Talmud -Justice and Ethics - Lesson 3
Wronging With Words  - Sandy Kress

 The Game Plan for Lesson 3

I. Re-cap and Introduction

II. Portion 1 - Mishnah reading. 

A. How do you think we get from the main topic of wronging in buying and selling to wronging with words? We'll look at Portion 2 to see how the sages explain the answer from the Bible.

B. Looking at each of the examples in the Mishnah of wronging with words, what's wrong with each? 

III. Read Portion 3. What's wrong with this speech? 

IV. Read Portion 4. What are the sages warning against here? What is it about the wrong that is proscribed here that makes faith in God crucial to avoiding the wrongdoing? 

V.  I will describe Portion 5 and ask this question: is wronging another person worse than wronging him/her as to money? Is this the flip side of a lesson we learned last week? How?

VI. Read Portion 6. (Shortened). The literary metaphor is superb. What's the serious problem with this use of words?

VII. Read Portion 7. There is clearly an older sense of gender roles here. But do you see what wronging with words can do to another person that makes the wrongdoer especially vulnerable to God's attention, concern, and reaction?

IX. Reflecting on Portion 7, we will read Portion 10. The sages are teaching here an example of the principle of hedging. Can you see how it plays out?

We will then read Portions 11 and 12 to see practical advice on how to prevent quarreling. How does this advice makes sense even in our own lives?

X. I will tell the story in Portions 13-18, teach a little about the context, point out the lessons of the first part, and ask a few questions about its ending:

A. While this story is commonly cited to teach a lesson about how religious decisions are made in "more modern" times, the placement of the story here suggests there are other important lessons. In Portion 15, what is Akiba worried about doing?

B. We see two different endings in Portions 17 and 18. What is the argument for the "happy" ending? What is the argument for the "sad" ending?

XI. Conclusion - I'll close by teaching the first words of the next Mishnah with a reflection on what they mean.

Talmud -Justice and Ethics     Wronging With Words

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