“You Shall Fear Your God”: Theological, Moral, and Psychological Implications

“You Shall Fear Your God”: Theological, Moral, and Psychological Implications

May 13, 2016 By Walter Herzberg | Commentary | Kedoshim

There are many exhortations in Leviticus 19, but only two of them conclude with “you shall fear your God, I am the Lord.” We will focus on Leviticus 19:14

You shall not curse the deaf, and before the blind you shall not place a stumbling block; rather you shall fear your God, I am the Lord

—and five traditional Jewish interpretations, to examine how the phrase “you shall fear your God” informs our understanding of the injunctions not to curse the deaf and not to place a stumbling block before the blind.

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Consequences as Judgement

Consequences as Judgement

Aug 27, 2011 By Abigail Treu | Commentary | Text Study | Re'eh

Part of the problem with the theology of reward and punishment (or blessings and curses, as it is couched in the parashah this week) is that we know it to not be true. We have all seen good people live and die tragically, and others deserving punishment living long, happy lives. It is difficult, as sophisticated thinkers, to apply the reward-and-punishment idea in any satisfying way to reality as we know it.

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Our Capacity for Evil, Our Capacity for Good

Our Capacity for Evil, Our Capacity for Good

Jul 27, 1996 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Va'et-hannan

On the first anniversary of the bomb blast which erased 168 lives in the Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, the New York Times ran a photograph on the front page of Jannie Coverdale, who had lost two grandsons.

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Leadership in Revelation

Leadership in Revelation

Mar 19, 2005 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Vayikra

Modernity erupted in Jewish history in 1782 in the garb of midrash.

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Judaism and the Afterlife

Judaism and the Afterlife

Jan 6, 1996 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Vayehi

The title of this week’s parasha is full of irony.

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Explaining the Inexplicable?

Explaining the Inexplicable?

Apr 20, 2002 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Aharei Mot | Kedoshim

In speaking of the legal corpus which dominates this week’s double parashah, the Torah makes use of two terms, mishpatim and hukkim, translated as “rules” and “laws.” Technically, as Baruch A. Levine makes clear in his commentary, they reflect two sources of legal practice. The word mishpatim deriving from the root sh-f-t, “to judge,” embodies rules articulated in a judicial setting. Hukkim from the root h-k-k “to engrave” or “inscribe” suggests laws promulgated by decree. In our parashah the terms seem to be synonymous, because God is the only lawgiver: “My rules (mishpatim) alone shall you observe, and faithfully follow My laws (hukkim): I the Lord am your God” (18:4).

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Repeating History

Repeating History

Jul 6, 2002 By Lewis Warshauer | Commentary | Masei | Mattot

The philosopher George Santayana wrote that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. His words have been often used and more often misused. The past is not a document that can simply be pulled out of a file. The past is what we remember it to have been. How we remember it depends on how we have told it. The Torah is, among other things, a record of how the Jewish people told, or were told, its past.

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The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture

The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture

Oct 4, 2012 By The Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary | Public Event audio

What if the Hebrew Bible wasn’t meant to be read as “revelation”? What if the authors of the Bible meant to present us with a book that is not about miracles or the afterlife-but about how to lead our lives in this world? In this Library Book Talk, Dr. Yoram Hazony addresses these questions while discussing his latest book, The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture.

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