“Jewish Ethics of Employee Treatment and Communal Responsibility” by Dani Passow, p. 15
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Another reason for Ayn Shaliach L’Davar Avera, or “There is no agent for a sinful act,” is that one’s conscience can often cause one to rethink action at the last moment, particularly when it comes to an interpersonal crime. When confronted with the humanity of another person, one may easily reevaluate their initial decision to harm or to take advantage of that person. Emmanuel Levinas suggests that, “the dimension of the divine opens forth from the human face.” In seeing the divine in the other’s face, one is confronted with the depth of what it means to be human and can be struck with awe. Certainly such an encounter could dissuade someone from causing harm.
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Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. Why is it easier to harm someone from afar? How does encountering that person face to face affect our decision to harm that person?

2. Was there ever a time you planned to harm someone until you saw them face to face and confronted their humanity?

3. How does this text apply to consumerism today? Why is it easy for us to partake in oppressive practices, like purchasing clothes from sweatshops or produce picked by enslaved workers?

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Time Period: Contemporary (The Yom Kippur War until the present-day)