"In ancient times, when someone lost an eye or a limb, it was common to take both of the guilty party's eyes or limbs in retribution. Leviticus teaches only an eye for an eye -- a radical limitation in its day on how people thought about justice and its limits that insists on basic human equality, even in the face of unequal behavior. It teaches us that justice is about more than vengeance.
"Leviticus is often contrasted to the New Testament teaching about turning the other cheek, which is widely assumed to be a lesson in passivity. Not true. Jesus lived in Palestine when it was ruled by the Romans, for whom it was a sign of weakness to strike another person with the back of the hand. Yet that's precisely what happens if I turn my cheek when you and I are facing each other and you go to hit me, and you, like most people, are right handed. You have to go past my left cheek and backhand me to get a good blow. In Roman times, that meant you were confronting your own weakness even as you exercised power over me. Jesus teaches us not to ignore the wrong done to us; he wants us to force those who would punish us to experience how they are diminished by their lack of mercy."
-- Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, You Don't Have to Be Wrong for Me to Be Right: Finding Faith Without Fanaticism (2007, Three Rivers Press (Crown Publishing / Random House), New York. LC: BL624.H53 ; Dewey: 201'.5-dc22 ; ISBN: 978-0-307-38298-6)