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

Jerusalem

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GENESIS — 1:22 blessed

Ethically charged engagements with animals permeate Jewish traditions, beginning with the Bible. Compassion (rahamim) for animals is deeply interwoven with the Pentateuchal narrative where G-d creates humans and animals on the same day and gives them the same blessing (Genesis 1:24-28); grants humans dominion over animals but also commands them to be vegetarian (Genesis 1:26-30)…  OXFORD 419
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GENESIS — 1:27 image

Foundational Jewish values… shape Jewish understandings regarding the distribution of health care. Among these, the Book of Genesis (1:27) teaches that G-d created humans in G-d’s image, betzelem Elohim. The ancient Rabbis and later Jews have treasured this verse as expressing the intrinsic value and dignity of each human being. … The Bible and later Judaism understand this fundamental, divine value of each person and related values to require support to meet the needs of the poor. The Torah mandates practices in the context of a farming community. The corners of one’s fields, gleanings, and forgotten produce are to be left for the poor to take, in addition to a tithe for support of the needy. [Leviticus 19:9-10; Deuteronomy 14:28-29, Deuteronomy 26:12]. Rabbinic Judaism developed the Hebrew Bible’s value of justice (tzedek) and institutions for support of the needy into tzedakah. That which is given to the poor never simply belonged to the giver, but was always G-d’s, and was owed to the needy as their right. [See citations at 348, ft. 4]. OXFORD 345-6
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GENESIS — 1:27 image

In today’s society, where people are often disconnected from their community, a discussion of “victimless crimes” may have traction.  Judaism’s approach to criminal justice is based on its more communitarian understanding of who we are.  The designation of certain acts as violating society’s ethics makes the community, not just an individual, one of the victims of every crime.  By their very nature, actions designated as crimes harm the moral fabric of society.  Moreover, in Judaism people do not have the right to consent to harm.  Given that each person is made in the image of G-d [this verse] and belongs to G-d [Deuteronomy 10:14, Psalms 24:1], we have a fiduciary duty to maintain our own life and health as well as that of others.  Therefore the Mishnah prohibits self-injury [M. Baba Kamma 8:6], and modern rabbinic rulings include in that category repeated drunkenness, illegal drug use, mutilation, and even unsafe sexual activity [See citations at 484 ft. 38].  OXFORD 478
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GENESIS — 1:27 male/female

A man fulfills his duty to procreate, according to Jewish law, when he produces one boy and one girl Mishnah Yevamot 6:6 (61b); Laws of Marriage 15:4; Shulchan Aruch Even Ha-Ezer 1:5, thus imitating the way that G-d created humans “male and female.” Because the Jewish tradition sees children as a great blessing, however, men were supposed to try to have as many children as possible, in fulfillment of two biblical verses---“G-d did not create it [the earth] a waste, but formed it for habitation” [Ecclesiastes 11:6] and “Sow your seed in the morning [that is, in your youth], and do not hold back your hand in the evening [that is, in later years].” [Isaiah 45:18]. Yevamot 62b and Mishneh Torah, Laws of Marriage [Ishut] 15:16 encourage as many children as possible on the basis of Isaiah 45:18 and Ecclesiastes 11:6]. OXFORD 314
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GENESIS — 1:28 fertile

Sex has two goals, the pleasurable bonding of the couple and procreation. The Torah includes a number of sexual prohibitions regarding with whom one may have sex [for example, Leviticus 18, 20] and at what times during a woman's menstrual cycle [See Leviticus 15:19-32, esp. 19–24], but it also includes two positive commandments. One, the very first commandment mentioned in the Torah, is "Be fruitful and multiply" (Genesis 1:22,this verse). Although the command is given to both the first man and woman, and although both are clearly necessary to produce children, for exegetical and possibly for moral reasons the Rabbis of the Mishnah and Talmud asserted that only the man was obligated to fulfill this commandment. [Yevamot 65b; Kiddushin 35a; Laws of Marriage 15:2; Shulchan Aruch, Even Ha-Ezer 1:5].  Among the moral concerns were the facts that the man was going to have to support his children and so he had to be commanded to procreate against his economic self-interest, and that pregnancy endangers a woman and so it would not be fair to command her to have children.  In any case, this rabbinic decision has important consequences for the use of contraceptives, for it makes it much easier to allow women, who have no duty to procreate, to use them that it is to justify their use by men.  OXFORD 314
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GENESIS — 1:28 fertile

The Jewish people have been called the people of the book, but we are surely the people of the family.  One of the first mitzvoth in the Bible is that of “be fruitful and multiply,” thus clearly indicating the value placed upon having a family.  We began centuries ago as one family with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and have grown enormously over the centuries.  Through the many difficult and trying times during our history, strong family ties and a proliferation of children have always been important strategies for Jewish survival.  There are three partners in humans – the Holy Ones, the father, and the mother.  Kiddushin 30b.  ISAACS 123.
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GENESIS — 1:29 you

The Maharal (Judah ben Bezalel Low, ca. 1520-1609) provides the most explicit articulation of animals having an inherent value rooted in divine concern. “Everything, like grasses and fruits, were created for the sake of animals, which are flesh, for He gave them everything to eat, as the verse states, “I give you …” [this verse]. From this you see that everything else was created for the animals, while the animals were created in the world for their own sake” (Be’er Ha-Golah). OXFORD 424
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GENESIS — 2:7 living

Speech differentiates human beings from other living beings and, in the Jewish view, makes us similar to G-d. In the Torah, G-d is said to have carried out the work of creation through speech, and the Rabbis later describe the Divine creation as having taken place through “Ten Sayings” Ethics of the Fathers 5:1. The second creation narrative’s account that “man became a living being” after G-d blew into his nostrils [this verse] is rendered by the Aramaic Targum Onkelos as “and it [=G-d’s breath] was in [the first] man as a speaking spirit.” Human speech can be creative, like G-d’s; witness the Jewish legal recognition that through speech human beings can change –re-create—the statuses of people (e.g., through vows of Naziriteship), animals (e.g., through designation as sacrifices), or things (e.g., through designation as tzedakah, charity). Human speech can also be the equivalent of murder Baba Metzia 58b. Of human beings, then, it can justifiably be said that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” Proverbs 18:21 and that “When [the tongue] is good, there is nothing better; when bad, there is nothing worse” Leviticus Rabbah 33:1. OXFORD 433
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