirty-nine. About this there is a negative commandment not to continue to hit him even once more than the thirty-nine or more than they assessed him to be able to bear. About all of this it says “He may not continue to hit him!”.
This prohibition is also an interdiction not to hit any Jewish man, as if we are even prohibited from hitting a sinner more then he deserves obviously we are prohibited from hitting anyone else. Chazal stopped us even from hinting to someone to hit someone else and they said that “Anyone who raises his hand against his friend in order to hit him is called a “Wicked man”, as it says “And he said to the wicked man “Why do you hit your friend?”””.
The root of this commandment is apparent to everyone as it is not just nor correct to hit any creation except if it is in proportion to his wickedness, in order to afflict him according to the sentence of the Beis Din.
This prohibition (the part regarding not to hit any member of Klal Yisrael) applies in all places and at all times, both to man and to women. However, the part of the prohibition relating to the prohibition not to add extra lashes applies only when Klal Yisrael were living in Eretz Yisrael when we had a Beis Din with the power to sentence someone to receive lashes.