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Emmanuel Levinas, “A Religion for Adults” in Difficult Freedom (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997), p. 20.
Jewish wisdom teaches that He Who has created and Who supports the whole universe cannot support or pardon the crime that man commits against man. ‘Is it possible? Did not the Eternal efface the sin of the golden calf?’ This leads the master to reply: the fault committed with regard to God falls within the province of divine pardon, whereas the fault that offends man does not concern God. The text thus announces the value and the full autonomy of the human who is offended, as it affirms the responsibility incurred by whomsoever touches man. Evil is not a mystical principle that can be effaced by a ritual, it is an offence perpetrated on man by man. No one, not even God, can substitute himself for the victim. The world in which pardon is all-powerful becomes inhuman.
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