Encore Archive

Welcome to Encore, the place where you will find the latest thoughts and reflections by CLAL faculty and associates on topics of the moment. Each week you will find something new and (hopefully) engaging here!

To access the CLAL Encore Archive, click here.
To join the conversation at CLAL Encore Talk, click here.

Over the course of the next month we will be reprinting a series of articles that Sh'ma printed in late 1976 and early 1977 on the nature of contemporary Jewish ethics. The article below, by Steven Schwarzchild, was the first of the series. The responses Schwarzchild provoked will be reprinted in coming weeks.

The Question of Jewish Ethics Today

Steven S. Schwarzschild (Sh'ma 7/124, December 24, 1976)

Every body of law is posited for some specific social organism. The Code Napoleon addresses itself primarily to France and its citizens. American law is concerned with the United States and its people. To be sure, every social organism and some of its members enter at some time or other into various relations with other such organisms and some of their members, and, therefore, its body of law must also provide for the manner in which these relations ought to be conducted; but the laws concerning foreign relationship, abroad or at home, will necessarily and properly be a practically subsidiary - however morally significant - part of every body of law.

Mutatis mutandis, halakhah is the body of law for the Jewish polity. In bulk it is, in its social dimension, concerned with the relations of Jews among one another - whether they live in one state, more than one state, or in none, in voluntary communities or simply as disparate individuals. Pari passu this body of law also has its provisions for non-Jews by themselves and especially in their relations with Jews and vice-versa. Thus there are "the Noachide laws," provisions for aliens, settlers, converts, etc., rules "for the sake of the paths of peace" (mipnay darkhay shalom - which is to be taken literally, as aiming at the highest social good, peace, and not, as it is usually vulgarized, "as a prudential tactic"), "going into the depths of (within) the line of the law," etc. These "international" stipulations, like their analogues in other legal systems, necessarily constitute a quantitatively minor portion of the entirety of halakhah. Depending on the conditions of Jewry in any particular period they are paid greater or lesser attention and thus expanded or left in status quo ante; this is jurisprudentially and ethically relatively unimportant. What does matter ultimately, qualitatively, is whether the inter-national legislation (and its appurtenances) are rationally consistent with the domestic legisation and whether both together make for a moral humane social and individual life.

Are modern jewish legal ethics moral or not?

Now, that there would be occasional, and sometimes even serious, inconsistencies between domestic and international legislation in the halakhah (or any other body of law), or at least in its interpretation and application, cannot be surprising in the least. Individual statutes and even basic constitutional provisions come into conflict with one another constantly. That is one, perhaps the most important, reason that we have courts, all the way up to a court of final appeal and interpretation, whose task it is to adjudicate between the conflicting demands not so much of different subjects of the law as of the laws themselves and to arrive at an unified, consistent, and socio-morally desirable legal system. The question is only how good, in terms of both consistency and morality, the developing system of law turns out to be.

It is certainly the case that the vast accumulated literature of Jewish ethics and law can be and often has been interpreted in a selectively restrictive and ethically ultimately self-contradictory fashion. But the opposite, expansive, philosophically and ethically ultimately convincing option is also always open - and in the end it commends itself more.

Some learned, profound, and sensitive observer-analysts of Jewish law and ethics have tried for some time to raise warnings, about what is happening on this score in our era. Thus the late Professor Leon Roth wrote about "Moralization and Demoralization in Jewish Ethics" (Judaism, XI/4, Fall 1962) and the recently deceased Professor Samuel Hugo Bergman about "Expansion and Contraction in Jewish Ethics" (in the Quality of Faith, Jerusalem World Zionist Organization, 1970). Of the issue that they raised and which their titles outline clearly, Bergman rightly said that it is "one of the most burning issues of our life." It is the issue of how, in the present era, the question of the consistency and morality of the halakhah and its implied ethic with respect to both Jews and non-Jews is being handled, - and both Roth and Bergman warn that in fact the ethic of the halakhah is increasingly being "demoralized" or "contracted."

