In this Book

For the Love of God and People
summary
Every generation of Jews in every denomination of Judaism finds itself facing complex legal questions. The status of same-sex unions and the plight of the agunah (a woman who cannot obtain a divorce), are just two of a myriad of thorny questions Jewish legal experts grapple with today. These are not esoteric problems but issues with a profound impact on the daily happiness of countless people. How do the rabbis who draft responses to these questions reach their conclusions? What informs their decisions and their approach to Jewish law? Acclaimed writer and legal expert Elliot Dorff addresses these and other questions in this intelligent, accessible guide to the philosophy behind Jewish law. In his view, Jewish law is an expression of the love we have for God and for our fellow human beings. This theme permeates his discussion of important aspects of the law. For example, what motivates modern Jews to follow Jewish law? How does Jewish law strike the balance between continuity and change? On what grounds and under what circumstances do human beings have the authority to interpret or even change God's laws? Dorff also offers a systematic comparison of Jewish law and U.S. law, based on his course on this subject at UCLA School of Law. Whether you are a lawyer or simply interested in the philosophy behind recent rabbinic decisions, this is a book that will deepen your understanding of the Jewish legal system and its role in the modern world.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright Page
  2. pp. iii-iv
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. ix-xi
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. xiii-xviii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xix-xx
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  1. Part I: Foundations
  2. p. 1
  1. Chapter One: Bringing the Topic Down to Earth
  2. pp. 3-42
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  1. Part II: The Core Concepts of My Theory of Jewish Law
  2. p. 43
  1. Chapter Two: The Body of Jewish Law: How It Resembles Other Legal Systems
  2. pp. 45-85
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  1. Chapter Three: The Covenantal Soul of Jewish Law: How Jewish Law Is Unique
  2. pp. 87-128
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  1. Part III: Implications of My Theory for Key Aspects of Jewish Law
  2. p. 129
  1. Chapter Four: Motivations to Live by Jewish Law
  2. pp. 131-188
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  1. Chapter Five: Continuity and Change in Jewish Law
  2. pp. 189-210
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  1. Chapter Six: The Relationship of Jewish Law to Morality and Theology
  2. pp. 211-243
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  1. Chapter Seven: Jewish Law and Custom
  2. pp. 245-274
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  1. Part IV: Explaining My Theory through Comparisons and Applications
  2. p. 275
  1. Chapter Eight: Comparisons to the Right and the Left
  2. pp. 277-281
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  1. Chapter Nine: Applications of My Theory of Jewish Law to Specific Cases
  2. pp. 283-297
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  1. Bibliography of Modern Sources
  2. pp. 299-310
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 311-326
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