Interestingly, Hashem decided that seeing revenge against the Midyanim was so important, Moshe Rabbeinu needed to see this before he went on to the Next World.
This is so hard to understand.
Judaism takes a very strong stand against revenge.
We generally consider revenge Hashem's arena, and not the arena of human beings.
We understand far too little about justice.
So what's going on here?
When the One in the Middle Indicates Greatness
The word de'ah appears between the names of Hashem in the verse: Kel da'ot Hashem.
(Da'ot is the plural of de'ah.)
Rav Miller likens it to your own thoughts upon seeing an unknown man walking between to great tzaddikim — you don't know the man, but you assume that if he's worth 2 tzaddikim spending time with him, then he must be a great person himself.
All the more so, if it's 2 tzaddikim who embrace contrasting methods & attitudes, yet they come together to escort the man between them, you know that unknown man must be VERY great.
Kel is one name of Hashem, indicating Hashem's Might & Mastery. Hashem indicates Hashem's loving-kindness & grace.
(This is why we say at the end of Shema & Aleinu that ultimately Hashem will be One — meaning that when the Good Times of Truth finally arrive, Hashem will rule with compassion only, rather that strict judgement. Please see the Kli Yakar on Parshat V'Etchanan.)
So if being sandwiched between 2 great names indicates importance, then the verse "Kel nakamot Hashem — A God of vengeance is Hashem" also indicates that vengeance must be pretty important too.
Fascinatingly, Rav Miller says that vengeance is actually one of the best ways to acquire da'at (another form of de'ah).
Revenge is one of the best ways to get close to Hashem.
But it needs to be holy revenge, and not how people usually think of revenge.
Why Kosher Revenge is So Important
Yet that's not logical. Think about it for a moment.
Hashem is already Elevated. He doesn't need us at all.
So Rav Miller says this means that when we see bad people get what they deserve, then that elevates Hashem in our eyes.
So for example, if someone commits a crime and is exonerated based solely on the color of his skin, that lowers Hashem in our eyes.
It may not be a conscious lowering, but it happens.
It's true that for over a century, many white people got away with crimes against black people simply because of the color of their skin.
Yet for a couple of decades now, many black people get away with crimes (sometimes even very prominent & dastardly crimes, like the murder of Yankel Rosenblum) because of the color of their skin.
And just for knowing, I'm anti-racist REGARDLESS OF SKIN COLOR.
I don't care who is being racist against whom.
It's always wrong.
Rav Miller says that when courts don't persecute actual crimes properly, it affects all of society.
On page 8, Rav Miller explains his support of the death penalty and exhorts us not to believe the "false statistics" of liberal mouthpieces.
The truth is, I always heard and still hear that the death penalty is no deterrent.
But I think that's because of the way America applies the death penalty. For example, a person sits on death row for 20 years, constantly appealing the verdict. Some get it overturned or transformed into a life sentence.
The truth is that in America, a killer knows full well that even if they catch him, he probably won't face execution. And even if he faces execution, it probably won't happen for years & years, or it will be transmuted to life in prison.
So that's not very deterring to the criminal mind, which often isn't good at thinking long-term anyway (else they wouldn't be a criminal).
My only other issue with the death penalty is the possibility of a false conviction against an innocent person, which occasionally happens.
Obviously, Rav Miller is also concerned about pure justice and not getting the wrong man (or woman).
However, in many death row crimes, the perpetrator is obvious to all (i.e., it doesn't rely on the testimony of a 14-year-old paperboy who may or may not have seen what he claims he saw, and has been bullied by the prosecuting attorney into testifying).
Also, in Judaism, even the times of Tanach when execution was permitted, it rarely happened and when it did, the person being executed was drugged so he didn't feel emotional or physical pain.
We aren't into causing any more pain than necessary, no matter what.
Stories of Encounters with Just Desserts
By seeing the punishment of people doing bad things, we can acquire da'at.
One clipping Rav Miller collected was regarding Mike Todd (formerly Avrom Hersch Goldbogen).
Mike behaved in flagrant violation of the Torah...and fell out of his private plane named for his third wife, Elizabeth Taylor.
That's very unusual (and symbolic) and maybe, says Rav Miller, he did teshuvah on the way down.
The truth is, later reports state that the plane crashed while Mike was in it. So I don't know which way it happened; possibly the initial reports stated that Mike fell out & that's what Rav Miller clipped.
With a name like Avrom Hersch Goldbogen, we can assume that, in contrast to most American Jews today, he actually understood that he was doing something wrong.
(Indeed, he was raised in a frum family.)
I know that many people don't like the idea of a transgressor being punished, so maybe it helps to know that he made his money by producing films that objectified & degraded women and also his second wife divorced him on grounds of mental cruelty.
Another nauseatingly assimilated Jewish couple, of which the husband headed one of the world's most degrading magazines, decided to fly on Friday night to a convention full of immorality, and the plane's engine fell off and they crashed.
Or it's sort of like when terrorist accidentally blow themselves up at home while putting together explosives meant to blow up Jews.
Elevating Hashem Elevates Us Too
It's a great consolation for good people.
It's important to note that Rav Miller acknowledges more than once throughout how unappealing this whole concept sounds to modern ears.
He knows it appalls people.
That's why he's explaining it in such detail, yet starting with the basics of the idea.
It's important we should understand all facets of Torah, and not just those we find culturally appealing.
We need to rise above our environment.