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The agent of the law must transcend their individual humanity. (Inspired by Ketubot 105-106)

The agent of the law must transcend their individual humanity. (Inspired by Ketubot 105-106)

We need to live in a society that is fair with Justice and equality before the Law. Society must be governed by rules. These rules must stand outside all of human beings that make up the society. Not even the King is above the Law. No human being is.

However, words cannot sit by themselves in the corner. They need people (for now; the computers are coming) to interpret, apply and enforce those words. Those people are humans that are part of the society; human beings with failings, desires and needs.

A policeman, public official or judge must not forget that they are human, but in their role they must strive to become more than just another collection of needs. They must somehow try to become an embodiment of the words and concepts. They will not succeed, but they must try.

One understanding of reason is something that can take us beyond our animal core. Reason, particularly as receptacle for the Divine message, can see beyond our constraints. Much of modern philosophy aims to show that this will always fail. It might fail, but that is no reason to sink back down.

The ultimate betrayal of the trust that the public places in you is to allow controllable biases, bribery, self-interest, embezzlement and nepotism to subvert the role you have been entrusted with. The very fabric of the Law that brings people together is subverted by that dereliction of duty. The corrupt official becomes themselves and not the embodiment of something far greater.

The discussion in the Gemara has not only focused on the prohibition of taking bribes. A bribe might be defined as a payment for taking one side. However, even a present with no conditions attached is equally destructive. The Hebrew word for bribe, Shochad is broken down to mean Sho (Sheh, that which) makes you (E)Chad one. The taker can no longer distinguish their own being from the being and needs of the giver.

A story is told of a misunderstanding between two Sages, which results in the case brought by orphans being dismissed (the paradigmatic obligation to serve justice equally to the defenseless) and one defendant in another case backing off upon seeing the honor done to the other side. The Sage whose mistake leads to thus disaster, R. Anan, loses the privilege of special communication with Eliyahu Hanavi (the Prophet). Eventually, Eliyahu returns but in a horrific and terrible format.

Eliyahu Hanavi is an interesting figure in the Talmud. He deserves more discussion. However, he is not just the sweet old man that some later stories might suggest. He represents a loving but unforgiving, unyielding demand that is extremely difficult for the human to meet. That is his character as represented in Melachim (Kings) and it may explain, why, as the harbinger of the coming of the Mashiach, he has not come yet.

Art created using DALL-E 2.

submitted by /u/eliyah23rd
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Source: Reditt

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