Sunday, November 25, 2007

Varying Social Systems

Mishna: A man dies, leaving a widow, debtors, and inheritors, and also property. Rabbi Tarfon says: The weakest takes precedence. Rabbi Akiva says: Mercy doesn't supersede law. (Ketubot 84a, my translation).

Admittedly, the Gemarah then complicates the crystal clarity of these two statements by adding layers of ifs, buts, and whens.

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