God, Law, and Loopholes
(A Usenet poster defending Jewish law; I do not know if the line was original with him)
I'm currently covering Jewish law in my seminar on Legal Systems Very Different from Ours. One of the puzzling things about it is the willingness of legal scholars who believed that the legal rules in the Torah were dictated by God to find ways around them, implausible interpretations of the text or excuses for additional rules inconsistent with the original ones. This raises the question of whether the legal scholars who made and interpreted the law actually believed in it.
The quote above provides one possible answer. Not even God could construct a system of rules that would work for all times and places. The best He could manage was a system of rules that would mostly work, provided with a few loopholes that would permit believers to alter those rules in response to circumstances under which they became clearly unworkable.
That still leaves the puzzle of why God would include in his system a rule, such as the one providing that a disobedient son was to be stoned to death, that was never to be enforced—a result the scholars managed by reading into it a set of conditions which could never be met. Somewhere, I think, Maimonides has an explanation for the existence of such rules, but at this point I have forgotten what it was.