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Jewish ethics yr 12


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Published in: Education, Spiritual

Jewish ethics yr 12

  1. 1. Jewish Ethics 12 SOR I & II Judaism Religious Tradition Depth Study
  2. 2. Syllabus Point •describe and explain Jewish ethical teachings on bioethics OR environmental ethics OR sexual ethics 2
  3. 3. •The ethical system that operates within Judaism is represented by codes of positive and negative commandments. •These codes study and analyse core ethical concepts.
  4. 4. • Under this system of ethics, one acts in a certain way because that is in the halachah (Jewish Law) and the halachah is God’s will.
  5. 5. • The fundamental values that underpin the ethical and moral teachings of Judaism can be found in the lived experience of the halachah, and are core values associated with the rituals of the Jewish holy days. (eg Pesach)
  6. 6. •Jewish ethics make demands on Jews to act in certain ways on a wide range of social, environmental, economic and personal issues.
  7. 7. •The basis of Jewish ethics is that every human is created in the image of God. •The sacred scriptures contain the ultimate authority on ethical matters.
  8. 8. •The Torah (which consists of the first five books of the Jewish Bible) is the primary source of Jewish ethics.
  9. 9. • The Torah gives a detailed set of practical guidelines and ideals of the type outlined in the Ten Commandments (found in Exodus and Deuteronomy). •Traditional Judaism revolves around the legal traditions of halachah.
  10. 10. • This starts with the 613 mitzvot (commandments) concerned with ethical issues, social issues and religious rituals. • Ones still relevant today provide a pattern of behaviour that Jews see as a reflection of God himself.
  11. 11. •They can be divided into two sections: -those about relationships between fellow humans -those about relationships with humans and God.
  12. 12. •Since the mitzvot are not all straight forward, oral commentaries were developed for interpretations, called the Oral Torah.
  13. 13. •These interpretations were written down in the Mishnah. As time passed, reinterpretations of the Mishnah were written in the Gemara. Together, the Mishnah and the Gemara form the Talmud. • The Torah and Talmud give guidance in all situations of Jewish life.
  14. 14. •The word ʻethicsʼ is not used in Jewish sacred literature, because it is not seen as something separate from ordinary life.
  15. 15. •Ethics are embedded in everything a Jew thinks and believes, so the notion of ethics is taken for granted as having relevance to all Jewish beliefs, practices and actions.
  16. 16. •Refer to the concept of “Tikka Olum” from Year 11 - help one person, help the world
  17. 17. •Jewish thinkers believe that human life is precious and that the need to preserve it is more important than religious prohibitions. •Where life is at stake, normal rules and customs may be disregarded.
  18. 18. For Example…. •Judaism forbids people to do manual work on the Shabbat, but this rule can be set aside if a life is at stake, or if there is even the remote possibility of saving a life.
  19. 19. For Example…. •Even saving a few minutes of a life is still saving a life…….
  20. 20. Science/ Bioethics
  21. 21. The 6 Principles 1. Human Life is important- it has intrinsic value 2.Therefore the preservation of human life is paramount-highest moral imperative. 3. All human lives are equal-each life has the same value. 21
  22. 22. The 6 Principles 4. All life belongs to God- our lives are not ours. 5. The sacredness of human life- God in us. 6. Therefore all actions towards others are the ‘manifestation of our imitation of God’ 22
  23. 23. •In scientific discoveries related to cloning and genetic engineering, Jews believe that God created an unfinished world, and that it is humanityʼs responsibility to bring it to greater perfection.
  24. 24. •They do not see recent discoveries in genetic engineering as a forbidden act which tampers with nature.
  25. 25. •Orthodox Jews object to birth control because it is the same as ʻspilling seedʼ which is forbidden by the Talmud. They do not object to sexual intercourse where , conception is not possible, for example where a woman is unable to have children, or is already pregnant.
  26. 26. •However, some Jewish authorities see the use of the contraception pill as acceptable, since it does not involve ʻspilling seedʼ.
  27. 27. Abortion •The Torah does not specifically forbid abortion, but it is generally accepted in Judaism that it is a serious offense and may only be permitted in certain circumstances, to save the life or mental health of the mother.
  28. 28. Abortion continued •It may not be used as a form of after- the-fact birth control or for economic reasons. -> “unborn baby is a potential life”
  29. 29. Euthanasia •Jewish law strongly condemns euthanasia. Judaism teaches that your body is not yours alone: you are part of humanity, and God created you. •Refer to 2 Samuel 1:9–17 (about the death/ ʻmurderʼ of King Saulʼ)
