The words of the Torah, ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand’ are probably one of the most misunderstood statements in the entire Torah.
Throughout the ages people have used this verse incorrectly to justify revenge in the literal sense. In some societies, the court of law would actually carry out ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand’ – if someone blinded, knocked out a tooth, or cut off someone’s hand, the court would do the same to him!
However, Jewish law is based on the Oral Tradition given to Moshe while he was studying with HaShem for 40 days. Moshe came down from the mountain and explained to us is that the words “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” refers to paying back with money, and it’s up to the Jewish court to figure out the amount of payment.
“An eye for an eye,” says the Torah, yet our Sages say it means paying for the damage. So, why doesn’t the Torah say clearly, “payment for an eye,” or, “the value of an eye?”
This question has perplexed even the greatest minds till this very day.
One possible answer is that the Torah wanted us to know that the assailant truly deserves to lose his eye, but since HaShem is merciful He obligated him to make payment instead, and that’s plenty of money! Let’s hope this tough-guy learns his lesson.
The Torah uses the words עין תחת עין “Ayin Tachas Ayin,” which means, “an eye for an eye,” but literally it’s “an eye under an eye.”
Here comes the secret…. (shhhh… don’t tell anyone or it won’t be a secret.)
Look at the word עין. In the Aleph-Beis the letter under (or after) ע is the letter ‘פ.
And after ‘י is ‘כ.
And after ‘ן is ‘ס.
Now, put all those “under letters” together and you get פכס – which has no meaning. But WAIT! Switch around those letters and you get – כסף meaning “money”!
So, there you have it – this guy who caused someone to become blind must pay up money.