Skip to content
July 9, 2012 / conservadox

letter vs. spirit

Rabbi Sacks writes in this week’s Dvar Torah:

In general we are commanded to “walk in God’s ways” and imitate His attributes. “Just as He is merciful and compassionate, so you be merciful and compassionate.” That is not, however, the case when it comes to executing punishment or vengeance. God who knows all may execute sentence without a trial, but we, being human, may not. There are forms of justice that are God’s domain, not ours.

In other words, for being nice we imitate God, for killing people we don’t.  But why?  It seems to me that Rabbi Sacks is relying on the idea that there is a spirit of the law (i.e. playing nice)’ this spirit does not necessarily override the letter of the law, but does govern how we interpret it.   And its a good thing, too!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: