May 2, 2013

Jewish Law and Morality

A Beautiful quote from my teacher Rabbi Ellie Spitz on Religious Law and Morality: 


"While Conservative Judaism would affirm that the Torah is Divine in its origin, the revelation at Sinai is seen as the beginning of a relationship and not the final word. Interpretation is understood as our communal attempt to understand the will of a compassionate Divine partner. As we mature we are able to understand God's will for us more clearly. If a law appears unconscionable, we would say that the shortcoming is either our previous understanding or that circumstances have so changed that the rule no longer meets its intended result...The Conservative movement maintains that the purpose of the law in the first place is largely to concretize moral values, and so the specific form of the law can and should be changed if it is not effectively doing that. In other words, the Aggadah should control the Halakha... When a law of Torah conflicts with morality, when the law is 'unpleasant', we are committed to finding a way to address the problem. As a halakhic movement we look to precedent to find the tools with which to shape the Torah. For the most part, we rely on the strategies of old. At the same time, we are willing to do explicitly what was largely implicit in the past, namely, to make changes on moral grounds."

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