This essay surveys the Talmudic sources dealing with the issue of advocacy in Jewish law, and highlights the element of compassion that underlies the permissive approach to advocacy in the Talmudic sources. It outlines post-Talmudic developments with a special emphasis on the way in which the medieval authorities synthesized the views of the two Talmuds on the question of advocacy, and how later halakhists pushed this synthesis to its limits in order to pave the way for the emergence of the rabbinical pleader of modern times. This essay concludes with a brief remark on the link between compassion and advocacy in the Jewish tradition.

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