There Is No Punishment, There Is Only Correction

Dr. Michael LaitmanThe Torah, “Exodus,” 21:18-21:19: And if men quarrel, and one strikes the other with a stone or with a fist, and he does not die but is confined to [his] bed, if he gets up and walks about outside on his support, the assailant shall be cleared; he shall give only [payment] for his [enforced] idleness, and he shall provide for his cure.

From a corporeal point of view, we understand what it is about, but if we penetrate more deeply we will discover that it is much more complicated. It is about a person who can be incorporated into society after the damage that was caused to him, to be a normal, integral part of it, and whoever has caused him the damage should compensate him.

Question: What is the meaning of “and one strikes the other” in the internal work?

Answer: A person includes the whole world inside him, and when there is a war inside him, he should become his own judge and consider clearly and accurately what inside him is “for” and what is “against,” according to his level.

There is an upper court, a local one, a regional one, and so on, which means that there are different levels according to the depth of the problems that arise. There are problems that can be solved by a simple dialog between people, and there are problems that require the intervention of a third party. The Torah speaks about the intervention of a third party, when the judge decides what to do in a specific case.

It is about the three lines in our behavior. There are actions that are solved by the intervention of special upper forces, conditions, and so on.

The Torah doesn’t refer to prison. According to the Torah, it isn’t just useless but even harmful to a person since you cut him off from society. There is no greater punishment than to cut a person off from society since it is in society that he fulfills himself, and  if you cut him off from it, he is considered dead. So, there can be no isolation. We can banish a person from one society and bring him into another, lower one that is more suitable for him.

In the past, there were cities of refuge to which a person could escape if he had committed a sin unintentionally. However, if he left that city, he could be caught and punished. The escape to a refuge city, to an asylum, was his correction.

This means that the upper Providence had operated on a person in such a way that he had unintentionally killed another person or caused harm to another person. This means that he didn’t take part in this action and that it initially was unintentional on his part, but internally, under all his thoughts and ideas, it was still part of his nature or of his connection with that person. It turns out that he had caused harm or the death of another person, even if it was unintentional. Now, in order to correct this, he must get away. The word “punishment” doesn’t exist in the Torah at all; there is only the word “correction.”
From KabTV’s “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 4/29/13

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