1. In a bizarre twist, the Torah informs us that one of the punishments for idolatry is that we will ultimately be forced to worship inanimate objects instead of the Living God (Devarim 4:25-28). Should all punishments be designed to teach the sinner, or is it sometimes appropriate to apply measures which are purely punitive in nature?

  2. The Torah describes that, upon our entry into the land, we will find houses and crops ready for our habitation, without having to work for them. Post-1948, many displaced Jews in the new State of Israel were placed by the government in ready-made homes abandoned by fleeing Arabs. Some of those Arabs have begun asking for compensation for those homes, or even restitution of the property. Does the government have an ethical obligation to provide restitution? Should a Jewish family living in one those homes feel guilty?

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