As we round the corner into May, a few weeks before standing at Sinai on Shavuot (Sunday night, May 16), I would love to teach a special session this coming Sunday morning, May 2, from 10 to 11, on the question of the place of our own moral intuition when learning Torah.
Case in point: The shocking passage
which calls for parents to have their own son stoned to death in the town square. In Hebrew this is called bein sorer u’moreh, the case of the wayward and defiant son.
If a man has a wayward and defiant son, who does not heed his father or mother and does not obey them even after they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his town at the public place of his community. They shall say to the elders of his town, ‘This son of ours is disloyal and defiant; he does not heed us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Thereupon the men of his town shall stone him to death. Thus you will sweep out evil from your midst: all Israel will hear and be afraid. Deuteronomy 21:18-21.
This passage also came to the Jewish people at Sinai. Can we call it immoral? Can we say that whatever reason the Torah included it at the time, it does not comport with the morality of our time?
The arguments for declaring this terrifying passage immoral are obvious. What are the arguments against declaring it immoral?
By the way, the Talmud, which gets the immorality, refuses to condemn it as immoral. Why is that? And what does this discussion have to do with us and our world now?
The answer is everything!
Our special learning session this coming Sunday is part of TE Connects.
We are looking to recruit folks who want to join small learning groups. We now have twelve small learning groups who are meeting regularly to learn Torah, and we are only getting started.
See you this Sunday at 10!