Talmud and Ethics
Lesson 5 Game Plan

 Game Plan:  The Administration of Justice. 

I. Re-cap and Introduction

II. Read Portion 1. Why does the court meet in a semi-circle? How do you explain the two versions of the clerks? What do you make of the presence of students in the court?

III. Read Portion 2. We'll note first that the Gemara goes to the Song of Songs to get an understanding of the Court. Wow! How do you react to that, the resort to an "erotic" story, to explain the role of a key institution in the justice process?

After a lesson or two in the Hebrew, we'll explore the use of the metaphors - navel, goblet, round, and full of drink.

IV. Read Portion 3. We go deeper into the verse in Song of Songs, and we'll consider the many possible meanings of the metaphors of "belly like a heap of wheat" and "hedged with roses."

V. Read Portions 4 and 5. We'll explore what a Min is. Then we'll look at what he says, why, and what it means to us. What does Kahana say in response, and what does that mean to us?

VI. Read Portion 6. Resh Lakish refers to another verse in Song of Songs to continue the discussion. This gets a bit complicated.

First, we'll talk about what a pomegranate represents.

Then, based on a possible double meaning of a Hebrew word, we'll look at the several remarkable ways in which this verse teaches us about the importance of justice and its  proper administration.

VII. Read Portion 7. I'll explain the verse that's referenced and a little bit about the story of Zera. We're now "underneath the law," indeed at a bit of the climax of our study. What is its really important and beautiful lesson?

VIII. Read Portion 8. We return from our wonderful journey back to the subject of the Mishnah. What does this conclusion mean to you?

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