ABOUT THIS WEBSITE
Mussaria.org (aka TheEthicalTorah.com) is an independent project of Rabbi Arthur J. Levine, Ph.D., J.D. It is not affiliated with any organization, movement, or other individual(s).
Deuteronomy 6:18 admonishes: “Do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, that it may go well with you…”
How are we to know, though, in any given situation, which behavior Judaism – and God -- considers “the right and good”?
For more than two thousand years, Jewish sages and ethicists have pondered this question and worked to develop for us their answers.
This website is an effort to disseminate some of their invaluable wisdom -- and to encourage users to further explore their writings -- by compiling thousands of excerpts from scores of ethical commentaries.
Each excerpt was related by its author to a specific Torah verse (i.e., the Five Books of Moses; first five books of the Hebrew Bible, aka Pentateuch and Chumash). Maintaining the excerpts' connection with a Torah verse is the website’s organizing structure (while permitting users free-form word/phrase/topical searches).
Consequently, the website is particularly useful for study of Torah (and other sources) and sermon writing regarding ethical issues from the perspective of many different ethicists throughout the generations.
This website is intended to be a continuous "work-in-progress," ever-increasing in content, scope, utility, and functionality. As the project of a single individual, volunteer support to maintain and expand it is essential (please see "Contributors" page).
May this website facilitate ethical learning and teaching, and from these, "right and good" behavior.
Arthur J. Levine
Founder, Compiler, Editor
June 2021/Sivan 5781
ABOUT ARTHUR J. LEVINE
Rabbi Dr. Art Levine was born in Los Angeles in 1955. A lifelong student, Art received a B.A. degree, cum laude (Political Science) from UCLA (1976), a Juris Doctor degree from Western State University College of Law (1988), Masters and Ph.D. degrees (History) from Claremont Graduate University (2001, 2004), and Masters degree and Rabbinic Ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion-California (2009).
Between 2007 and 2018, Art made twenty-two trips to Israel, becoming a dual American-Israeli citizen in 2012 and living in Jerusalem for a cumulative two years. He has lectured on numerous Jewish subjects and has led seders and services on five continents. He is the founder of the websites Yerushatenu (http://rabbiartlevine.com), AnJie: Aiding Needy Jews in Ethiopia (https://anjieonline.org), and Mussaria (https://mussaria.org) (originally named TheEthicalTorah.com).
Art earned his living as a business insurance underwriter (Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter and Associate in Risk Management designations) and consultant, and then as an attorney and expert witness specializing in workers compensation insurance premium disputes. He is the author of ‘Mercenary, Mendacious Mythology’? Assessing the Insurance Industry’s Explanation for the Product Liability “Crisis” of the 1970s (Doctoral Dissertation, 2004); The Workers Compensation Premium Book; and Levine on California Workers Compensation Premium and Insurance; numerous research papers and articles on law, insurance, history, and Judaism; and d'vrei Torah (sermons) on Jewish ethics accessible at rabbiartlevine.com.
To God, the source of all Jewish ethics.
To Jewish sages and ethicists -- including the authors of the excerpts included in this website -- who studied and wrote to disseminate ethical knowledge throughout the generations.
To Barbara, אשת חיל, my wife of 47 years.
To my parents, Max and Theda Levine, z"l, who modeled Jewish ethical behavior, and to my sister, Judith Ann Glick, z"l, Jewish educator, religious school administrator, and camp director.
To my teachers and mentors at the Academy of Jewish Religion, California (2005-2009).
To the builder and administrator of this website, Dylan Lopez, Web Developer at INNO Software Inc. on Vancouver Island, Canada, who has expended an enormous effort to make this website a functioning reality.
To Rabbi Nico Socolovsky, who made numerous helpful suggestions for revisions to the website, including the name "Mussaria" (based on Hebrew for "ethics" and "morals") and the merged Hebrew/English letters מ ("mem") and m in the logo.