Torah

Environmental Karma

Environmental Karma

Here’s an interesting thought from the Talmudic tractate Bava Kama (a work highlighting the Jewish laws relating to damages).  In a discussion focusing primarily on the obligations a private individual has to the public vis-a-vis the disposal of his personal property, a beautiful environmental lesson is offered.  The particular law in question is the prohibition against this individual tossing rocks…

Judging Others by Judging an Etrog: Lessons from Parshat Lech Lecha

Judging Others by Judging an Etrog: Lessons from Parshat Lech Lecha

Parshat Lecha Lecha Rabbi Yehuda Amital raises a fascinating – seemingly, at first, purely literary — question on this week’s Torah portion.  Abraham has just returned from his successful battle with the Four Kings and rescued all those captured during the preceding war between the Four and Five Kings (Genesis Chapter 14).  The King of Sodom comes out to greet…

Democratic Themes in Religious Zionism

Democratic Themes in Religious Zionism

As part of our Summary & Comment Series on Modern Jewish Scholarship, Rabbi Pear offers (below) a brief analysis of Professor Alexander Kaye’s article, Democratic Themes in Religious Zionism. The original article can be found here. SUMMARY By primarily, but not exclusively, focusing on the writings of Rabbi Shaul Yisraeli, the article explores the National Religious Rabbinic response to the…

When the Rambam Argues with himself: His Two Hagadot and a Taste of the World to Come

When the Rambam Argues with himself: His Two Hagadot and a Taste of the World to Come

Throughout Jewish history, a number of halachik[1] terms have existed to describe the non-Jewish population with which the Jewish community interacted; these terms, in turn, helped define the nature of the relationship between the two populations.  Being a member of the “Seven Indigenous Nations of the Land of Canaan (ז’ עמים),” for example, would propel the relationship in a negative…

Imprisonment for Debt in Jewish and Israeli Law

Imprisonment for Debt in Jewish and Israeli Law

Imprisonment for Debt in Israeli Law Debtor’s prison has a long – but not proud – history in many of the world’s legal systems, including Israel’s.  During the 1970’s and 1980’s, for example, some 500,000 letters were sent threatening prison to those who could not pay their debts, and some 20,000-40,000 people actually served time in prison for their inability,…