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Course Overview

Beyond Right: The Values that Shape Judaism's Civil Code

Talmudic analysis and mind-bending logic have long been a hallmark of Jewish scholarship. But buried beneath much of the discussion and legalese are core Jewish values that fuel so much of the debate. This course examines a number of key legal issues that disclose fundamental ethical considerations that serve as the engine of Jewish civil law.

Lesson Outline

Lesson 1
Beyond Good Neighbors 

Most laws are designed to protect the rights of people and their property. But Judaism's civil code is driven by a different goal. Explore how laws of damages and disputes support a uniquely Jewish view of the human mission.

Lesson 2
Beyond Restitution 

In seeking to restore the rights of plaintiffs, Jewish courts actively assist offenders in achieving full repentance too. Why? Discover the advantage of properly undoing damage over mere compensation.

Lesson 3
Beyond Taking Offense 

You may feel a moral urge to speak up against an offensive action. But might you have a legal responsibility to deter someone from certain behaviors? Judaism says: Yes. In this lesson, we discuss why and when.

Lesson 4
Beyond Personal Freedom 

With 613 commandments in the Torah and myriad rules expounded in the Talmud, can Judaism ever be called "liberating"? Let's delve into the Exodus, the covenant, and the ways in which laws can lead to the purest human freedom.

Lesson 5
Beyond Lawful Ownership 

Is the claim of ownership anything more than a subjective social agreement? A foundation of Chassidic thought is that material possessions contain spiritual energy that is specific to their owners. Let's consider the owner's rights and responsibilities through this lens.

Lesson 6
Beyond Presumption of Innocence

While a presumption of innocence can protect defendants from liability, it is not quite a declaration of uprightness. Jewish law goes so far as to presume every person's core goodness. See how this view can lead us to a truly upright world.