“It Came About by an Act of God”: On Murder and Penance in Medieval Ashkenaz
The biblical story of creation concludes with the birth of the first human being, who is distinct from the environment and obligated to it, different from all the other creatures but also involved with them and responsible for them. The Torah, in its various parts, examines the challenges humankind faces in taking its place among the other creatures and its success in meeting those challenges. It deals with the relationship of those created in the image of God to each other and also to the world they have inherited and which they will bequeath to their offspring.
The 2016-2017 (5777) series of Opening the Week will explore the relations between humans and the physical environment, animals, and the people surrounding them as portrayed in the Book of Books. We will examine the place of people in relation to other creatures, their influence on the environment, and the relations between neighbors—in frameworks that are local or global, ideological or religious—with an emphasis on human rights and liberties and their limits.