An Eye for $100, A Tooth for About Ten Bucks
Several interpretations of "an eye for an eye" all provide valuable insights into ethical lessons of the Torah.
By Rabbi Ben Lanckton
"If everyone lived by 'an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,' the world would be blind and toothless." --Tevye, Fiddler on the Roof
Tevye may not have realized it, but he summarized, very accurately, the Talmud
's understanding of "an eye for an eye," which first appears in this week's Torah portion, Mishpatim.
Last week, we heard Aseret Hadibrot, the Ten Commandments, the headlines of Jewish belief and ethics. Imposing and impressive, they convey moving moral messages. Yet they say little about the details of how to live an ethical Jewish life.
This week, the Torah turns its attention to the details of Jewish law and practice: "Mishpatim" = ordinances, rules, regulations. There are more specific mitzvot (commandments), more explicit commands, in this week's portion than in almost any other.
The abundance and variety of these mitzvot reinforce an ancient insight of Judaism: there is an innate connection between the ritual and the spiritual, between the ethical and the ethereal. In our portion, "mundane" matters of diet and farming mingle with "profound" issues of personal sacrifice and capital punishment. Every moment, mundane or profound, carries the potential for holiness.
The potential for holiness actualizes most acutely in matters of justice, deciding between right and wrong. In matters of personal injury, Mishpatim sets out one of the most (wrongly) infamous passages of the Hebrew Bible. Consider this oft-quoted phrase in its actual context:
(translation Everett Fox, The Five Books of Moses)
When two men scuffle and deal a blow to a pregnant woman, so that her children abort-forth, but other harm does not occur, he is to be fined, yes, fined, as the woman's spouse imposes for him, but he is to give it only according to the assessment.
But if harm should occur, then you are to give life in place of life--eye in place of eye, tooth in place of tooth, hand in place of hand, foot in place of foot, burnt-scar in place of burnt-scar, wound in place of wound, bruise in place of bruise . . . Click here to read the remainder of the article.
Rabbi Lanckton received his BA in Theater Studies and Philosophy from Yale College in 1990 and his rabbinic ordination, with a major in Talmud, from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1996. He served at two Jewish Community Centers and a Hillel Center before joining the Chaplaincy at MGH and beginning his time teaching at the Boston Synagogue.
For further insight on the parsha, please visit:
|May Their Memories Be For a Blessing
2/2/2013 (22 Shevat)
2/4/2013 (24 Shevat)
2/6/2013 (26 Shevat)
2/7/2013 (27 Shevat)
2/11/2013 (1 Adar)
Oscar Kuhn, Arnold Lada
2/12/2013 (2 Adar)
2/15/2013 (5 Adar)
Sylvia Cohen, Henrietta Hamburger
2/16/2013 (6 Adar)
Rose Lovinger Columbus,Gussie Friedman, Jack Gruber
2/18/2013 (8 Adar)
Wesley Brown, Marvin Rosen
2/19/2013 (9 Adar)
Max Silverstein, Sharon Florence Weisberg
2/20/2013 (10 Adar)
Nancy Fischer, Rhea Lazarus, Klara Stark
2/22/2013 (12 Adar)
Theodore Jacob Levine, Betty Margolis, Leah Yudell
2/23/2013 (13 Adar)
Gloria Braverman, Sol Reichberg Taub, Leo Weber
2/24/2013 (14 Adar)
Wolfe Brown, Esther Nusbaum
2/26/2013 (16 Adar)
2/27/2013 (17 Adar)
Ann Doneson, Maurice Katz, Esther Wolok
2/28/2013 (18 Adar)
Alan Breitman, Rose Lifshitz
To make a donation to commemorate a yahrtzeit, please click here. If you are a member of the synagogue and a yahrtzeit for your loved one is not on the list, please contact the synagogue office so the information can be added to our records.
Please contact the synagogue office if you wish to permanently memorialize a loved one by purchasing a yahrtzeit plaque.
B'nai Israel Synagogue
is affiliated with The
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.
Special Shabbat Study Sessions
February 9 and 16
TKA/BI Social Hall during Kiddush Lunch
Rabbi Berger will be continue his in-depth study of Rabbi Danny Nevins's recent teshuvah on the use of electricity on Shabbat. The class will meet during kiddush lunch in Room 2. Please
rsvp to the synagogue by e-mail
or phone (248-432-2729) to insure space. Please print and bring your own copy of the teshuvah, found here.
This Saturday Evening:
An Evening with Rabbi Ethan Tucker from
Mechon Hadar: "Can Judaism be Unethical?"
Saturday, February 9th, 8:30-10p.m
at the home of Susan Knoppow and David Saperstein
Please click here for event flyer.
Reservation required: email@example.com
Special Youth Activities: February 9th and 10th: Limo Scavenger Hunt and Sky Zone.
