Let My People Know

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “God does not want the castrated tzaddik.”

An ox that has two broken legs and limps is a lot less dangerous than a big, healthy ox.

As a result, it may seem that this limping ox is more of a tzaddik.

He is physically unable to commit the same acts of violence of which his healthier counterpart is capable.

It stands to reason, then, that we should go further: Let us remove both of his eyes and perform a few other operations on him, so that he cannot cause any damage whatsoever.

Why should such a tzaddik of an ox not be brought as a korban ?

But this is twisted thinking.

Is this ox really an appropriate gift for God?

Here we see what God wants and what He does not want.

He wants things that are physically sound, with all the risks that this entails.

An ox that has not been castrated is incomparably more dangerous and much more difficult to harness.

But God does not want the castrated tzaddik-, He wants the ox that is closest to perfection in all ways.

If such an ox is dangerous – even murderous, at times – God is willing to take this risk.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz