Mikeitz 5769-2008

"Measure for Measure"

One of the great contributions of the Jewish people to civilization is the idea that a third innocent party may not be punished for the actions of another person. The practice of "an eye for an eye" has always been interpreted in Judaism as monetary compensation for an eye, thoroughly rejecting Lex Talionis, physical retaliation as the ancients practiced. Notwithstanding all this, our rabbis understood the G-d's heavenly justice does operate on the principle of "measure for measure." The story of Joseph in particular contains many proof texts to underscore how human beings are indeed held accountable by Heaven for their actions.

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