Authority and Parameters in Jewish Decision-Making

By Neil Gillman

Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association (RRA), Fall 1994

Today, Jewish communities are faced with two primary approaches to the source of authority in Jewish decision-making. The first is the "traditionalist" position wherein God personally and clearly stated the law that humanity is to follow; under this model, human interpretations fall under the rubric of Oral Law, and therefore older interpretations are more authoritative than newer ones. The "liberal" position holds that authority rests within the community; thus, each community determines for itself what is the will of God, and God always agrees. Since rabbis are authorized variously in different communities, and since halacha is not monolithic, the plurality of communities that follow these approaches are vital and necessary components of today's vibrant Jewish world.

Topic: Theology, Halakha, Jewish Law, Pluralism, Authority, Clergy

Name of Publication: The Reconstructionist

Editor: Hirsh, Richard

Volume/Issue: Vol. 59/No. 2

Page Number(s): 73-79

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Genre: Article

Coverage: United States

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Gillman, Neil. Authority and Parameters in Jewish Decision-Making. The Reconstructionist. Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association (RRA). Fall 1994: 73-79.


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