Judaism: The Religion of Life over Death
with R’ Yitz Greenberg
3-part class series in English at Mechon Hadar Israel
May 2nd | May 9th | May 16th
Mechon Hadar, Emek Refaim 63
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Join us for a 3-part series with R’ Yitz Greenberg on the importance of life in Judaism:
1. May 2nd – The Priority of Life over Death in Ritual and Ethics: In Jewish tradition, life is the most precious element in existence. God, the creator, is the source and ground of life (elokim chayim). The Ruler who lusts for life (melech chafetz bachayim) asks us to live on the side of life. We shall analyze how in ritual (such as Kashrut, Shabbat, Purity) and in ethics (in Tzedakah, business, society) Judaism prioritizes human life over money.
2. May 9th – Choose Life, or: Living on the Side of Life: The Jewish tradition instructs to live on the side of life. Literally, every life action – eating, speaking, working, relating etc. – should be reshaped to assure that it maximizes life and minimizes death, degradation or pollution. Thus Halacha covers every action of life but it is not a legal system; it is a covenantal way of living in which every act is shaped to increase life in the world.
3. May 16th – Pikuach Nefesh: Life Saving as the highest calling: Saving a life overrides 610 of the 613 commandments. The 3 commandments for which we are told to die rather than violate – idolatry, murder, sexual perversion – also uphold the principle that life is above all. In this spirit, God gives us commandments in order to stimulate us to increase life and not for the sake of showing obedience.