An Eye for an Eye, or is it?



SHORT AND SWEET INSIGHTS FROM THIS WEEK'S TORAH PORTION, PARASHAT EMOR, NUMBER 5:

It says in this week's Parasha...

“An eye for an eye.” (24:20)


QUESTION: According to the Gemara (Bava Kamma 84a) when one damages another’s eye, he is required to make financial restitution.

How do we know not to interpret this literally, “an eye for an eye”?

ANSWER: If it means “an eye for an eye,” it should say, ayin be’ad ayin.” The word “tachat” means “under,” which teaches us that when one takes another’s eye, his punishment consists of “tachat ayin” — the letters that are “under” the word “ayin” (עין).

This is explained as follows:

In the Hebrew alef-beit, if the letters are stacked vertically with "א" on top, under the "ע" is a "פ", under the "י" is a "כ", and under the "נ" is a "ס". These letters spell the word “kesef”(כסף), which means money.

(ר' שמשון זצ"ל מאסטראפאלי)

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