Monday, August 8, 2022

Judaism on One Leg- Bein Adam l'Chavero-Between Human and Human


 Aug 6 2022


 For access to the video:

The metaphor of the 10 Commandments:

The rules Bein Adam Lamakom Between Human and the Eternal One - all arrayed on one side. Beyn Adam Lechavero- Between Human and Human--all arrayed on the other side.) Honoring Parents-is on the God side)

Here is Charleton Heston, AKA Moses, holding the 10 Commandments. (Note the use of the ancient Israelite script.) On his left arm, the commandments "Bein Adam La Makom"- Between Human and Divine-and on the right arm, the commandments " Bein Adam L'Chavero"-Between Human and Human( his companion}.50-50 split in obligations ( but actually 60-40 human/divine as the command to honor parents is on the divinity side!)



Old Rabbinic Premise:

Derech Eretz Kadmah Latorah-

Literally- The Way of the World Predates the Torah.

As understood- Derech Eretz, the actual workings of daily life, of producing our needs, and of working with fellow human beings is a prerequisite to religion or Torah.

Derech Eretz-Productive Labor—B zeat apecha= by the sweat of your brow.

Derech Eretz- Proper behavior towards one’s fellow.


אמר רבי ישמעאל בר רב נחמן: עשרים וששה דורות קדמה דרך ארץ את התורה, הדא הוא דכתיב (=זהו שכתוב) "לשמֹר את דרך עץ החיים"[2]. "דרך" - זו דרך ארץ ואחר כך "עץ החיים" - זו תורה.

— מדרש רבה ויקרא פרשה ט', פסקה ג', וכן פרשה ל"ה, פסקה ו'

R. Ishamel b Nachman: 26 generations proceed with the actions of Derech Ertez before the giving of the Torah, == it is based on a play of the story of the exit from Eden, the Angel guards the way (derech) to “ etz HaChayim( Tree of life-Torah). Thus,”derech”( work/human relations) precedes Etz Chayim- Torah.

 PS This is a rabbinic negation of teh concept" The way of the world is too much withus."

Numerous Rabbinic dicta in this same vein:

Hillel- Kol HaTorah al Regel Achat-


That which is hateful to you do not do to another; that is the entire Torah, and the rest is its interpretation. Go study.

דעלך סני לחברך לא תעביד. זו היא כל התורה כולה, ואידך פירושה הואץ זיל גמור.

This is negative phrasing of the Golden Rule attributed to Jesus in Christian scriptures. Both formulas exist in earlier Jewish sources.


Similarly- Rabbi Akiba is asked=klal Gadol batorah:

ספרא ב׳:ט״ז:י״א

"וְאָֽהַבְתָּ֥ לְרֵעֲךָ֖ כָּמ֑וֹךָ אֲנִ֖י יי." ר' עקיבא אומר זה כלל גדול בתורה.

Rabbi Akiba States: The Great Prinicpal of the Torah is : Love Your Neighbor as Yourself.

Note-Also, in Christian Scriptures, together with “ V’ahavta”,( Mark 12) attributed to a question by a Scribe/teacher, but in another version,( Luke 10) he asks a scholar of the law what it is, and he states it to Jesus.

Similar position in the Talmud-what was actually commanded to us at Sinai:

How many commandments do we have?Talmud Makkot 23b

[THEREFORE GAVE HE THEM TORAH (TEACHINGS) AND MANY COMMANDMENTS . . . ] R. Simlai when preaching said: Six hundred and thirteen precepts were communicated to Moses, three hundred and sixty-five negative precepts, corresponding to the number of solar days [in the year], and two hundred and forty-eight positive precepts, corresponding to the number of the members of man's body …


David came and reduced them to eleven [principles], as it is written, A Psalm of David(15). Lord, who shall sojourn in Thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in Thy holy mountain? — [i] He that walketh uprightly, and [ii] worketh righteousness, and [iii] speaketh truth in his heart; that [iv] hath no slander upon his tongue, [v] nor doeth evil to his fellow, [vi] nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour, [vii] in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but [viii] he honoureth them that fear the Lord, [ix] He sweareth to his own hurt and changeth not, [x] He putteth not out his money on interest, [xi] nor taketh a bribe against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved. ‘

Isaiah came and reduced them to six [principles], as it is written(33:15), [i] He that walketh righteously, and [ii] speaketh uprightly, [iii] He that despiseth the gain of oppressions, [iv] that shaketh his hand from holding of bribes, [v] that stoppeth his ear from hearing of blood, [vi] and shutteth his eyes from looking upon evil; he shall dwell on high”

Micah came and reduced them to three [principles],(6:8) as it is written, It hath been told thee, O man, what is good, and what the Lord doth require of thee: [i] only to do justly, and [ii] to love mercy and [iii] to walk humbly before thy God.

