December 25th, 2019

Winter Day of Learning

Wednesday, December 25, 2019
This event has passed.


10:00 AM – 12:00PM  Dr. Daniel Rynhold
Is it Wrong to be Ethical?  Ethics, Halakhah, and Philosophy of Law

It’s clear on the one hand that Judaism requires ethical behavior of us. But does it require such behavior because it is ethical? Or is it required for legal reasons that have little to do with ethics? Might it even be religiously wrong for us to behave ethically on the basis of ethical reasoning? In this session we will explore the nexus between Judaism and ethics and some of the very different attitudes towards the relationship between them.

1:00 PM – 2:25 PM  Sarah Zager
Water Wears Away Stone How Halakhah Shapes Us as Ethical Agents

In this shiur we’ll explore how living within a halakhic framework can shape who we are as ethical agents. Can practicing halakhah make us more thoughtful, more caring, or more committed moral actors? What parts of our  practices help or hinder this kind of ethical work? What do our communities need to look like for halakhah to not only guide our ethical conduct but also shape us as people? To address these questions, we’ll consider philosophical approaches to the meaning of the mitzvot of tefflin and mezuzah drawn from sources ranging from the Rambam to contemporary Jewish feminist thought.

2:35 PM – 4:00 PM Rabbi Shlomo Zuckier
Ve-Asita ha-Yashar ve-HaTov   Halakha and Ethics in the Talmud and Today

What position does the category of ethics inhabit in Judaism? Is it part of Halacha? Does it exist somehow outside Halacha? Can it be rejected? We will analyze this question from several vantage points, focusing both on several Talmudic passages and on several contemporary approaches to the topic, most extensively that of Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein. 

Location: Lincoln Square Synagogue
180 Amsterdam Avenue, New York 10023

About the Speakers

Dr. Daniel Rynhold

Daniel Rynhold is Professor of Jewish philosophy at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, Yeshiva University. He arrived in the US from London, England, in August 2007. Educated at the universities of Cambridge and London, Daniel has previously held posts in the department of theology and religious studies at King’s College London and the London School of Jewish Studies. He has taught across Europe, the US, and Israel, and is the author of Two Models of Jewish Philosophy: Justifying One’s Practices (Oxford University Press, 2005), An Introduction to Medieval Jewish Philosophy (I.B. Tauris, 2009), and most recently Nietzsche, Soloveitchik, and Contemporary Jewish Philosophy (Cambridge University Press, 2018) co-authored with Michael J. Harris. He also co-edited Radical Responsibility: Essays in Ethics, Religion, and Leadership Presented to Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks (Maggid Books, 2012).

Sarah Zager

Sarah Zager is a doctoral candidate in Religious Studies and Philosophy at Yale University, where her research focuses on the influence of Judaism and Christianity on moral philosophy. Originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Sarah earned an MA in Religion from the University of Chicago Divinity School and a BA from Williams College. She is currently a David Hartman Center Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. She was also a receipt of the Cardozo Law school’s Jewish Law and Legal Theory graduate fellowship, and has learned at Yeshivat Hadar. She has written for The Lehrhaus, JewSchool, the Journal of Jewish Ethics, and the Journal of Religion.

Rabbi Shlomo Zuckier

Shlomo Zuckier teaches in the Dr. Beth Samuels High School Program and the Drisha Summer Kollel. He is a PhD candidate in Ancient Judaism at Yale University, a member of Yeshiva University’s Kollel Elyon, and is teaching this year at Yale Divinity School and Yeshiva University. Previously he served as Director of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus at Yale University. Shlomo is an alumnus of Yeshivat Har Etzion and Yeshiva University (BA, MA, Semihah), as well as of the Wexner, Tikvah, and Kupietzky Kodshim Fellowships. He has lectured and taught widely across North America, and is excited to share Torah and Jewish scholarship on a broad range of issues. A Founder of The Lehrhaus, Shlomo serves on the Editorial Committee of Tradition and has edited two books on contemporary Jewish thought.