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"For Instruction shall come forth from Zion, The word of the L-rd from Jerusalem." -- Isaiah 2:3


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Are you more of an "I'll dive right in and figure it out" person, or a "Show Me How This Thing Works" person?  If the former, go right ahead and try the excerpts browers on the right side of this page and/or scroll through the excerpts that start below the following information -- although we still suggest reading the information first.  If you are the latter, click here for a video demonstrating the Excerpts Browser. Either way (or both), enjoy! 

This page is recommended for searches limited to specific Torah books, weekly portions (parshiot), chapters, verses, and/or sources (authors). For keyword and/or for exact phrase (including verse and source) searches of the entire excerpts database, we recommend using the Search Engine page.  For broadest results, use both pages and alternative search strategies. 

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GENESIS — 5:1 image

Those moderns who deny Buber’s “accountability to the Eternal Thou” or who refuse to acknowledge a transcendent source of “the good” must still grope for the ultimate foundation of their value system.  Why, for example, is it wrong to demean, degrade, or exploit another person?  Should man’s increasing dominion over the earth make it technically possible to breed a race of docile imbeciles—why would it be wrong to do so? To answer this question in its ontological depth, is to imply that there is an order of creation which man should not violate.  At the heart of this order is “the sacredness of the human personality” or what ben Azzai called the most important sentence in the Torah: “This is the Book of the generations of man. In the image of G-d created He him.”  [this verse].  To explore the foundations of ethics is to point toward if not explicitly to affirm the G-d who is the “Giver of Torah.”  FOJE xxiv-v

GENESIS — 8:21 evil

He who cultivates his sensual nature instead of letting his sense of G-d and of awe before him control his conduct, and win the victory for his higher nature, creates in himself, as the Talmud says, a strange god; that is, he allows the natural impulse to evil, which the religious man subdues through the good deed, to grow ever stronger until finally it becomes his master.  To be sure, man’s heart is evil from his youth [this verse], that is, as our sages teach, evil example can even in childhood have a devastating effect upon the purity of the soul, but over against evil example education and good example stand as equally strong forces.  Thus, Judaism does not believe in the depravity of human nature; it only asserts susceptibility to sin.  If the soul of man is pure, so is his body also; man’s body as G-d’s creation carries within itself, no natural uncleanness.  Nor is the evil inclination embedded in man’s corporeal life.  The human being who sins acts out of moral perversity.  Over against all other views, Judaism holds firmly to the purity of the human being.  FOJE 93-4

GENESIS — 18:19 doing

Within Judaism there have been divergent currents of thought, but on this one point there has always been agreement and an ever increasing insistence, namely, that piety and the fear of G-d are grounded in moral action and that man can only apprehend G-d as he realizes that in the fulfillment of the good lies the raison d’etre of his existence.   FOJE 20

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