Orthodox Judaism & Human Dignity

From Marc Shapiro: R. Ahron Soloveichik wrote:
“Every human being, regardless of religion, race, origin, or creed, is endowed with divine dignity. Consequently all people are to be treated with equal respect and dignity.
Anyone who fails to apply a uniform standard of mishpat, justice, tzedek, righteousness, to all human beings regardless of origin, color or creed is deemed barbaric.
People who refuse to grant any human being the same respect that they offer to their own race or nationality are adopting a barbaric attitude.”
The quotations all come from R. Soloveichik’s Logic of the Heart, Logic of the Mind (Jerusalem, 1991), and are discussed in Meir Soloveichik’s recent essay, “Founding Brothers”: The Rav, Rav Ahron, and the American Idea,” in Soloveichik, et al., eds., Torah and Western Thought: Intellectual Portraits of Orthodoxy and Modernity (New Milford, CT, 2015), pp. 96ff.

As long ago as 1819, Leopold Zunz wrote about “the persistent delusion, contrary to law, that it is permissible to cheat non-Jews.” See Amos Elon, The Pity of It All: A Portrait of the Germany-Jewish Epoch, 1743-1933 (New York, 2002), p. 113. In an earlier post here I wrote:
Isn’t all the stress on following dina de-malchuta revealing? Why can’t people simply be told to do the right thing because it is the right thing? Why does it have to be anchored in halakhah, and especially in dina de-malchuta? Once this sort of thing becomes a requirement because of halakhah, instead of arising from basic ethics, then there are 101 loopholes that people can find, and all sorts of heterim.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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