Ethical Imperatives and Mitzvot

By Jeremy Kalmanofsky

Jewish Family & Life (JFL Media), September 2004

Eugene Borowitz, in a recent issue of the journal Judaism, observed that the category of mitzvah as ethical ideal has lost its power to obligate. The grave consequences of that loss threaten to leave us with a barely recognizable Judaism. Judaism's architecture consists of covenantal practices undertaken as communal duties that reflect God's goodness and love for the world and that make the world holier and more just. Unless Israel is called to fulfill mitzvot, our capacity for self-transcending service to God and humanity will grow feebler; and our tendency for indulgence and sloth will strengthen; our love for our own freedom will become everything to us. Individual freedom and autonomy are, all in all, happy features of modern Jewish life. But it is not a responsible goal for Judaism to free each person from the yoke of service.

Topic: Theology, Halakha, Ritual, Jewish Law, Jewish Text, Modernity

Name of Publication: Sh'ma: A Journal of Jewish Ideas

Editor: Berrin, Susan

Volume/Issue: Vol.35/no.613

Page Number(s): 3-4

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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:
Kalmanofsky, Jeremy. Ethical Imperatives and Mitzvot. Sh'ma: A Journal of Jewish Ideas. Jewish Family & Life (JFL Media). September 2004: 3-4.


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