  30. 30. • “And he said to me ‘Stand beside me and kill me, for anguish has seized me, and yet my life still lingers.’ 10 So I stood beside him and killed him, because I was sure that he could not live after he had fallen. And I took the crown that was on his head and the armlet that was on his arm, and I have brought them here to my lord.” • 16 “And David said to him, ‘Your blood be on your head, for your own mouth has testified against you, saying, I have killed the LORD's anointed’”.
  31. 31. •It is Godʼs right to decide on the exact moment of death. •People cannot ʻplay Godʼ. •Note use of life support for ʻdeadʼ patients->not seen as ʻeuthanasiaʼ
  32. 32. Sexual ethics
  33. 33. •Jews believe that human sexuality is a gift from God, who created man and woman to live together. (refer to marriage) •Judaism does not value celibacy, but endorses marriage and procreation.
  34. 34. •NOTE: The Seventh Commandment of ‘Do not commit Adultery’ (Ex. 20:14) 34
  35. 35. •Contraception contradicts/seems to be at odds with the instruction of ‘Be fruitful and multiply’ (Genesis 1:28). 35
  36. 36. •Also refer to the story of Onan (Genesis 38:8-9) where Onan had to sleep with his sister in law so that she may have children (her husband had been killed). He withdraws prematurely and is then punished by God for disobedience! 36
  37. 37. •As a result, strict Judaism discourages any form of contraception but liberal Judaism may teach that it is OK in certain situations/circumstances eg if the family already has several children 37
  38. 38. •NB- sex outside of marriage is forbidden .: contraception in this circumstance is forbidden 38
  39. 39. •Womenʼs rights are safe-guarded; coercive sexual relations between husband and wife are forbidden, and Israeli law recognises marital rape as a crime.
  40. 40. •Sexuality is at all times associated with the establishment of a family, with love, mutual consent and sensitivity to physical needs.
  41. 41. •Judaism teaches that the sexual act must be judged in the context in which it happens. If it is performed with the right partner, at the right time, for the right purpose, it is an act of holiness. In fact, marriage is called kiddushin (holiness) in Hebrew.
  42. 42. •According to the Talmud (Yevamot 62B), a man without a wife is incomplete, and cannot experience true goodness. •Blessing at Bar Mitzvah ->knowledge of Torah, a good marriage, and a worthwhile life
  43. 43. •The Torah uses a specific verb to state that ʻAdam knew his wifeʼ, implying that sex is about more than a physical act. It entails a relationship, a partnership with knowledge of, and sympathy with, another person.
  44. 44. •The Hebrew word for love is ahav, which comes from two Aramaic words meaning ʻI giveʼ. •NB-no physical relationships 2 weeks/ month-work on the “partnership” and “friendship” side of the relationship ->Mikveh or ritual cleansing
  45. 45. •Divorce is regrettable but OK •Bill of Divorce- Get Orthodox-Rabinic Court Liberal- Secular Court • Refer to Deuteronomy 24
  46. 46. • “When a man takes a wife and marries her, if then she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, and she departs out of his house, 2 and if she goes and becomes another man's wife, 3 and the latter man hates her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter man dies, who took her to be his wife, 4 then her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after she has been defiled, for that is an abomination before the LORD. And you shall not bring sin upon the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance.” 46
  47. 47. Deut. 24:5 •“When a man is newly married, he shall not go out with the army or be liable for any other public duty. He shall be free at home one year to be happy with his wife whom he has taken.” 47
  48. 48. Homosexuality •In traditional Jewish teaching, homosexuality is strongly condemned. •Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13
  49. 49. Lev. 18:22 •‘You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.’ 49
  50. 50. But in Liberal Judaism... • Much debate about this topic • Modern Liberal Judaism affirms the following belief: ★ The image of God is reflected by every human being and must always be cherished and affirmed ★ Jews have been and must be sensitive to all forms of discrimination and prejudice ★ Because homosexual Jews have experienced the anti-semitism known to all Jews and because of their sexuality, have experienced discrimination, they are accepted as any Jew 50
  51. 51. Sexual Ethics and the 10 Commandments •No Adultery (ie any form of sex outside of marriage) •No of being unfaithful? (to yourself, your partner or God) 51
  52. 52. Sexual Ethics and the 10 Commandments •Note the concept of ‘stealing’ (theft of innocence/unwilling sex partner etc) •Not being jealous or ‘to covert’ also relates to limiting sexual desire outside of marriage. 52
  53. 53. •end