Friday, December 20, 2013

Fact-Checking -- Leviticus 24:19-22

So I said we were going to look at Leviticus 24:19-22 and here’s why.
A man who creates a wound in his people, whatever he did, thus it shall be done to him:
A break, the compensation for a break, an eye, the compensation for an eye, a tooth, the compensation for a tooth, whatever defect a man causes in another man, thus it shall be done with him.
Whoever strikes a beast [dead] shall pay for it and whoever strikes a man [dead] shall die.
One law shall be for you, the stranger as well as the homeborn it shall be, for I am the Lord your Gd.

Does anything in there look familiar to you?  It should, and it uses tachat just like the other time you saw it.  So now you know that “thus it shall be done” has to mean paying damages.  Now, verse 21 starts out “whoever strikes a beast dead shall pay for it,” which carries out the idea that just because A does something B doesn’t like, doesn’t mean that B gets to do the same back.  B doesn’t get to kill A’s ox.  The end of the verse we’ll deal with in a while, but look at verse 22.

All the laws of Torah apply both to those born Jewish, and those who convert.  It applies to people born in the Holy Land, and it applies to people from outside the Holy Land.  It’s all the same for everybody.  That’s true whether it’s a benefit or a punishment.
This is called Equal Protection.  It took the American Constitution to create Amendment 14, some time after the Civil War, to reflect this principle in any Western legal system.  The rules of a society have to apply to all members of that society.

The flip side, of course, is that everybody in that society is bound by those laws.  There are no exceptions.  I’ll deal with this more later because Torah has specific examples where “there are no exceptions,” and there’s a phrase for that which I will bring up then.
For now, memorize verse 22.  And then understand that this is why money has to be the equalizer, not equal retaliation.  There is no LT in Judaism, not from Exodus, not from Leviticus, and even, in case you didn’t notice it, not in Deuteronomy.  The girl whose chastity was slandered can’t turn around and say “You’re a hypocrite, you’re not a virgin either.”  There are no physical signs of virginity in a man that Torah recognizes.  The girl can never be forced to pay a fine for slandering a man’s virginity.

For now, we’re still on the track of LT and I have another example of how it can’t be true for Judaism.  Study Deuteronomy 25:12.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

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