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Tag Archives: morality

Mishpatim — Exodus 21:1–24:18

Robert Cover (1943-1986), the renowned law professor and activist at Yale Law School, once remarked that every legal system or nomos had woven within its own narrative or story. Cover taught that everyone lives in at least one nomos, by which he means a normative universe. A normative universe is “a world of right and […] http://bethsholomsf.org/mishpatim-exodus-211-2418-3/ Continue Reading...

Ki Tetzei — Deuteronomy 21:10 – 25:19

German Jewish thinker Hannah Arendt once remarked: “Only crime and the criminal, it is true, confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; but only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core.“ How do we discern the difference between hypocrisy and evil? And then how do we confront evil in life? For modern people, […] http://bethsholomsf.org/ki-tetzei-deuteronomy-2110-2519-2/ Continue Reading...

Michael Ross’ Bar Mitzvah

Shalom. My name is Michael Ross. I’m an eighth grader at The Brandeis School of San Francisco and I am becoming a bar mitzvah this Shabbat, 11 Elul 5777. A bit about me: I love to play the electric guitar, and have been taking music lessons at The Blue Bear School of Music for six […] http://bethsholomsf.org/michael-ross-bar-mitzvah/ Continue Reading...

Ekev — Deuteronomy 7:12 – 11:25

William Shakespeare once wrote, “There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” If a beneficent Creator created the world, is it merely a question of thinking that accounts for why bad things happen to good people? We are disturbed by such moral calculus. This week’s reading of Parashat Ekev provides us […] http://bethsholomsf.org/ekev-deuteronomy-712-1125-2/ Continue Reading...

Ki Tetzei — Deuteronomy 21:10 – 25:19

How do we react to evil when we confront it in our lives? For modern people, it has become habit to dissect evil into two categories: natural evil and moral evil. Hurricanes and toothaches are examples of natural evils whereas murder and lying are examples of moral evils. From the Torah’s perspective, there are those […] http://bethsholomsf.org/ki-tetzei-deuteronomy-2110-2519/ Continue Reading...

Ekev — Deuteronomy 7:12 – 11:25

Why do bad things happen to good people if a beneficent Creator created the world? This problematic question perennially troubles us, and so too did it trouble philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. In his book Théodicée (Theodicy) (1709), written seven years before his death, Leibniz strives to develop a strategy that will clear God of the charge […] http://bethsholomsf.org/ekev-deuteronomy-712-1125/ Continue Reading...

Vayikra — Leviticus 1:1 – 5:26

A strange miniature Aleph opens this week’s parsha, the only one of its kind in the Torah. What does it mean? In our communal study of the Zohar, we discovered the most remarkable insight: “A miniature aleph — deriving from a diminished place, diminished becoming great as it joins above.” The mystics understand this seemingly […] http://bethsholomsf.org/vayikra-leviticus-11-526/ Continue Reading...