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By Louis Jacobs

This learn demonstrates that, for the entire admitted emphasis on peoplehood within the Jewish spiritual culture, there are both powerful individualistic developments inside of Judaism. Dr. Jacobs keeps that during any balanced view of Judaism it has to be proven that what the person does along with his existence has everlasting value for that very same person, not just for the Jewish humans as an entire. via a cautious research of the first texts, Jacobs conducts a radical survey of a few of an important circumstances the place the person is mentioned within the Jewish spiritual culture. In so doing, his goal isn't really to raise individualism on the price of the Jewish neighborhood, yet quite to teach that Judaism pivots centrally neither at the humans nor at the person, yet rests, fairly, on either; and his competition, ultimately, is that every has to be taken both under consideration if a balanced opinion of either is to be shaped.

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It is said that the case came before the fourth-century Babylonian teacher, Rava, who said to the man ordered to commit the murder, ' Allow yourself to be killed and do not commit murder. How do you know that your blood is redder? ' The great French Commentator, to the passage, Rashi, explains it in this way. While a man may commit a sin or a crime in order to save his life, the crime of murder must be an exception to the rule since this crime involves the taking of life. It is more important to live than to die through refusing to commit a sin.

24 The prayer for the congregation in the traditional prayer book25 reads: May He who blessed our fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, bless all this holy congregation, together with all other holy congregations: them, their wives, their sons and daughters, and all that belong to them; those also who establish synagogues for prayer, and those who enter therein to pray; those who give the lamps for lighting, wine for Kiddush and Habdalah, bread to the wayfarers, and charity to the poor, and all such as occupy themselves in faithfulness with the wants of the congregation.

Would not this result in greater purity of thought and more intense concentration? The sage, in reply, lists the advantages of communal prayer. An individual, praying on his own, may pray for harm to come to others but a community will never pray for harm to come to one of its members. Furthermore, an individual may make mistakes in his mouthing of the prayers but when people pray together they make up for one another's shortcomings. The idea, mentioned by Maimonides and implied by Halevi, that the sinners in a congregation are assisted by the prayers of the righteous, is found in the Talmud but there it is further said that in times of distress, such as when the community is praying for rain on a public fast day, it is essential to have the sinners as members of the community.

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