In this context Modem Jewish Ethics - Theory and Practice, (ed. Marvin Fox, Ohio State University Press, 1975) becomes interesting. Precisely the question of contemporary Jewish moralizaiton or demoralization of Jewish (legal) ethics is raised very sharply.

One view: law demands more than letter of the law

In a contribution that is already gaining fame (1) "Does Jewish Tradition Recognize an Ethic Independent of Halakha?" Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein, rosh yeshivah of Yeshivat Har Zion in Israel, with his acknowledged credentials of traditional as well as modern Jewish learning, makes essentially one point -- that, according to Jewish law, to do no more than what the letter of the law requires is itself a violation of this law (i.e., "the quality of Sodom") (2) and that, to the contrary, to go "within the line of the law"(middat chasidut - "the quality of [selfless] righteousness") "is part of the fabric of Halakha." The interested reader should consider the full evidence and analysis as presented in this study. R. Lichtenstein's conclusion is this: 'What I reject emphatically is the position that, on the one hand, defines the function and scope of Halakha in terms of the latitude implicit in current usage and yet identifies its content with the more restricted sense of the term (halakha). The resulting equation of duty and din (statute) and the designation of supra-legal conduct as purely optional or pietistic is a disservice to Halakha and ethics alike."

Despite the cogent case that he makes, R. Lichtenstein will doubtless continue to be contradicted on the usual allegedly logical ground that a supra-legal principle, such as equity, cannot, by definition, be part-and-parcel of the law. (3) But this is, despite its surface plausibility, a fallacious argument. In the first place, lifnim mishurat hadin is "within," not, as the usual rendering has it, "beyond" "the line of the law"; i.e. the very term indicates that we are dealing here with a dynamic function that operates within the system. In the second place, Hermann Cohen proved long ago and in a significantly different connection (Ethik des reinen Willens, Berlin 1904, pp. 585-589) that equity is not a factor additional to the jus strictum but a judgment-procedure which makes sure that the application of the law in each individual case is proper (i.e. moral); thus all of the law, statutes as well as procedures, operationalizes ethical values (aggadah).

Another: law is limited, a higher ethic may exist

A contribution by Professor Ernst Akiba Simon raises serious doubts that R. Lichtenstein's meta-halakhic ethics conforms to the sources of Tradition. In fact, the article "The Neighbor (Re'a) Whom We Shall Love" comes to the conclusion that the neighbor whom we ought to love must, according to the halacha, be a Jew. Simon is, of course, deeply pained by and morally unwilling to accept this. Therefore, he appeals to "a Jewish ethic that is external to the Halakha" and tells the story of Bertha Pappenheim (incidentally, Freud's famous patient "Miss 0" [3a]) who, when the rabbis of Frankfurt couldn't overcome the problem of agunot (deserted wives) cried out to them: "Gentlemen, when the capitalist economy developed to the point where it was no longer possible to observe the Torah's explicit prohibition against lending money for interest your predecessors managed to find within the halakha an acceptable way to circumvent the law. From your failure to act now, I can only conclude that halakha, as you interpret it, places higher value on economic concerns than on the human needs and rights of these pathetic and unfortunate women."

If Professor Simon's reading of the classic sources of Judaism is correct, then, of course, his appeal to an higher Jewish ethic than the halakha is imperative. If, in addition, it can be shown, as would appear to be the case,that the nature of classic Judaism rules out the possibility of "an higher Jewish ethic," then anyone committed to a truly human, non-chauvinistic morality will feel compelled to turn his back - however painful this may be - on classical Judaism. And if, furthermore, the non-classical, non-standard, "modernized" forms of Judaism present themselves, as they certainly on the whole do in our epoch, as at least as chauvinistic as Simon understands the classical form to be, then there is only one, and even more drastic - and correspondingly more painful - course left open to such a person. Leo Strauss formulated this quandary with great sensitivity in a lecture which he originally gave in Jerusalem (4): "A mother loves her child because he is her own ... But she also loves the good. All human love is subject to the law that it be both love of one's own and love of the good, and there is necessarily a tension between one's own and the good, a tension which may well lead to a break, be it only the breaking of a heart ... The practical meaning of this idealism is that the good is of higher dignity than one's own ... The Jewish equivalent of this relation might be said to be the relation between the Torah and Israel."

