Torah, Deuteronomy 25:01 – 25:04: If there is a quarrel between men, and they approach the tribunal, and they [the judges] judge them, and they acquit the innocent one and condemn the guilty one and it shall be, if the guilty one has incurred [the penalty of] lashes, that the judge shall make him lean over and flog him in front of him, commensurate with his crime, in number. He shall flog him with forty [lashes]; he shall not exceed, lest he give him a much more severe flogging than these [forty lashes], and your brother will be degraded before your eyes. You shall not muzzle an ox when it is threshing [the grain].
The lashes are given to us purposely to teach our egoism to obey a stronger, higher judge, which is the next level. Therefore, one can punish the ego but only to the next level. Forty is the level of Bina. There should not be more lashes because that would be considered a humiliation.
If I get forty lashes, then it is neither a humiliation nor a punishment, but it is a correction.
In our time, people would perceive it as humiliation if they were punished for an offense by beatings. Imagine a judge saying to the accused: “We sentence you to either forty lashes or 2 years in prison.” Is it not better for him to serve the time and keep his pride rather than to feel humiliated in front of others?
Previously, there were no prisons in Israel. They are not mentioned in the Torah at all because prisons do not correct. Only blows can correct.
A person and society should understand that, in this way, they oppose the egoism that the Creator has placed in a person. If a person agrees to this punishment and society believes that there is no choice, a person should not be punished but should get help to correct himself. Then, both man and society work together with the ego. It is precisely egoism that gets forty strokes and not man!
This is an educational process and not punishment.
To this day, prisons in the US are not called places of detention but, rather, correctional institutions. A dog is put into a cage and a person is placed for correction.
Egoism is given to us from above and it must be judged. That is why the people of Israel, mentioned in the Torah, went to their correction with the help of blows and not imprisonment.
Question: It is said: “You shall not muzzle an ox when it is threshing [the grain].” What does this mean?
Answer: When a spiritual level ascends in a person, the animate level has to receive what is its due.
Every person has to go through the state of blows with which he rises to the level of Bina. This is how one gets punishment and rises. And the animate remains at its level and it should get what it is supposed to.
From KabTV’s “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 11/2/16