כל מי שנעשה רחמן במקום אכזרי

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כל מי שנעשה רחמן במקום אכזרי
סוף שנעשה אכזרי במקום רחמן

Kol mi shena`asa rahaman bimqom akhzari

Sof shena`asa akhzari bimqom rahaman

All who are made to be compassionate in the place of the cruel

In the end are made to be cruel in the place of the compassionate

Qohelet Raba, 7:16 [Thanks to Rishon Rishon for the translation.]

The more colloquial version is, “If you are kind to the cruel, you will end up being cruel to the kind.” I’ve been thinking about the relation of this statement to public policy, from schools to welfare to jurisprudence and prisons. Is our society kind to the cruel? Think about it…

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