The Torah is Judaism’s principle text and can refer to the entirety of Jewish law or specifically to the five books which comprise of the beginning of the Hebrew Bible. Beyond the stories and traditions contained therein, the Torah teaches key values, morality, and the tenets of good character. Rabbi Leib Tropper has been researching the Torah and the lessons it teaches since his childhood.
Q. What are some concepts regarding ethics and morality that the Torah teaches?
A. If one follows the teachings of the Torah they are choosing to adhere to a set of ethics that transcend one’s own limited vision. The Torah teaches us to consider the benefits of a healthy society, not just a healthy home. For example, instead of ensuring we do not harm others with our actions, the Torah promotes that we take an active role in the well-being of those around us. This participation is key to the prosperity of a society and not just the individual.
Q. What are some teachings of the Torah that call upon Jewish people to actively benefit society?
A. Depending on where you find the translation, the wording may differ, but here are a few regarding the aid of a perceived enemy: “If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help him with it,” and “”If you come upon your enemy’s ox or donkey that has strayed away, take it back to its owner.”
About the author: Rabbi Leib Tropper, of Monsey, New York, has been studying the Jewish faith and the Torah nearly his entire life. He is involved in the Character First project, which promotes good character in young people.