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GENESIS — 9:2 fear

GEN662 When mora [this verse] and its equivalent, yirah, became identified with fear and hence contrasted with ahavah, love, the question of the relative merits of love and fear of God arose. Though serving God out of fear seems, on the face of it, to be superior to serving Him out of fear, Scripture and some rabbinic sources use the two terms indiscriminately when speaking of what man’s attitude should be toward God. Thus, commenting on the verse “And thou shalt fear the Lord,” the Midrash says: “Be like those three of whom it is written that they fear the Lord.  Be like Abraham (Genesis 22:12), Joseph (Genesis 42:18), and Job” (Job 1:1). Tanhuma (Buber ed.) comment on Lev 5:1, p. 9, par. 15.  On the other hand, Rabbi Simeon ben Elazar (second half of second century C.E.) quotes Scripture to prove that “he who serves a God out of love is superior to one who serves God out of fear, for Scripture ascribes a greater reward to him.” Sotah 31a  Thus also we are led to believe that Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai was unhappy at the thought that Job served God out of fear rather than out of love. Sotah 27b GREENBERG 80-1


GENESIS — 13:10 before

GEN804 Both Judaism and the secularists make use of the concept of justice for the rationalization of the unethical. However, Judaism’s conception of the nature of justice and the manner of its implementation differs radically from that of the secularist. As we have previously noted, the secularist limits the concept of justice to interhuman affairs. Its origin is attributed to enlightened self-interest, and its concretizations reflect a compromise between the enlightened self-interest of the individual and of the group. For Judaism, justice is not the product of human intelligence applied to human experience; human intelligence and experience merely play a role in its implementation.  Justice is a principle that governs the whole of the universe, for “Justice and righteousness are the foundations of God’s throne” (Psalm 89:15). Justice is present in the affairs of men. Men have been endowed by God with the ability to become conscious of its presence and to apply it to their affairs. But the concept of justice reaches far beyond the human. The existence of the whole of creation, not only of an enlightened human society, is dependent upon the preservation of “The foundations of God’s throne.” One of the fundamental doctrines, therefore, of the Biblical–Rabbinic tradition is that men’s violation of justice affects the whole universe. “He turneth rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground; a fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein” (Psalm 107:33 – 34). It was man’s unethically motivated acts that brought on the flood (Genesis 6:11) and the transformation of “The well-watered plane of the Jordan which was like the Garden of Eden” [this verse] into a wilderness (Genesis 19:13-25).  Note that the biblical narrative very specifically includes all the inhabitants of Sodom, “From the young to the old, all of the people,” in the intention to act wickedly toward Lot’s guests (Genesis 19:4). This is apparently in response to Abraham’s plea to save the city even if there be but ten righteous inhabitants (Genesis 18:32). God Himself is concerned with preserving the foundations of His throne, and the viability of His creation. The implementation of justice in human affairs places a two-fold responsibility upon man: (a) to harbor and implement the ethical intention to treat one’s fellow man justly. One is called upon to do this as a matter of divinely enlightened self-interest.  A self-interest which is securely rooted may, as we have pointed out, counsel one to act unjustly; but a self-interest enlightened by faith that God is concerned with the implementation of justice can never counsel even temporary violation of justice. (b) to harbor and implement intentions to curb those who act unjustly. Such intentions must on occasion be unethical, since they involve subjecting the wrongdoer to restraints or punishments which are not intended for his welfare, but primarily for the welfare of society as a whole or of the individual who had been wrong.  GREENBERG 55-56


EXODUS — 16:29 leave

EXOD258 The ethical principles most often used to validate a takkanah were tikkun haolam--advancing the general welfare (Mishnah Gittin chap. 4) and mipne darkhe shalom--acts that advance the cause of peace between man and his fellow (ibid., chap 5). King Solomon is presumed to have ordained (tiken) the eruv (Shabbat 14b), whereby the literal meaning of the commandment "Let no man leave his place on the seventh day" (this verse) was circumvented, on his own authority, since no verse or other source of sanction is mentioned. In T.J. Eruvin 24 at the end of the third column of that page, the eruv is associated with darkhe shalom.


EXODUS — 20:10 cattle

EXOD398 The Torah imposes moral obligations even toward animals. Their welfare is to be taken into consideration even when it involves an injury to the owner. Three passages in the Pentateuch specifically enjoin consideration for the welfare of animals. One is part of the fourth commandment. On the seventh day, not only are old and young, male and female, free and slave, stranger and citizen to rest, but beasts of burden may also not be worked [this verse, Deuteronomy 5:14]. Hence a Jew is not permitted to sell or hire out his animal to anyone who is known to work his animals on the Sabbath. [Avodah Zarah 14b] The Torah also commands that one shall not team an ox with the donkey when plowing [Deuteronomy 22:10]. As the human laborer is permitted to eat from the crop he was gathering, [Bava Metzia 87a-b, J.T. Ma'aserot chap. 2, halakhah 4] so is the animal [ibid, 25:4]. Animals are to be treated humanely, and their slaughter for food or Temple sacrifice is to be accomplished in a manner that inflicts the minimum of pain. The ancient Greeks and Romans had no sympathy with these laws, which involves economic sacrifices. Spinoza is of the opinion that "the law against killing animals was based upon an empty superstition and womanish tenderness, rather than upon sound wisdom." [Spinoza, Ethics, pt. 4, prop. 37, scholium, p. 209.]


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