In this week's portion we have the oft quoted phrase "eye for an eye...". Against the backdrop of all the discussion these days of comparative religion, we have an excellent opportunity to set the record straight regarding Judaism and Torah.
This phrase is part of an extended discussion about nezikin, or damages, and really has nothing to do with criminal justice per se. The tractate in the Talmud dealing principally with damages is Bava Kama, and in the 8th chapter it states emphatically that this verse means monetary restitution. Thus, it is inconceivable for the Torah, about which was written: diracheha darchei noam-its ways are ways of pleasantness, to legislate the literal taking of an eye for another eye.
One might ask, however, why then did the Torah express itself in such a manner that had such potential for misinterpretation? One answer could be that when a person only has to pay damages for such a violent act one could emerge from the proceedings not recognizing the real gravity of the damage one had caused. As such the Torah says that if God forbid you do perpetrate such an act, you DESERVE the same fate, only the earthly court is not authorized to mete out punishment is that fashion.
Rabbi Jonathan Glass
Presenting Max Richardson’s first showing in New York: Image of Israel: Origin and Identity
Mr. Richardson has created a moving, visual testament to Israel’s origin and identity. His images consistently portray the intimacy between "Israel, the land" and "Israel, the people," and are featured prominently in the books Touching the Stones of our Heritage — photos of the Kotel (Western Wall) Tunnels — and City of David: The Story of Ancient Jerusalem.
The select group of images in this exhibition — culled from a vast body of work over his twenty-five years living and working in the Holy Land — shows a sensitivity to diverse subjects while encompassing a broad use of the photographic medium. Breaking away from the tendency to over size everything in contemporary art, the pieces offered are modest in size, yet the effect is refreshingly profound and personal. Included are portraits made with 8” x 10” and 4” x 5" field cameras, composite digital images meant to be enlarged to 8 x10 feet, and, in a nod to autochromes — the first commercial color process —photographs printed on glass. Also featured, for the first time in New York, are pieces representing Mr. Richardson s latest exploration — unique images of Jerusalem printed directly on the renowned "Jerusalem Stone.”
The exhibition will run from February 17 - March 15, 2015. Please join us for the Opening on Tuesday, February 17 at 7:30pm.