Maharal asks: Why does the Torah use the obscure term "bikores", which you need a Rashi to understand, instead of the more common term "malkos"? Isn't the term "malkos," which refers to the lashes administered, a better definition of the punishment than "bikores," which refers only to the incidental reading of the pesukim?
There is a tremendous musar yesod here: Apparently the psychological blow that comes from hearing words of rebuke are in fact far more painful and far greater punishment than the physical blows that accompany them. A person can still in his/her mind believe themselves in the right even while getting beaten up. The same is not true while listening to Beis Din read off what an evildoer they actually are.
(Parenthetically, see this recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Ed for an interesting spin on flogging.)
2. I want to follow up yesterday's post on da mah she'tashiv with a hypothetical that I think helps reinforce the point. It sounds idealistic to shoot for the whole truth and nothing but the truth and not to try to "misrepresent" Judaism -- but does that really make sense? Suppose someone is about to commit suicide. You can intervene and possibly save that person's life, but to do so you need to bend the truth a little bit to tell them a story that will hopefully get them down from the roof.
1) Sacrifice a little bit of truth for the sake of getting the person out of danger, trusting that you can work things out when they are in a position to see think more clearly;
2) Or do you cling to the ideal of truth at all costs, refusing to color things in the slightest, even if it means they will jump?
Kiruv seminars are meant for people in the process of committing spiritual suicide. If talking someone down from the ledge is made easier by sacrificing a little precision in argument, you tell me -- is the trade-off worth it?