Abstract

This paper develops the traditional Jewish understanding of justice (tzedakah) and support for the needy, especially as related to the provision of medical care. After an examination of justice in the Hebrew Bible, the values and institutions of tzedakah in Rabbinic Judaism are explored, with a focus on legal codes and enforceable obligations. A standard of societal responsibility to provide for the basic needs of all, with a special obligation to save lives, emerges. A Jewish view of justice in access to health care is developed on the basis of this general standard, as well as explicit discussion in legal sources. Society is responsible for the securing of access to all health care needed by any individual. Elucidation of this standard of need and corresponding societal obligations, and the significance of the Jewish model for the contemporary United States, are considered.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3249
Print ISSN
1054-6863
Pages
pp. 143-161
Launched on MUSE
2009-01-01
Open Access
No
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