The Jewish approach to ethics, culled from a rich heritage of over 3000 years of Jewish existence, has been tried and tested with an astonishing degree of continuity and coherence, enabling it to remain steadfast in the face of the transient whims of society. Judaism’s ascription to the commitments, obligations, and duties of each individual, rather than individual rights, and its lack of distinction between law and ethics, ensures that Jewish ethics does not deal with armchair philosophy, but with real, practical cases while proposing unyielding, yet realistic ethical standards. This comprehensive systematic approach of Jewish ethics has universal validity in the societal debate over public policy involving medical, legal and corporate issues.
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Four seminal figures: Hillel the Elder – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; Maimonides – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; Felix Adler (professor) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; L. F. L. Oppenheim – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Not to be overlooked: Jesus is a Jew
Judaism inspires two great conversations: man with God; man with man.
The conversation begins in a garden with God, a snake, a woman, and a man, and the outcome may be (we could argue about it) a statement about the onset of human awareness, self-awareness, and, most of all, conscience.
There’s commentary on language too in Genesis 2 and 3, but it’s subtle and left to the reader to catch two trees in one chapter and only one in the next (hiding something by omission, but rightly omitting from Eve’s human perception what has been hidden, i.e., the Tree of Life; Eve gets to taste of the fruit of the other tree).
And there’s also the comment on decency, which is not tied to shame (as Christians may have it): more likely than shame, our two humans cover what should be in deference to one another, out of consideration, but it’s God, actually, who sews skins for clothes — clothes strong and fit for living — as he sends them as much into human life as out of the garden.
It may be the development of an extensive and millenial ethical argument in language and language behavior that provides Stephan Harper today with motivation to stand with Israel in defense of western ethics, laws, and values.
“There are more votes, a lot more, in being anti-israeli than taking a stand, but as long as I am Prime Minister, whether it is at the United Nations, the Francophone, or anywhere else, Canada will take that stand whatever the cost.”
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