Evidence for Judaism's universalist ethical stance

The present writer, to whom Ernst Simon is a lifelong teacher (while most of the other writers in Modern Jewish Ethics are his contemporaries and friends), must then want to hold that his teacher is mistaken.

One can, to begin with, wonder what would result if R. Lichtenstein's present thesis were confronted with Professor Simon's. Unfortunately this confrontation does not take place within the pages of this book.

The evidence from beyond the confines of the book would be too massive and complex to be manageable here. I can cite and consider only two or three loci classici. One is the Rabbinic principle (5) that "the honor/dignity of all human beings (habriyot - not only Jews) overrides every prohibition (the weightier of the two basic types of injunctions) in the Torah." What makes this principle the graver and the more relevant to our present concern is that it is derived (Rashi etc.) from Deut. 22:4 (and 23:8): "If you see the ox of your brother fall by the way, you shall not hide yourself" - i.e. one must not be indifferent to other people's misfortunes. The Gemara itself in Meg. 3b applies the term "brother" to all human beings. And Tosfot ad locum in turn goes out of its way to generalize from the specific issue being treated, the burial of unattended corpses of special Jewish concern, to "all the dead in the world." (6)

Maimonides, in his legal Code, "Laws of Sabbatical and Jubilee Years," 13:12f. - in a striking and authoritative place, formulates the Jewish doctrine of the universality of human brotherhood (on the highest spiritual level) in unsurpassable terms: "Every single man among all creatures in the world" (kol ish ve'ish mikol ba'ay 'olam - an extraordinary and memorable phrase) is the equal of the Levite tribe, set apart (distinguished) for the whole-hearted service of God, if he, too, "is inspired by the spirit and convinced by knowledge ... to walk straight as God has made him and if he has broken off his neck the yoke of human calculativeness (cp. Ecc. 7:29) . . .Every such human being [thus including Gentiles] is sanctified as the Holy of Holies, and God will be his portion and his inheritance forever and ever."

[In] a case in which morality depends on interpretation, Simon and Lichtenstein both treat an important issue which casts a full light on the nature of the texts with which we are concerned and on the options for their utilization. Both adduce Mekhilta,[on the weekly portion] Mishpatim.(4) Professor Simon regretfully infers from it (pp. 41ff.) that the Jewish murder of a Gentile is treated under Jewish law in a fashion that "may be less severe (than) and certainly not (so) immediate" as that of a Jew, while R. Lichtenstein clearly holds (p. 65) - I should have thought correctly - that "punishment by God" (the penalty stipulated for the former case) is, for religious people, emphatically a more severe condemnation then punishment by a merely human court (the penalty stipulated for the latter case). The Me'iri, for example, resolves the problem of "the perjured witnesses" in capital cases by precisely this consideration. (7) Which of the two juridical authorities comes into force, the human court or God, is then only a de facto question of the sovereignty that happens to be involved.

These two ways of reading the same text are by no means necessarily in conflict with one another. The question is only which element one wants to put the greater emphasis on and therefore, to prefer for the purposes of ethics and legal morality.

How the "universalistic" thrust can be advanced is also cogently illustrated by a profound strain in the classical literature which condemns even Moses in the strongest possible terms for his act of killing a non-Jew (Ex. 2:l f.). This episode is paradigmatic not only because the status of Moses in Judaism is beyond cavil but also because his victim was a brutal taskmaster. Even so, Moses is condemned for his defensive deed by God Himself, and the halakhically significant point is made that he instituted his "cities of refuge" so that he himself could save himself there, like other unwitting murderers, from the death-penalty which would otherwise have devolved on him. (8)

