Question: Does Jewish Law require Memorial Prayers - Yizkor - for a bad person?
What are the laws regarding Yizkor for someone that was NOT a nice person. Should yahrzeit be said for those that did awful things to people during their lifetime?
Thank you, J
Answer: Dear J,
There is virtually no transgression that a person could have done in their lifetime that would cause them to forfeit the recitation of Yizkor on their behalf after their passing.
That being said, if reciting Yizkor for this person would simply arouse too many bitter memories and anger, I recommend you appoint someone else to recite the Yizkor for them in place of you doing so. Be sure to give them the deceased's complete Hebrew name.
With warmest regards,
Rabbi Ari Enkin
Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel