"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." - J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
"We are our choices." - Jean-Paul Sartre
"People pay for what they do, and still more for what they have allowed themselves to become. And they pay for it very simply; by the lives they lead." - James Baldwin
(17) Perchance there is among you some man or woman, or some clan or tribe, whose heart is even now turning away from the LORD our God to go and worship the gods of those nations—perchance there is among you a stock sprouting poison weed and wormwood. (18) When such a one hears the words of these sanctions, he may fancy himself immune, thinking, “I shall be safe, though I follow my own willful heart”—to the utter ruin of moist and dry alike. (19) The LORD will never forgive him; rather will the LORD’s anger and passion rage against that man, till every sanction recorded in this book comes down upon him, and the LORD blots out his name from under heaven.
(9) After they had eaten and drunk at Shiloh, Hannah rose.—The priest Eli was sitting on the seat near the doorpost of the temple of the LORD.— (10) In her wretchedness, she prayed to the LORD, weeping all the while. (11) And she made this vow: “O LORD of Hosts, if You will look upon the suffering of Your maidservant and will remember me and not forget Your maidservant, and if You will grant Your maidservant a male child, I will dedicate him to the LORD for all the days of his life; and no razor shall ever touch his head.” (12) As she kept on praying before the LORD, Eli watched her mouth. (13) Now Hannah was praying in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice could not be heard. So Eli thought she was drunk. (14) Eli said to her, “How long will you make a drunken spectacle of yourself? Sober up!”
(ו) תָּנֵי חִזְקִיָּה (ירמיה נ, יז): שֶׂה פְזוּרָה יִשְׂרָאֵל, נִמְשְׁלוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל לְשֶׂה, מַה שֶּׂה הַזֶּה לוֹקֶה עַל רֹאשׁוֹ אוֹ בְּאֶחָד מֵאֵבָרָיו וְכָל אֵבָרָיו מַרְגִּישִׁין, כָּךְ הֵן יִשְׂרָאֵל, אֶחָד מֵהֶן חוֹטֵא וְכֻלָּן מַרְגִּישִׁין, (במדבר טז, כב): הָאִישׁ אֶחָד יֶחֱטָא, תָּנֵי רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בַּר יוֹחָאי, מָשָׁל לִבְנֵי אָדָם שֶׁהָיוּ יוֹשְׁבִין בִּסְפִינָה נָטַל אֶחָד מֵהֶן מַקְדֵּחַ וְהִתְחִיל קוֹדֵחַ תַּחְתָּיו, אָמְרוּ לוֹ חֲבֵרָיו מַה אַתָּה יוֹשֵׁב וְעוֹשֶׂה, אָמַר לָהֶם מָה אִכְפַּת לָכֶם לֹא תַחְתִּי אֲנִי קוֹדֵחַ, אָמְרוּ לוֹ שֶׁהַמַּיִם עוֹלִין וּמְצִיפִין עָלֵינוּ אֶת הַסְּפִינָה. כָּךְ אָמַר אִיּוֹב (איוב יט, ד): וְאַף אָמְנָם שָׁגִיתִי אִתִּי תָּלִין מְשׁוּגָתִי, אָמְרוּ לוֹ חֲבֵרָיו (איוב לד, לז): כִּי יֹסִיף עַל חַטָּאתוֹ פֶשַׁע בֵּינֵינוּ יִשְׂפּוֹק, אַתָּה מַסְפִּיק בֵּינֵינוּ אֶת עֲוֹנוֹתֶיךָ. אָמַר רַבִּי אֶלְעָשֵׂא גּוֹי אֶחָד שָׁאַל אֶת רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בֶּן קָרְחָה, כְּתִיב בְּתוֹרַתְכֶם (שמות כג, ב): אַחֲרֵי רַבִּים לְהַטֹּת, אָנוּ מְרֻבִּים מִכֶּם מִפְּנֵי מָה אֵין אַתֶּם מַשְׁוִין עִמָּנוּ בַּעֲבוֹדָה זָרָה. אָמַר לוֹ, יֵשׁ לְךָ בָּנִים, אָמַר לוֹ הִזְכַּרְתַּנִּי צָרָתִי, אָמַר לוֹ לָמָּה, אָמַר לוֹ הַרְבֵּה בָּנִים יֵשׁ לִי, בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁהֵן יוֹשְׁבִין עַל שֻׁלְחָנִי זֶה מְבָרֵךְ לֵאלוֹהֵי פְּלוֹנִי וְזֶה מְבָרֵךְ לֵאלוֹהֵי פְּלוֹנִי, וְאֵינָם עוֹמְדִים מִשָּׁם עַד שֶׁמְפַצְּעִין אֶת מֹחָן אֵלּוּ אֶת אֵלּוּ. אָמַר לוֹ וּמַשְׁוֶה אַתָּה עִמָּהֶן, אָמַר לוֹ, לֹא. אָמַר לוֹ, עַד שֶׁאַתָּה מַשְׁוֶה אוֹתָנוּ, לֵךְ הַשְׁוֵה אֶת בָּנֶיךָ, נִדְחַף וְהָלַךְ לוֹ. כֵּיוָן שֶׁיָּצָא אָמְרוּ לוֹ תַּלְמִידָיו, רַבִּי, לָזֶה דָּחִיתָ בְּקָנֶה רָצוּץ, לָנוּ מָה אַתָּה מֵשִׁיב, אָמַר לָהֶם בְּעֵשָׂו כְּתִיב בֵּיה שֵׁשׁ נְפָשׁוֹת וּכְתִיב בּוֹ נְפָשׁוֹת הַרְבֵּה, דִּכְתִיב (בראשית לו, ו): וַיִּקַח עֵשָׂו אֶת נָשָׁיו וְאֶת בָּנָיו וְאֶת בְּנֹתָיו וְאֶת כָּל נַפְשׁוֹת בֵּיתוֹ, וּבְיַעֲקֹב שִׁבְעִים נָפֶשׁ וּכְתִיב בֵּיהּ נֶפֶשׁ אֶחָת, דִּכְתִיב (שמות א, ה): וַיְהִי כָּל נֶפֶשׁ יֹצְאֵי יֶרֶךְ יַעֲקֹב שִׁבְעִים נָפֶשׁ, אֶלָּא עֵשָׂו שֶׁהוּא עוֹבֵד לֶאֱלֹהוֹת הַרְבֵּה כְּתִיב בֵּיהּ נְפָשׁוֹת הַרְבֵּה, אֲבָל יַעֲקֹב שֶׁהוּא עוֹבֵד לֶאֱלוֹהַּ אֶחָד כְּתִיב בּוֹ נֶפֶשׁ אַחַת, וַיְהִי כָּל נֶפֶשׁ וגו'.
