April 22nd, 2014

Cynthia Ozick On Pity, Vengeance, And Forgiveness.

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We are taught, Ozick suggests, that vengeance brutalizes us and forgiveness refines us; but it can work the other way around.  "The rabbis said, 'Whoever is merciful to the cruel will end by being indifferent to the innocent.'"

Vengeance is "the act of bringing public justice to evil." ..."a justice that enlightens the world as to the (precise details) of evil.  "Only vengeance knows pity for the victim."

 "  (F)orgiveness is pitiless.  It forgets the victim.  It negates the right of the victim to his own life.  It blurs over suffering and death.  It drowns the past.  It cultivates sensitiveness toward the murderer at the price of insensitiveness toward the victim."    "It is forgiveness that is relentless.  The face of forgiveness is mild, but how stony to the slaughtered."

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