Friday, March 23, 2007

Jewish Ethics-- New and Old Voices

Our older class, taught by the brilliant and excellent pedagogue Josh Millstein, has been learning about Jewish Ethics through looking at traditional sources. Not passively reading them of course, but engaging in the discussion. See here one of their projects compiled and assimilated by Josh:

There was a recent discovery of the first page of the Talmud written by some learned rabbis from Sheiris Israel. The rest of the book could not be located, and even the page itself was so frail and in such danger of just evaporating into thin air that Chief Rabbi Micah Kelber immediately copied down, word for word, the page that he found. This is what he wrote:

Rabbi Hillel saw a skull floating on the face of the water. He said to it: “For drowning others you were drowned; and in the end they that drown others will themselves be drowned.”

The esteemed Rabbi Kruchkow said, “I agree with Hillel to a degree. I agree that evil will be returned to those who commit it, but the criminal may not receive their punishment in the same way. I think that the punishment will depend on the people affected, the people around them, and perhaps G-d’s will. The punishment may not serve justice if it is the same as the criminal has done in all occasions.”

Honorable Rabbi Cohen said, “Rabbi Hillel is wrong and right: He was right because of Karma – ‘ what comes around, goes around ’ – and he was wrong because sometimes ‘ what comes around, goes around ’ doesn’t necessarily happen.”

And the accomplished Rabbi Starikov said, “I agree with Rabbi Hillel because it is a case of ethics. You should treat people the way you wish to be treated, therefore the favor will be returned. Perchance I made a nasty remark to a fellow pupil I might have destroyed all further chances to carry on a friendship with that person.”

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