(6) Hezkiya taught (Jeremiah 50:17): "Israel are scattered sheep" - why are Israel likened to a sheep? Just as a sheep, when hurt on its head or some other body part, all of its body parts feel it. So it is with Israel when one of them sins and everyone feels it. (Numbers 16:22): "When one man sins [will You be wrathful with the whole community]." Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai taught a parable: Men were on a ship. One of them took a drill and started drilling underneath him. The others said to him: What are sitting and doing?! He replied: What do you care. Is this not underneath my area that I am drilling?! They said to him: But the water will rise and flood us all on this ship. This is as Iyob said (Job 19:4): "If indeed I have erred, my error remains with me." But his friends said to him (Job 34:37): "He adds transgression to his sin; he extends it among us." [The men on the ship said]: You extend your sins among us.
Legal interpretation' takes place in a field of pain and death. This is true in several senses. Legal interpretive acts signal and occasion the imposition of violence upon others: A judge articulates her understanding of a text, and as a result, somebody loses his freedom, his property, his children, even his life. Interpretations in law also constitute justifications for violence which has already occurred or which is about to occur. When interpreters have finished their work, they frequently leave behind victims whose lives have been torn apart by these organized, social practices of violence. Neither legal interpretation nor the violence it occasions may be properly understood apart from one another. This much is obvious, though the growing literature that argues for the centrality of interpretive practices in law blithely ignores it. "Violence and the Word" Robert Cover 1986 Yale Law School.
Are an individual's actions efficacious apart from community? Praying on one's own? Fasting by one's own choice?
In the case, Does v. D.C., three intellectually-disabled women who lived in an MRDDA-administered group home filed suit claiming they had been forced to undergo elective procedures they did not want: One had an eye surgery, while two underwent unwanted abortions. They claimed they weren’t consulted in the decision-making process as stakeholders in choices about their own bodies, saying their due process rights were violated. They brought the case to court, challenging the district’s policy regarding obtaining consent for medical conditions. The lower court found a constitutional violation
"Before granting, refusing, or withdrawing consent for any elective surgery on any MRDDA consumer, the District of Columbia must attempt to ascertain the known wishes of the patient; an inquiry which is not limited to but which must include documented reasonable efforts to communicate with that person regarding her wishes. If after such an inquiry the wishes of the patient are unknown and cannot be ascertained, the District of Columbia must then make a good faith determination of the best interests of the patient, a determination that requires consideration of the totality of that person’s circumstances …"
The principle of self-determination holds that people with disabilities must have the freedom and authority to exercise control over their own lives. The Doe plaintiffs were subjected to elective surgeries based on the consent of DC officials. D.C. circuit judge Brett Kavanaugh overturned a lower court decision that enjoined Washington, D.C.'s disability services officials from authorizing elective medical procedures without first making an attempt to ascertain the wishes of the patient. The decision was based upon constitutional law arguments.