Talmud and Ethics Lesson 6 Game Plan
Justice in a Complex World

Talmud and Ethics Lesson 6 Game Plan

I. Re-cap and Introduction

II. Read Portion 1. What is the teaching in this first segment of the Mishnah?

III. I'll discuss Portion 2. Complexity begins to appear. We'll discuss it. And then we'll note what seems to be a touch of humor about the complexity in the first sentence of the Gemara, Portion 3.

IV. Read Portion 4. There's a value here that echoes a sense of virtue in Portion 2. Can you identify it?

V. Read Portion 5. Resh Lakish continues looking at working hours issues. But it becomes clear the Gemara is now concerned with a new, serious problem that puts into question the traditional rule. What is the problem? Why is it a problem?

VI. Read Portion 6. Here we get a sense of "the new world." Can you describe some of its features and challenges?

VII. Read Portion 7. We're introduced here to the "main character" in the narrative.

A. What challenge is R. Elazar trying to overcome in his advice to the police official?

B. His approach impresses the King. But when the King calls upon R. Elazar for help, Elazar's peers react very harshly. Why?

C. How does R. Elazar react back? Then what's the response back to him?

D. What are the huge problems here that the Mishnah didn't seem to anticipate? In dealing with these problems, does either side appear to be more right than the other? Why? What's the just approach now?

VIII. As a sort of Coda, I will tell a brief, but incredibly fascinating account of the rest of R. Elazar's life, and we'll examine how it informs our understanding of the crucial  issues we face in the lesson.

Conclusion - I'd like to reserve 10 minutes for folks to be able to highlight the main and most valuable insights that they take away from our study of Talmud and Ethics.

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