- An "Eye" for an Eye: The Concept of Proportional Punishment
- A discussion of "an eye for an eye" as it appears in parshat Emor. Chazal say it means monetary payment. I agree as a matter of peshat, not just derash. I examine the psukim in context, which is a contrast between the death penalty for one who murders a man, as opposed to monetary payment when one kills an animal. This contrast is repeated, framing the verses stating "an eye for an eye." One does not pay wergild for deliberately murdering a man, nor does one lose his life for killing an animal. We do see such payment in parshat Mishpatim if one's animal kills a man, and we see in the same chapter that there is monetary payment for injuring one's fellow (as opposed to being injured oneself). I made another analysis, coming to the same conclusion, for the "eye for an eye" mentioned in parshat Mishpatim.
- The Blasphemer
- A contrast between the Midrash which states that the Egyptian killed by Moshe in Egypt for striking the Hebrew was the father of the blasphemer, and that he had just slept with Shlomit, and the Midrash which states that when Moshe looked to and fro and saw there was no man, he saw into the future that there would be no descendant who would be part of the Jewish people. An obvious harmonization is that the reason Moshe looked for descendants was not that the merit of such descendants would save the Egyptian, who deserved what he got, but that by killing the Egyptian, he would be preventing said descendants from coming into being. This parallels the bloodguilt Kayin had not only for Hevel but for all of Hevel's descendants. Even had the blasphemer been an upright guy, he had already been conceived. I consider this idea and others in more detail on a post on parshat Shemot.
- Is Blasphemy A Crime Even In America?
- I note the case of a Hindu man suing a company for blaspheming Ganesh.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Posted by joshwaxman at 5:29 PM