Soc.Culture.Jewish Newsgroups
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

URL: www.scjfaq.org/faq/11-04-02.html
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Question 11.4.2:
Practices Towards Others: What does "eye for an eye" mean?

Answer:

The Written Law does, in Exodus 21:24 demand an "eye for an eye" (Exodus 21:24). However, the Oral Law explains that the verse must be understood as requiring monetary compensation: the value of an eye is what must be paid.

Note that the Written Law does NOT imply "lex talionis" - gouging out the perpetrator's eye as retaliatory punishment. Gandhi and many others misunderstood this verse.


The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.

[Got Questions?]Hopefully, the FAQ will provide the answer to your questions. If it doesn't, please drop Email to questions@scjfaq.org. The FAQ maintainer will endeavor to direct your query to an appropriate individual that can answer it. If you would like to be part of the group to which the maintainer directs questions, please drop a note to the FAQ maintainer at maintainer@scjfaq.org.

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