This special selection of sources and questions for study and research into ethics is compiled from Hartman Institute courses and lectures in recent years
Ethics and Halakha: Lifnim Mishurat HaDin
JT Tractate Baba Metziah Chapter 2
Rambam, Hilkhot Avadim 9:8
Ramban on Deuteronomy 6:18
Babylonian Talmud Tractate Sanhedrin 71a
1. Read the Jerusalem Talmud Baba Metziah Chapter 2:
a. What problem arises from the discovery of the stone on the donkey?
b. What does the intermediate statement attributed to Rav teach about stealing the property of the non-Jew?
c. According to this text, what does it mean to be a "barbarian"?
d. What does Shimon ben Shetach’s model teach about the relationship between ethics and Jewish law?
2. Read the Rambam Hilkhot Avadim 9:8:
a. How does Maimonides frame the relationship between piety, wisdom and justice in the context of the ethical treatment of slaves?
b. How does Maimonides understand the similarity of the owner and the servant in the context of the proof-text from the Book of Job?
c. According to Maimonides what is a foundational characteristic of the Israelites? Who teaches it and how?
3. Read the Ramban commentary on Deuteronomy 6:18:
a. How does the Ramban understand the Biblical statement "do that which is right and good"?
b. On page 18, the Ramban cites a Midrash in which the rabbis said "That which is ‘right and good’ refers to a compromise and going beyond the requirement of the letter of the law." How does the Ramban understand the intent of this teaching?
c. How does the Ramban radically expand the application of the verse?
The Holy and the Ethical
Ramban on Leviticus 19:2
Ramban on Deuternomy 6:18
Religion & the Ethical