Talmud From the Balcony: Rabbinic Perspectives on Perennial Human Questions

Social scientists describe the difference between being “on the balcony” and being on the “dance floor.” Those who are on the dance floor are often following the steps but are not able to see the bigger picture like those standing on the balcony watching the dance from above. Talmud from the Balcony helps the learner “get on the balcony” to understand what big questions and issues the rabbis are trying to address through the various dance steps of their legal discussions. In this segment, we will study the sugya (Talmudic section) regarding the rabbinic concept of “Laws of Heaven.” There are instances in which the rabbis describe that while someone is exempt from payment or punishment from a human court, they remain liable “according to the Laws of Heaven.” What does this concept say about the ability of law to regulate human morality? About the place of integrity in the legal system? About the relationship between God and integrity in rabbinic thought?

Ideas, Text Study


Elana Stein Hain

Shalom Hartman Institute

Scholar in Residence & Director of Faculty