By Jonathan Wyn Schofer

Whereas providing their moral classes, rabbinic texts usually hire bright pictures of demise, getting older, starvation, defecation, persecution, and drought. In Confronting Vulnerability, Jonathan Wyn Schofer conscientiously examines those texts to determine why their creators notion that human vulnerability used to be one of these the most important device for teaching scholars within the improvement of exemplary behavior.These rabbinic texts uphold virtues similar to knowledge and compassion, propound excellent methods of responding to others in want, and describe the main points of etiquette. Schofer demonstrates that those pedagogical pursuits have been completed via reminders that one’s time in the world is proscribed and that God is the final word grasp of the realm. cognizance of loss of life and of divine accounting advisor scholars to stay larger lives within the current. Schofer’s research teaches us a lot approximately rabbinic pedagogy in past due antiquity and likewise offers concept for college students of latest ethics. regardless of their cultural distance, those rabbinic texts problem us to improve theories and practices that correctly handle our frailties instead of denying them.

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Extra resources for Confronting Vulnerability: The Body and the Divine in Rabbinic Ethics

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Sota 18a to m. Sota 2:2; Tanhuma Hayye Sarah 7 to Gen. 25:1; Midrash Zuta to Eccles. 12; Yalqut Shimoni to Eccles. 12; and MS Vatican 44 of Rabbi Nathan A in Schechter and Kister, Aboth de Rabbi Nathan, 160–161, and H. J. Becker, Avot de-Rabbi Natan, 303. Mordecai Margulies lists many of these and other parallels, and he argues that Leviticus Rabbah presents an earlier version than Ecclesiastes Rabbah: Margulies, Midrash Wayyikra Rabbah, 389–400. The commentary to Ecclesiastes 12:1–7 is followed by Rabbi Eliezer’s maxim in Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 151b–153a.

Far things have become near: these are the eyes, which used to see from afar, now even up close they cannot see. Near things have become far: these are the ears, which used to hear at one or two times, and even at one hundred times they do not hear. Two have become three: a walking stick and the two legs. That which brings peace at home has faded: this is desire that brings peace between a husband and his wife. This story develops two themes that appeared in the anecdotes of the old man (sava ).

J. Becker, Avot de-Rabbi Natan, 152–153). See also Fonrobert, “The Weeping Rabbi,” 64–69. 29. The idea that leprosy is a punishment for sin is prevalent in rabbinic sources starting in the tannaitic period; Klawans, Impurity and Sin in Ancient Judaism, 98–104. Aging and Death / 43 One can speak of aging as the stretch of time in which we meet with the thought of death. For the young man—and we limit being young no more precisely than we specify the point at which a human being becomes aware of his aging—death is of no concern, even if he already has to bury close relatives.

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