The most difficult issue: human survival

The most important ethico-legal text that crops up over and over again in Modern Jewish Ethics, and in all similar discussions, is Baba Metzia 62a [which asks] whether Rabbi Akiba is right that if two men have only enough water to see one of them out of the desert, then "I am nearest to myself,"[i.e. the one who possesses the water should save himself lest they both die] or whether ben-Petura is right that both should share the same risk of death. Abner Weiss, of the Society for Justice, Ethics, and Morals of South Africa and Israel, lines up with Achad Ha'am and his late English protagonist Sir Leon Simon on the side of Rabbi Akiba. So does Harold Fisch, of Bar Ilan University and the Whole Land of Israel Movement. Fisch even goes so far in arguing against Ernst Simon's ethics as to impute a meaning to the term "chessed" ("grace"), i.e. reciprocal obligation, [that is] entirely contrary to its historic use (9). He would [translate it as] "love" [and define it in a narrow and exclusive way...] as a pie in the capitalist economy of scarcity that can be divided into only a limited number of slices. And it is this view that is commonly declared to be the normative, authoritative halakhic standard.

Somewhere in the middle of the spectrum Jakob Petuchowski, of Hebrew Union College -Jewish Institute of Religion, and Nachum Rabinovitch, of Jews College in England, open the door increasingly wider to the option of voluntarily accepting the more altruistic ethic of ben-Petura. Lichtenstein and Simon are joined eloquently by Emmanuel Levinas and Rabbi Louis Jacobs (quoted at length by Petuchowski) in tending to identify normative Jewish ethics with ben-Petura's posture.

In fact the question of Baba Metzia 62a needs to be narrowed. The Maharsha points up that the proprietary status of the water at issue plays a decisive role. (10) If both men own it together then Rabbi Akiba would agree with ben-Petura: one of them usurping it for himself would violate the fundamental rule that no one's blood is redder than another's (Yoma 2:2, Pes. 25b) and [one who took the water for himself would be] deserving of death. (11) Rabbi Akiba's decision then applies only where one of the two men either owns the water at issue or takes prior physical possession of it, de facto. (12) But this does not really make sense: regardless of the proprietary question, the equality of all human blood still obtains, and as for physical possession, Rabbi Akiba's view boils down to an ultimate appeal to sheer physical superiority, which is scarcely and answer to a juridico-ethical question. Maharam Schiff, then, though accepting Rabbi Akiba's view, admits that rationally ben-Petura's should prevail. Furthermore, all would presumably have to follow ben-Petura if they cannot refute Rabbi Lichtenstein's thesis that to act [i.e. go] beyond the narrowest requirements of the law is itself a normative requirement of the halakhah.

Modern anti-Semitism and modern jewish ethics

What may we conclude then at this point of our considerations? It turns out to be by no means a settled matter that Jewish ethics are essentially what Max Weber called a Binnenethik (i.e. an intra-tribal ethic); the contrary can be convincingly demonstrated. Therefore, a universalist in ethics need not dissociate himself from Jewish ethics - though, as we are about to see more fully, it is certainly the case that in order to overcome powerful current tendencies in the restrictive direction the most energetic efforts, intellectual and practical, must be made.

The allegation that Jewish law and ethics are a Binnenethik and that Judaism prescribes a purely exploitative attitude toward non-Jews has always been one of the chief stocks in trade of traditional anti-semitism. The Christian Middle Ages were full of it, and so is modem anti-semitism. How these banked fires would be stoked if one yielded to the temptation to translate -- and thus make accessible to a public not privy to halakhic language and dialectics -- some of the more chauvinistic exercises published in certain rabbinic and Zionist publications! The consequences could be disastrous. Another historical reminder may then not be amiss.

