We are told in this verse about the case in which a wife who, in helping her husband fend off an attacker, seizes the attacker by the genitals. The verse tells the husband that he must cut off her hand. Is this some kind of bizarre ancient joke or parody? Was this actually done?
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The passage here includes the phrase:
This same text also appears in Deut 19:21:
We therefore expect the phrase to have similar meanings in the two places. Rashi notes this reasoning on Deut 25:12.
Rabbinic tradition understands the latter to call for not amputation but financial compensation. Rashi cites Sifrei and the Babylonian Talmud, Bava Kamma 87a. The latter, a few pages earlier (83b), explains how we know that "eye for eye" (etc) isn't literal and means payment instead:
The talmud here goes on to bring further parallels between killing and animals and injuring people, further making the argument that if financial compensation applies to one (as stated in the torah) it also applies to the other.
Please note: This answer was written for a neutral, academic audience and is not intended to be interpreted in the context of any religious belief or doctrine.