Do Good Fences Make Good Neighbors? A Talmudic Teaching

By :  Aaron Koller Adjunct Professor of Talmud, JTS and Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Yeshiva University Posted On Nov 20, 2023 / 5784 | Friendship in Jewish Text and Tradition Monday Webinar

Download Sources

What do we owe our neighbors? How much are we obligated to contribute to our cities, our neighborhoods, our streets, and how much can we just take of ourselves and let everyone else take care of themselves? These are modern questions, but they are ancient Jewish questions, too. The Talmud speaks in a different language than we do, so it probes these issues through law and narrative. We read a short passage from the Talmud about what it means to be a good neighbor, and unpack it to see how these questions are broached and what insight the text has to share. 

About the Series

“Two Are Better Than One:” Friendship in Jewish Text and Tradition  

Friendship is a critical component of our daily lives, our mental health, and our Jewish communal experiences. Ecclesiastes (4:9) posits, “Two are better than one,” underscoring the significance of companionship and partnership in Jewish tradition and the role they play in a life well-lived. Join JTS faculty to explore the concept of friendship through Jewish texts, history, and thought. They will consider friendship in times of joy and times of crisis, both with those in our inner circles and with our neighbors and fellow citizens more broadly.  We also consider some important paradigms for friendship and discuss the values we can distill from these models of friendship