As part of the rise of the new racist-ethnic anti-semitism in Germany and elsewhere in the 1870's and 1880's, Professor August Rohling published his notorious Der Talmudjude in 1871. Its main thesis was that "Jews are permitted by their religion to cause, secretly or overtly, non-Jews to perish physically and morally." This triggered off a wave of arguments, books, political controversies, and court trials for decades thereafter. One of the chief Jewish scholarly and ethical by-products was Joseph S. Bloch's Israel und die Voelker nach judischer Lehre, Berlin/Vienna 1922. (Its publication so much later and its English translation in 1927 by the editor of the American Jewish Year Book occurred in the wake of the anti-semitic campaign of Henry Ford Sr., in which Rohling was resuscitated.) All of the issues broached in our present discussion were treated in its heavy bulk: chapt. 8, "Sacredness of Human Life," chapt. 19, "the Commandment to Love our Fellow-Men," etc. The essential affirmation of Bloch's book is, of course, that Judaism's authoritative ethos is universalistic and humanistic. And it is no historical coincidence that during the same years (before and after 1900) the great Rabbi Elie Benamozegh published his studies on Jewish cosmopolitan ethics, every sentence of which gives passionate lie to the new chauvinism which is spreading so widely in our days.

We cannot agree to Jewish chauvinism

One of the legal by-products of the Rohling episode was a trial in Marburg, Germany in 1888, in which the question was raised before the court "whether the Law of Moses is applicable only as among Jews, that it is not applicable to Goyim, and that the latter may be robbed and deceived." Professor de Lagarde of Goettingen (14) argued as an expert in the affirmative and Professor Hermann Cohen of Marburg in the negative. Throughout the rest of his life Cohen had to come back to this question over and over again, not only for philosophical and ethical reasons but also in order to defend Jewry against recurring spiritual and physical attacks. As late as during World War I and shortly before his death he had to respond to the famous Protestant Bible scholar Rudolf Kittel on this score. And when Martin Buber re-issued Cohen's "Four Treatises about the Relation between Man and Man according to the Teachings of Judaism" in Berlin in 1935 (Schocken Popular Library, number 20) he stated clearly what was at stake: "It seems important to me to have this man give this testimony about this subject in this hour."

Are we to say that these men, and many others like them throughout the millenia of Jewish defenselessness, lied, or that they totally misunderstood the Judaism to which they devoted their lives, their work, and their very deaths? Are we prepared to stick with the presently ascendant Jewish ethic of chauvinistic self-service, even if or when we may some day, if not today, stand in need of moral protection at the hands of others? In 1935, in the heart of Nazi Germany, the editor of Cohen's essays on Jewish morality toward non-Jews wrote that "vulgar anti-semitism has, then and now, accused Judaism of applying its ethico-humane principles only to Jews and of commending immoral conduct toward non-Jews." Are Jews who today put forward such a thesis any the less vulgar? (Kant had a telling phrase for this: "ethnicismus brutus") And can they expect anything but egoistic reciprocity in the future?

What about immoral acts by the israeli military?

We have almost imperceptibly moved from theoretical to political questions. This is inevitable. Also the subtitle of the book under discussion is, after all, "Theory and Practice." Its last section deals with "the contemporary situation" - which, not surprisingly, turns out to mean the State of Israel. Zvi Yaron, of the Jewish Agency, puts it quite correctly: "Israel has by now become a crucial factor in the considerations of Diaspora Jews in their thinking on the contemporary Judaism-ethics issue." And the chief question that is here raised is military ethics, under the entrenched phrase "the purity of arms."

There is surely something frighteningly Prussian about the very phrase "the purity of arms." I cannot here unpack its very terminological implications or its historical parallels and consequences. In any case, the "doves," in this case Me'ir Pa'il, favor it. Although Pa'il reports (p. 216) that "all the quotations (cited in his article) indicate that Jewish Israeli soldiers are making their peace with the perpetration of inhumane acts towards the Arab enemy and civilian population, justifying it as an extreme requirement of national defense," also he, as a matter of fact, puts an apologetically good face on the facts. The "hawks" at best cast doubts on or even oppose the notion of "the purity of arms." Thus Milton Himmelfarb, of Commentary magazine, in a comment filled with the "golus-mentality" of servility before the State, says: "To sacrifice even survival to exaggerated moralistic sentimentality borders on idiocy." (How the Right-wingers are permitted prejudicial language!)

