Re: Jewish ethical wisdom - Where Do We Go From Here?
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Re: Jewish ethical wisdom - Where Do We Go From Here?

August 03, 2018 12:13AM
I would like to thank Shmuel Silberman, Rabbi Dr Barry Kislowicz, Daniel Rothner and Norman Meskin for taking the time to read my post so carefully and to reply so thoughtfully.

In addition to expressing appreciation for the generous comments, I would like to briefly respond to some of the insights offered in the responses.

Shmuel Silberman argues that halacha imposes a quite demanding ethical standard and suggests that the main solution to the problem I discussed lies in a focus on halachot of mitzvot bein adam lechavero. My argument is that more is needed than merely learning these halachot. It is essential that we understand Torah as including an ethical worldview, that we have a sense of what are the goals of living a Torah life and how mitzvah observance facilitates these goals. Also essential are the internalisation of Torah values and methodologies for controlling and channeling, ego and other potentially destructive drives. While much of this leads to proper observance of mitzvot bein adam lechavero, my point is that simply learning the laws is insufficient to maximise proper observance. I also think we have to set our sights on a life of lifnim mishurat hadin and not rest content with following din.

I wholeheartedly agree with Rabbi Kislowicz's insightful analysis. He has compellingly outlined a way forward which involves an exploration of the relationship between Torah and ethics in the worldview of modern Torah thinkers in order to clarify and explicate our approach to ethics; developing from these foundations a philosophical-psychological framework for how individuals and communities can grow toward ethical living and choosing an implementation strategy consistent with the empirical research in this field. I am grateful to Rabbi Kislowicz and Daniel Rothner for their enthusiastic and important insights as to how prioritising values and ethics can become what Mr Rothner calls 'the new normal in the Jewish community'.

I am sorry that Norman Meskin found my claim that 'the Orthodox community doesn't live up to its calling to be an ethical exemplar to the world' to be negative and divorced from reality (though I do wish it were so!). My intention is to inspire collaborative work to chart a way forward to raising the bar in a very important area of Torah life. The statement that Mr Meskin cites is the first line of my article in which I refer to my previous blog posts on [www.Jewishethicalwisdom.com]. Those who are interested in this issue are invited to read those articles where I discuss my views and include positive appraisals of ethical life in the Orthodox community, as I have in my Hakirah article.

Finally, I am sorry that Mr Meskin thinks I intimate that I discovered this phenomenon and that there is a lack of historical context. I think a read of my blog posts and my articles in Conversations [toratchayim.ca] and Hakirah [hakirah.org] should redress these concerns.

The purpose of my most recent post is to build on the previous discussions to focus on the future.

Once again I am gratified by the enthusiasm with which this was received on Lookjed and by those who contacted me directly and look forward to more discussions in the future.

Anthony



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/03/2018 12:14AM by mlb.
Subject Author Posted

Jewish ethical wisdom - Where Do We Go From Here?

Anthony Knopf July 31, 2018 09:34PM

Re: Jewish ethical wisdom - Where Do We Go From Here?

Shmuel Silberman July 31, 2018 09:37PM

Re: Jewish ethical wisdom - Where Do We Go From Here?

Daniel Rothner July 31, 2018 09:42PM

Re: Jewish ethical wisdom - Where Do We Go From Here?

Barry Kislowicz July 31, 2018 09:46PM

Re: Jewish ethical wisdom - Where Do We Go From Here?

Norman Meskin July 31, 2018 09:51PM

Re: Jewish ethical wisdom - Where Do We Go From Here?

Seymour Epstein August 02, 2018 02:21AM

Re: Jewish ethical wisdom - Where Do We Go From Here?

Anthony Knopf August 03, 2018 12:13AM



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