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TorahJew

Joined: Jan. 9, 2012

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Most recent posts by TorahJew:     (See all of them)


Creating the Future

Jan. 10 at 8:52am | Comments: 11 | Most recent comment: Jan. 13 at 9:33am

[diving right in...] Rabbi Sacks suggests that G-d’s famous reply to Moses, “I will be what I will be” is a way of saying that the part of us that is In the Image of G-d, is in fact the fact that we can – and should – create ourselves. We have the power to achieve infinity, following the part of us that is godly, the part of us that can do anything. The amazing implications...

Introducing TorahJew

Jan. 10 at 7:28am | Comments: 8 | Most recent comment: Jan. 10 at 8:13pm

Greetings! As I often identify myself as a G-d-fearing libertarian, I was delighted to be welcomed to this site - as someone who is new to Personalism, it is a pleasant surprise to discover that there are many other people who believe that what G-d wants from us most of all is to make good choices. In my case, as a self-described Torah Jew, I derive all of these conclusions from a relatively simple reading of the Torah (by which...


Latest comments by TorahJew:     (See all of them)


Re: Flight from reality

Jan. 25 at 10:53am | see this comment in context

Katie van Schaijik, Jan. 25 at 10:39am

TorahJew, Jan. 25 at 10:35am

Katie van Schaijik, Jan. 25 at 10:22am

One looks upon the material world, and even one's own human body, as nothing but raw material for human making and manufacturing, as if everything in nature receives its meaning from what man chooses to do with it.

Huh. This is exactly my position!

Then Prof. Crosby has a challenge for you.

I don't see it. Our assumptions are too far apart.

Very simplistically: a Jew harnesses all desires to achieve holiness. So we don't really have a problem with hunger, or lust, or materialism. We just want those things directed properly: eating should remind us of G-d's blessings; marital lust and love should be one and the same; materialism is wonderful if we use it to elevate G-d in the world (such as by having a beautiful Sabbath table).

We do NOT reject any of these desires, any more than we reject alcohol (for example).  All desires ideally are used to lead us to holiness.

Re: Flight from reality

Jan. 25 at 10:35am | see this comment in context

Katie van Schaijik, Jan. 25 at 10:22am

One looks upon the material world, and even one's own human body, as nothing but raw material for human making and manufacturing, as if everything in nature receives its meaning from what man chooses to do with it.

Huh. This is exactly my position!

Nature was created for our use. And the world was created so that we can complete it, through the positive exercise of our free choice.

My job as a Jew is to hold fast to the physical world, and elevate it into the spiritual realm. In so doing, I can heal the divisions that G-d created in the beginning. And the physical world exists for this purpose alone. Without mankind, nature has no raison d'etre.

Re: Flight from reality

Jan. 25 at 10:31am | see this comment in context

I hear you. I can see it from your perspective.

Nevertheless, this is what the Torah tells us, and the way in which we have interpreted it for thousands of years. So this is my understanding of G-d's Will. We simply do not view potential life as being precisely the same as actualized life.

Out of curiosity, I checked on other faiths. Apparently Islamic Law is similar to Jewish Law in this respect.

All schools of thought, traditional and modern, make allowances for circumstances threatening the health or life of the mother.

But I think we have now reached a dead end, and this is your web site. So unless there is somewhere productive we can go with this discussion, I think there is where I bow out.

Re: Flight from reality

Jan. 25 at 9:48am | see this comment in context

Sacks continues

And therefore, the conclusion to which we have come as a community, to which my rabbinical court has come in the light of questions about stem cell research and so on, has been the following: that embryos, on the one hand, may not be created in the laboratory simply for research purposes or to be destroyed. However, embryos created permissibly, namely surplus embryos created in the course of in vitro fertilisation may be used for research, and that includes the embryonic stem cells, or therapeutic cloning – the kind of cloning used to treat genetic disease.

Re: Flight from reality

Jan. 25 at 9:47am | see this comment in context

The Torah talks about damages from miscarriages, as Jonathan Sacks discusses.

I also found this. Key excerpt:

...western civilization is formed on the basis of two quite different cultures, ancient Greece and ancient Israel. Ancient Greece saw ethics in terms of nature, ancient Israel saw ethics in terms of law, and Christianity was formed in the meeting of those two cultures.

The second distinction, I think, is no less important: the distinction between a person and human life. They sound the same, but they’re not at all. In Jewish law the foetus is not a person, the pre-implanted embryo is not a person but it is human life. “Personhood”, with all its rights and responsibilities, begins at birth; but prior to birth we have duties to embryos, not because they are persons but because they are human life. The difference is, that whereas our duties to a person may not be over-ridden by other moral concerns, our duties to human life may be over-ridden by other duties, not least the duties we owe persons: for instance, saving life, or curing disease. 

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