Is There an Ethic Beyond Halakhah?

June 1, 2010 by J. David Bleich

The question, as formulated, constitutes not one but at least four separate questions.  It would seem appropriate to consider those questions in serial order.             I.          Is there a standard of conduct to which persons may be held, and according to which human actions may be judged, other than the standard reflected in normative law?  The identical question may be rephrased in another form:  Is there a standard of lifnim mi-shurat ha-din or is the sole moral standard that of din itself?  The answer to the question thus formulated is obvious.  Rabbinic literature is replete with references to ethical norms described as lifnim mi-shurat ha-din.  The very juxtaposition of the two categories constitutes an acknowledgement of standards of lifnim mi-shurat [....] Read More…