Some jews really say, one may kill the goyim

Since the words here cited were used, the 1973 War has occurred, and much further deterioration has set in. One of the consequences of that war was a booklet put out by the Central Command Headquarters/Israeli Army Chaplaincy and authored by Abraham Avidan (Zamel), military rabbi of the Command, under the title After the War: Chapters of Meditation, Rule, and Research. One of its highlights is the rabbi's thesis that ". . . insofar as the killing of civilians is performed against the background of war, one should not, according to religious law, trust a Gentile [and justifies this claim, citing the utterance from the Codes:]'The best of the Gentiles you should kill.' . . ." It took an outraged article in the Mapam newspaper to have the booklet withdrawn by the army, but no principled refutation of its barbarism has been put forward, and insofar as any notice was taken of this occurrence in Jewish publications in this country at all, tu quoque evasions were used to muddy the waters. (Cf. Nathan Suesskind, "Tov Sheba-Goyim . . .," C.C.A.R. Journal, Spring 1976, pp. 28f. and n. 2) [14a] Whatever its administrative fate, the booklet reveals the mind-set of some of the more sophisticated religious and military personages; one can imagine, if one doesn't know, its counterpart on cruder levels of culture. Thus the question is really not one of "purity of arms" (whatever that may mean) but of the socio-political conditions which make for or against purity of minds and morals.

Lest it be thought that these basic problems arise only within a Jewish polity, I want to remind ourselves - without being able to enter into this phase of things - that the moral traffic among Jews is, of course, bilateral and multilateral. Bank affairs, businessmen in high commercial, political, and even religious places, not to speak of ideologists and propagandists, indeed even organized crime, exercise their power here and there - in local affairs, in national, foreign, and international channels.

Jewish self-interest must not destroy Jewish ethics

The fact is that people who feel bound by ben-Petura or middat chassidut have, or logically should have, the most serious problems with contemporary Jewish institutionalized behavior and with the rationale offered for it. What is cause and what is affect in this syndrome could itself be debated: does one justify this Jewish behavior because one holds to the validity of ultimate self-interest, or does one adhere to the principle of the ultimacy of self-interest because one wants to justify this behavior? (We are not now raising the question whether this behavior does in fact serve real self-interest.)

When one surveys the historical and literary facts one conclusion emerges quite clearly - and not to one's surprise: the tendency to "moralize" Jewish legal ethics predominates in periods when Jews have relatively little worldly self-interest to defend and when a theory of selfless, universal morality is in fact to their interest (pace Nietzsche); on the other hand, when and where they do have a wordly stake - position, money, a state, etc. - then they tend to "demoralize" it and to use it to justify their self-interested behavior. This is only human, all too human. One may ask, however, whether Jewish law and ethics are supposed to be so human. Or are they not supposed to be "divine," absolute? Either way, can something be ethical if it is parochial or moral if it is egotistical?

One may also point to the fact that even in times of relative Jewish well-being there has always been at least a small minority - moralists, amcha, rabbis, not to speak of prophets - who proclaimed and practiced absolute, universal moral standards as against narrowly conceived Jewish self-interest. Above all, it is simply a fact that these minorities and the ages of worldly Jewish helplessness defined, in the Talmud and its extrapolations, and for modern times the 18th and 19th centuries of Western Jewish apologetics, the nature of classical Judaism. This is why our evidence tends to come from such sources. And if a Leon Roth, say, then has to hear himself excoriated as a "golus-Jew" one may have to draw the consequences.

There is yet a final aspect to this problematic, which is very immediate, practical, and - let us be frank about it - extremely frightening. The boastful affirmation of the legitimacy of self-interest can, of course, easily be turned against one by someone else's self-interest. And Jewish self-interest does not, in the long run, stack up very favorably against the many other and more powerful self-interests in the world. As Rabbi J. B. Soloveitchik puts it in distinguishing the legitimacy ("sanctity") of Joshua's conquest of Palestine from that of Ezra's occupation: "that which results from the force of conquest is annulled by the force of another's conquest." (15) The validity of historic Jewish experience (as much as and more than that of others) and of its theoretical, ethical ideologization is surely undiminished - to say the least by the events of the 20th century. All who tamper with it tamper with the very existence of the Jewish people.

