In some cases this 'punishment' is death. A kind of death logically appropriate to the act. I consistently encounter people that balk at the amount of sins in the Bible that demand that the perpetrator be put to death in various ways. However, what they dont realize is that the Sanhedrin (a kind of supreme court of Jewish judges) was considered bloodthirsty if it put to death more than one person every seven years. This is because the leaders/punishers can only punish if they also ensure that their people don't get to the point where they need to be punished. What also actually happened in Jewish history is that when the times deteriorated and there was no longer enough inspiration and a prevalent sense of duty and strong faith amongst the Jewish people, these judges chose to disperse and take apart the Sanhedrin rather than have to punish the increasing number of sinners. The logic was that since the times did not create a context whereas people were inspired and helped to maintain and understand the strict letter of the law, the system of strict punishments was no longer applicable by men.
This is an example of the duality in Jewish law where there are the idealistic concepts and strict consequences on one side, and practical application of the law on the other. Rabbis were given the ultimate power not only to add to and apply the law to changing circumstances, but according to Judaism they even change reality when they make legal decisions based on Jewish axioms. Applying Jewish law is not only logical, but mystical, and therefore demands a certain kind of disciplined and moral person.
But while this is a fascinating and complex subject and demands a lot more exploration than this, I brought this up chiefly as an example of what I call 'logical emotion'. The judges may have acted as if their feelings of sympathy and mercy got priority over their logic and strict legal rationality, but the truth is that this mercy or sympathy, as described above, was based on logic and has its place in Jewish law even more so than the death penalty.
Another similar concept in Judaism is God's Mercy. God is perceived to have an aspect of strict judgement (Din) and another of mercy or compassion (Rahamim). God finds ways to apply 'mercy' to someone who is trying to hurt himself by breaking the rules, by 'distancing' Himself from him, thus allowing for obstacles between the person and his consequences or self-inflicted spiritual damage, giving him a chance to fix things before it comes crashing down on his head. Divine mercy is an act whereby the man is pushed down to the first floor of the skyscraper so that he doesn't hurt hmself when he jumps out the window. This, again, is a perfectly logical perceived 'emotion'. No logic or legalities were thrown out the window just to give us a Hollywood ending. Compassion serves as the yang to the yin of judgement and has its own rules and logic.
Another example of a logical emotion in my eyes, is the concept of Faith in Judaism. Faith is never a blind emotion, but a power within every human being to direct his trust and behaviour towards what he knows to be true. Judaism only demands a 'leap of faith' when you trust there is a ground to land on based on rational consistency. A Jew is asked to place his trust in God, to actually direct his feelings towards what he knows to be true based on reason. Faith in Hebrew is 'Emunah', and 'Amen' comes from the same linguistic root because to have faith is to confirm a decision. To believe is to confirm God through reason, emotion and actions. Faith is a logical emotion that connects you with the truth on a deep and personal level instead of seeing it as an academic debate.
Previously, I attempted to describe love rationally and logically, defining its mechanisms and switches. Which brings us to the question: Judaism commands a Jew to love God, his wife, his fellow Jew. But how can love be commanded? Don't men just fall in love? Don't wives naturally get sick of their husbands and there is nothing we can do about it?
First of all, as argued in Passionate Logic (which is the flip side of the coin to this article), emotion on its own is not necessarily a warm, humanistic force, and logic is not necessarily a cold fish.
Passion is a force, a fire that can be directed and used. In fact, to give passion any transcendental quality above its materialistic roots, it must be given a context and spiritual goal. The only chance emotions have to become anything more than mere chemicals is to use them towards a non-chemical goal.
In addition, unbridled passion can be compared to a raging forest-fire and logical passion to a blowtorch. The former is wild and destructive and the latter is focused and useful for constructive purposes. When emotion is controlled (i.e. directed not murdered), it achieves an intensity instead of a wildness. Focus and the ensuing intensity is one of the mechanisms that stops passion from weakening and dissipating.
In order to achieve this we must understand passion and love, learn to identify its different forms, learn its mechanisms and how to maintain and direct it, and know what to direct it to. This was my goal in previous posts because love is another emotion, another mechanism or faculty which can be directed, maintained and aided using reason.
But if it's all about reason, and proper emotions are basically logic in disguise, then what purpose do emotions serve? It sounds like I'm suggesting that emotions are secondary and subservient forces that are as much a hindrance as a tool.
This also raises the issue of practical reality vs. romance. What do we say to cynics that pursue exclusively practical relationships vs. romantics that look for magic in their marriages? Having experienced both sides, I look back at the magical ones and they seem so illogical, making me stay with a woman whom I would never stick with otherwise. Is this magic self-illusion, or is there more to it?
As always, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Emotions make you see things differently and yet there's a fine line between loving someone beyond practicality and obstacles, and becoming blind to the damage being caused and seeing only rosy romance. This magic can even make you enjoy your chains and slavery to your spouse whereas logically this would seem preposterous. But it can also make you stay in a damaging relationship, have unrealistic expectations, break your heart, or even make you cheat with another as soon as your emotions for him take reign. Unless, that is, this fire is directed and based on reason.
Romance and love give you the power to forgive mistakes, to work around flaws, to apply Mercy vs. strict judgement, to give your spouse a chance to correct his errors. Emotions give you Faith to stick with your wife instead of bailing out at the first chance of trouble. These emotions may be illogical, but they are also based on reason. After all, they're based on your logical decision to marry towards transcendental goals. Or are they?
Amanda exploded. "Logic! Logic! I am sick to death of logic. Do you want to know how I feel about your logic?"
Father and son studied the angry woman. Their eyes met, then Spock said conversationally, "Emotional, isn't she?"
"She has always been this way", Sarek replied. "Why did you marry her?", asked Spock.
"It seemed the logical thing to do." Sarek looked blankly at his son but his eyes smiled.
-- Star Trek The Original Series: Journey To Babel