בבא קמא פג-פד
גמ׳ אמאי (שמות כא, כד) עין תחת עין אמר רחמנא אימא עין ממש [...]
לא סלקא דעתך דתניא יכול סימא את עינו מסמא את עינו קטע את ידו מקטע את ידו שיבר את רגלו משבר את רגלו ת"ל (ויקרא כד, כא) מכה אדם ומכה בהמה מה מכה בהמה לתשלומין אף מכה אדם לתשלומין [...]
תניא אידך רבי שמעון בן יוחי אומר עין תחת עין ממון אתה אומר ממון או אינו אלא עין ממש הרי שהיה סומא וסימא קיטע וקיטע חיגר וחיגר היאך אני מקיים בזה עין תחת עין והתורה אמרה משפט אחד יהיה לכם משפט השוה לכולכם
Bava Kama 83:b-84a
GEMARA: The Gemara asks: Why does the mishna take for granted the fact that one who caused injury is liable to pay compensation to the injured party? The Merciful One states in the Torah: “An eye for an eye” (Exodus 21:24). You might say that this means that the one who caused injury shall lose an actual eye rather than pay money.
The Gemara responds: That interpretation should not enter your mind. The principle implicit in the mishna is derived from a verbal analogy in the Torah, as it is taught in a baraita: Based on the verse: “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, a foot for a foot” (Exodus 21:24), one might have thought that if one blinded the eye of another, the court blinds his eye as punishment; or if one severed the hand of another, the court severs his hand; or if one broke the leg of another, the court breaks his leg. Therefore, the verse states: “One who strikes a person,” and the verse also states: “And one who strikes an animal,” to teach that just as one who strikes an animal is liable to pay monetary compensation, so too, one who strikes a person is liable to pay monetary compensation. [...]
The Gemara presents another derivation: It is taught in another baraita that Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai says: “An eye for an eye” (Leviticus 24:20), is referring to monetary restitution. Do you say that this is referring to monetary restitution, or is it only teaching that the one who caused the injury must lose an actual eye? There may be a case where there was a blind person and he blinded another, or there was one with a severed limb and he severed the limb of another, or there was a lame person and he caused another to be lame. In this case, how can I fulfill “an eye for an eye” literally, when he is already lacking the limb that must be injured? If one will suggest that in that case, a monetary penalty will be imposed, that can be refuted: But the Torah stated: “You shall have one manner of law” (Leviticus 24:22), which teaches that the law shall be equal for all of you.
Emmanuel Levinas, Difficult Freedom, pp. 146-148
Rest assured. The principle stated by the Bible here, which appears to be so cruel, seeks only justice. It inserts itself into a social order in which no sanction, however slight, can be inflicted outside a juridical sentence. [...] The Doctors of the Talmud anticipated modern scruples: eye for eye means a fine. Not for nothing is the passage relating to the material damages which the Bible demands for the loss of a beast given alongside the precepts of eye for eye. [...] Violence calls up violence, but we must put a stop to this chain reaction. [...] This horror of blood, this justice based on peace and kindness, is necessary and henceforth is the only possible form of justice, but does it preserve the man it wishes to save? For it leaves the way open for the rich! They can easily pay for the broken teeth, the gouged-out eyes and the fractured limbs left around them. [...] The Bible speeds up the movement that brings us a world without violence, but if money or excuses could repair everything and leave us with a free conscience, the movement would be given a misinterpretation. Yes, eye for eye. Neither all eternity, nor all the money in the world, can heal the outrage done to man. It is a disfigurement or wound that bleeds for all time, as though it required a parallel suffering to staunch this eternal haemorrhage.