The question of Jewish ethics today is the perennial question: is it to be imitatio Dei or individual and collective sacro egoismo?


1. Cf. Sid Z. Leiman, 'Jewish Ethics 1970-1975: Retrospect and Prospect," Religious Studies Review II/2, Apr. 1976, p. 18. Cp. also Lichtenstein's "Toward an Understanding of 'We Suppress the Quality of Sodom' " in Hebrew Thought in America (Hebrew), World Hebrew Association, Tel Aviv: Yavneh 1972, p.374.

2. Cf. Ezek. 16:49: "Behold, this was the sin of Sodom, your sister (!): she and her daughters had the pride of satedness with bread and quiet security, but she did not strengthen the hand of the poor and the miserable." Cf. David S. Shapiro, Studies in Jewish Thought, N.Y.: Yeshiva University Press 1975, p. 108.

3. Cf. eg. Eugene B. Korn, "Ethics and Jewish Law," Judaism XXIV/2, Spring 1975, p. 206. On equity cf. Boaz Cohen, "Letter and Spirit in Jewish and Roman Law," in Mordecai M. Kaplan Jubilee Volume, English section, N.Y.: Jewish Theological Seminary 1953, esp. pp. 126f., 130.

3a. Cf. Dora Edinger, Bertha Pappenheim - Freud's Anna O., Highland Park, Ill.: Congregation Solel, 1968.

4. What is Political Philosophy PI Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press 1959, pp. 35f.

5. B. Meg. 3b, Ber. 19b, Eruv. 51b. (Here, as elsewhere, I have learned from my friend R. Sirnchah Krauss, St. Louis.)

6. Cp. Citt. 61a and Me'iri ad locum, Maimonides' Code, "Laws of Kings," 10: 1 2, and Rashi ad II Sam. 8:13, I Kings II: 15, and Ezek. 30:13.

7. Ad Makk., ed. Sterlitz, N.Y. 1952, p. 9.

8. Cf. J.S. Bloch, Israel and the Nations, Berlin//cienna 1927, pp. 172f., and A. J. Heschel,Theology of Ancient Judaism (Hebrew), London/N.Y.:Soncino Press 1965, vol. 2, pp. 167, 173, 395, and the sources there adduced.

9. Cf. Maimonides Guide, 1/54 and 111/53; Shapiro, loc. cit., p. 113 and "The Concept of Chessed in Judaism"; G.A. Larne in "Recent Studies in Hesed" in Nelson Glueck, Hesed in the Bible, Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press/1967, pp. llf., 16, 18.

10. Cp. Simon Greenberg, "Ethics, Religion and , Judaism," Conservative Judaism XXVI/4f., Summer and Fall 1972, p. 109.

11. Cf. Shittah Mekubbetzet ad locum. (Note the mortifying irony here.)

12. Cp. B.M. 2b and Rashi and the early decisors on this.

13. Cf. also R. Yehudah Gershuni, " 'Better that Both Drink and Die' or 'Your Life Takes Precedence'?" (Hebrew), Or HaMizrach XXIII/34, Nissan -Tammuz 1974, pp. 162-168.

14. Cf. Fritz Stern, The Politics of Cultural Despair:a Study in the Rise of the Germanic Ideology, Berkeley etc.: University of California Press 1974, "Paul de Lagarde and a Germanic Religion," pp. 3-94.

14a. Cf. also SWASIA -North Africa 11/22, June 6, 1975, p. 1, and N. Chomsky, "The Interim Agreement", New Politics XI/3, Winter 1976, p. 28, n. 81: appalling."

15. Al HaT'shuvah, ed. P. Pelli, Jerusalem 1975, p. 302.

To join the conversation at CLAL Encore Talk, click here.
To access the CLAL Encore Archive, click here.