See Youth Activities section. below for details.
Shabbat Services: Mishpatim
Friday, February 8th
6 p.m. Services, Chapel
Saturday, February 9th
9 a.m. Services, Sanctuary
Kiddush Lunch is sponsored by the Kiddush Lunch Fund.
Kiddush Lunch is available through the generosity of weekly sponsors. Please e-mail or call Mindy Shuback (248) 752-6046 or call the synagogue office if you would like to sponsor a kiddush lunch. You may also make a donation to the synagogue specifically for the Kiddush Lunch Fund by clicking here.
with Dr. Mitch Parker
This class is held on Shabbat mornings in the lower level, Room 9.
February 9 and February 23, 10 a.m.
Upcoming Youth and Family Activities
THIS WEEKEND: TWO GREAT EVENTS FOR YOUTH!
MCUSY Limo Scavenger Hunt
Saturday, February 9th, 7:30-10:30 p.m.
Drop off and Pick up at Adat Shalom Synagogue
$25.00 Contact Ilana Wolf to rsvp: 248-207-0364
B'nai Israel Synagogue Kadima (grades 6-8)
February 10th, 1-2:30 SkyZone
Ultimate trampoline park!
Unmatched, out of this world high flying fun, wall-to-wall trampolines for free jump and sports play courts!
for more information.
Upcoming Youth Services
Supervised Youth Activities, Room 3, lower level
February 16 (special program), February 23
To stay current on all youth and family activities, contact Ilana Glazier to join the B'nai Israel Families Facebook Group.
|Upcoming Community Events
TKA/BI Joint Opportunities
BOOK CLUB (Adults)
Book Club meets on the third Sunday of every month. All are welcome.
Sunday, February 17th Gossip: The Untrivial Pursuit by Joseph Epstein (non-fiction)
Sunday, March 17th: The Invisible Bridge
by Jullie Orringer (fiction)
Sunday, April 21st: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (memoir)
TKA Sisterhood Day of Beauty:
February 10th, 12p.m.-3p.m.
$25.00 includes lunch and beauty consult.
RSVP by February 1st to Connie Silver: 248-851-2149 or
LEARNING OPPORTUNITY WITH PROFESSOR HOWARD LUPOVITCH: "One Book, Three Traditions- Jewish, Christian and Muslim Views of the Bible."
4 Wednesdays in February: 6, 13, 20 and 27.
7:30 p.m., Congregation Beth Ahm, $5.00/session
February 6: Abraham, Ishmael, David: Bearers of the Covenant. (available on recording)
February 13: Moses and Elijah: Conduits of the Divine
February 20: Miriam and Esther: Women as Heroes and Leaders
February 27: Roundtable discussion: The Bible as a Foundation Stone
KNITTING has returned!
Not a knitter? All stitchers are welcome. Bring your needlepoint, crochet hook or cross stitch and join the group. There is no charge to attend.
7 PM at the TKA/BI building.
FUTURE DATES: 2/13, 3/13, 4/24/ 5/21, 6/10
Just drop-in! No registration required. For more information, e-mail Gail Raben.
81st INTER-CONGREGATIONAL MEN'S CLUB DINNER
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
6 p.m., Temple Israel. Click here for complete program information and downloadable reservation form.
Dietary laws observed.
Monday and Thursday mornings, 7:00 a.m.
Rosh Chodesh mornings, 7:00 a.m.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, 7:15 a.m.
Monday-Friday evenings, 6 p.m.
Sunday Morning, 8:30 a.m.
Sunday evenings, 5 p.m.
Legal Holidays, 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Caring Community Information
Our caring community reaches out to one another in a variety of ways. We welcome our new members warmly with a special visit and gift. We provide shiva minyan leaders. We call/visit/provide meals for members who are ill or home-bound, bring a home-cooked shiva meal to mourners in our community, and help to drive members who need a ride to synagogue services and events. If you would like to help in any way, please call or e-mail the synagogue.
Refuah Sh'leimah/Wishing a Speedy Recovery
Please e-mail the synagogue office or contact the synagogue: 248-432-2729, if you have a name that needs to be placed on the mishebeirach list or needs to be removed from the list.
2 Hanna Berlin
4 Murray Baruch
7 Jeremy Pappas
12 Constance Victor
14 Jeffrey Eisman
14 Rebecca Tron
16 Benjamin Eisman
16 Brian Newhouse
16 Miriam Saperstein
17 Michael Golob
20 Colton Graub
22 Seymour Manello
25 Toby Chudnow
25 Sheila Kurland
25 Sharon Rosen
26 Aaron Orel
If your birthday or anniversary information is not listed, please email the synagogue so it can be added to our records.
To make a donation to the synagogue click here.