Again came Isaiah (56:1) and reduced them to two [principles], as it is said, Thus saith the Lord, [i] Keep ye justice and [ii] do righteousness [etc.]

Amos came and reduced them to one [principle], (5:4) as it is said, For thus saith the Lord unto the house of Israel, Seek ye Me and live… But it is Habakuk who came and based them all on one [principle], as it is said, But the righteous shall live by his faith.(2:4)

Better: But the righteous man is rewarded with life
For his fidelity. [ Luther founded Protestant Reformation on this verse, basing on Emunah-faith-not Hebrew-loyalty (per Buber :
Jewish faith -Hebrew Emunah-and Christian belief -Greek Pistis]


What is our largest source text:

The same source as “ Love Your Neighbor”-Lev 19-The Holiness Code.

for text

all highlighted” I am the Lord”


The obligation to be walk in God’s path: walking in all His ways” (Deuteronomy 11:22).

כִּי֩ אִם־שָׁמֹ֨ר תִּשְׁמְר֜וּן אֶת־כׇּל־הַמִּצְוָ֣ה הַזֹּ֗את אֲשֶׁ֧ר אָנֹכִ֛י מְצַוֶּ֥ה אֶתְכֶ֖ם לַעֲשֹׂתָ֑הּ לְאַהֲבָ֞ה אֶת־יְהֹוָ֧ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֛ם לָלֶ֥כֶת בְּכׇל־

 דְּרָכָ֖יו וּלְדׇבְקָה־בֽוֹ׃ If, then, you faithfully keep all this Instruction that I command you, loving your God יהוה, walking in all God’s ways, and holding fast to [God],



How it is possible to walk “in all His ways”: “As He is merciful and gracious, so be you merciful and gracious. As He is righteous so be you righteous. As He is holy, strive to be holy” (Sifre Deuteronomy 85a).


(Devarim 11:22) "to walk in His ways": Which are the ways of the Holy One Blessed be He? (Shemoth 34:6-7) "The L-rd, the L-rd, G-d of mercy and grace, slow to wrath and abundant in mercy and truth, keeping lovingkindness for thousands, forgiving transgression, offense, and sin, and cleansing …" And it is written (Yoel 3:5) "All who will be called by the name of the L-rd will escape": Now how is it possible for a man to be called by the name of the Holy One Blessed be He? But, (the intent is) just as the L-rd is called "merciful and gracious," you, too, be merciful and gracious, and give gratuitously to all. Just as the Holy One Blessed be He is called "righteous," viz. (Psalms 145:17) "Righteous is the L-rd in all His ways and saintly in all His acts" — you, too, be righteous. Just as the Holy One Blessed be He is called "saintly," — you, too, be saintly.


Critical distinction- We are not a religion of generalities- general guidelines are only that-

We ask for concrete application.


Hence- text of Bible- has specific guidelines for just functioning of society—

Exodus: mishpatim .


Shoftim-Establishment of judicial authority

Limits on the power of the powerful:

Equal justice law—in civil and criminal cases-

Limits on power of King-


Theme continues into Mishnah and followed through in Talmud:

Seder Nezikin(Damages)

Bava Kamma

Liability and compensation for damages inflicted on people or property.

Bava Metzia

Disputed property, returning lost objects, guarding, renting, borrowing, and responsibilities of workers and employers.

Bava Batra

Relationships between neighbors, land ownership, sales, and inheritance.


The judicial system, forming the court, accepting testimony, and executing capital punishment.


Court-administered lashing, false witnesses, and cities of refuge for inadvertent murderers.


Oaths and the process of atoning for entering the Temple or eating from a sacrifice while impure.


The only tractate without a unified subject, organized as collections of laws on various topics.

Avodah Zarah

Disassociating from idolatry, regulations on business interactions between Jews and idolaters.

Pirkei Avot

Short statements of advice, ethics, and wisdom.


Atoning for erroneous rulings of the court and inadvertent sins of leaders.


And on to Mishneh Torah of Rambam- Extensive on all areas of jurisprudence, civil, criminal, and political.

Shulkhan Arukh- 2 of 4 are interpersonal and social,

Orach Chayim

Daily ritual observance: prayer, Tefillin, Tzitzit, Shabbat, and holidays.

Yoreh De'ah

Ritual slaughter, kashrut, conversion, mourning, niddah, tzedakah, and laws applicable in Israel.

Even HaEzer

Family law: marriage, divorce, sexual conduct.

Choshen Mishpat

Interpersonal laws; financial disputes, damages, courts, and witnesses.


Into the modern State of Israel-

I worked for a short while with the Deputy Attorney General of Israel, Prof Nachum Rakover, whose task was to find precedent in Jewish law for contemporary civil issues. Objective was to find precedent in Jewish law(Mishpat Ivri- Hebrew Jurisprudence, to distinguish from Halakhah)


Example of his work. You can easily see how many contemporary issues were addressed by the sages centuries and centuries ago.









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