Author Topic: Abortion = Murder?  (Read 17196 times)

Offline Super Speed

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Re: Abortion = Murder?
« Reply #150 on: January 27, 2017, 02:36:00 PM »
@JTZ,

I've often read your posts and I respect you a lot, but i've have thought that many of your post indicate that you seem to misunderstand something basic about Judaism.

While Judaism contains many elegant and neat truths, and is taught and studied and expounded upon by intellectual greats who use logic to decipher it's codes and come up with new laws and rulings- ultimately, it is NOT a logical or rational religion.

At first, however, in our search for Truth we are bound to logic and our limited capacity to understand truth.
When Abraham looked around the world, it was with logical conclusion that realized that there must be G-d in the world, and that it wasn't those idols his fellows worshipped.
So, acknowledging a Higher Power, and evaluatinge a religion is still within the realm of logic. And every ounce and every capacity for our human brains to evaluate and arrive at the truth, must be used. But anything after that point, logic is futile. G-d and his Torah are not bound to the limits of logic, because they are greater than logic. Suprarational, not subrational. It would seem ridiculous to try to understand G-d or his Torah through the lens of logic.

We do NOT do acts of charity out of kindness because it is the 'good' thing to do.
We act charitably with kindness because G-d commanded us to.

We are forbidden to murder, NOT because rationally it seems inhumane, unfair, evil or immoral.
We don't murder because we were forbidden to do so by a Higher Authority that we sumbit completely to, G-d. Period.

In a case such as Amalek, we can try to understand it as best as we can, with many beautiful midrashim and explanations... But ultimately, it's another commandment, and we quiet the resistance of our human minds, and accept that this is what G-d wants.
And it doesn't matter whether it makes sense or not. And it doesn't matter if it makes us look evil in the eyes of others.

(A. And how do we know this is what G-d wants? Different Discussion. B. And why can't other violent religions use the same ideas to explain their violence? While we are commanded to love and respect and tolerate all human beings, it doesn't mean that we need to agree with them, or accept their religion as truth. A deeper investigation will show falacies in the original thinking that led them to their belief. But that brings us back to A)

I am an openly unapologetic American, Jewish woman from Brooklyn.
I don't apologize for my religion even when it seems at odds with the rest of 'modern' thought.
___________________________

So, under Jewish Law, even though a fetus isn't considered fully a human, if it is not Amalek and it is not posing a threat to its mother, and it seems to be healthy with normal potential for life- (of course, each case must be analyzed by Drs and competent halachic authority) then it is forbidden to kill it via abortion.

Inopportune time or unwanted pregnancies are not (usually) considered a threat to the mother's health- and therefor are forbidden.

At all times, the question is NOT, "Is the right or humane thing to do?" rather, it is "In this case, what has G-d commanded"

ETA: This doesn't mean that religious people can shut off our minds and disregard logic. We always use logic to explore any topic to the limits of our minds, but ultimately we understand that logic is not the be and end all. There's more.
Beautiful!!

Offline zh cohen

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Re: Abortion = Murder?
« Reply #151 on: January 27, 2017, 02:50:46 PM »
Naseh vnishma of course... but that doesn't excuse not analyzing reasons where possible. Otherwise, what even is "torah learning"? I could be misunderstanding her and you.

I can't speak for wayfe, bit my point is that all Jews believe that we do mitzvos because Hashem told us to (Na'seh), and all Jews believe we should work on understanding (Nishma).

The only diffences of opinion is how much emphasis to put on each one.

Offline Sport

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Re: Abortion = Murder?
« Reply #152 on: January 27, 2017, 03:12:22 PM »
The problem with only doing Mitzvos because they make sense, feel right or are 'intuitive' is that you run into roadblocks when society's view shifts as it has over the millenia and you find that current scientific theory, or pop culture is at odds with your beliefs (ex. creation ex nihilo, prohibition against homosexual relationships, or abortions)

As to your point regarding Mizvos making us more like G-d, things get more complicated.

I was taught that you lead with your mind and follow with your heart. Your mind analyzes a situation and come up with the correct course of action and only then does it tell the heart what is the appropriate emotion to feel. We do charitable acts first because we were commanded to, and then we follow with appropriate emotions of brotherly love, pity, compassion...
So the commandment is primary but the intuative feeling is secondary.

Here's more complicated part-
G-d is not a person or a thing- He does not have attributes and we can't define Him. G-d chooses modalities (mercy, kindness, compassion, strength... etc) in which to express Himself to us, and He does request that we immitate them. But He is not bound by them and they do not define Him. It is merely His free choice.
So the mitzvah didn't have to be kindness or compassion. There is no intrinsic value to it. It could have been anything. It doesn't matter that it's intuitive or feels right or good to us.
It is only the right and good thing to do- simply because He wanted it to be so.
Uch, its friday and dont have the time to respond appropriately as you said this is complicated, but I'll give it a shot.

I agree completely that doing mitzvahs solely for the benifts they provide us comes with the great risk you mentioned, thats why I would never advocate that. However, the fact that secular ethics don't correspond with jewish ones does not mean that we as humans are incapable of reaching these truths. It may be extremely challenging but they are objective truths. Luckily we do have the Torah that outlines them all for us so we're not left on our own where we would have most likely become misguided.

Now that we do have the Torah, that doesnt mean we should ignore the intuitive nature of the mitzvos and their benefits. Just to underscore the importance of seeing the benifits of the mitzvos:
 In fact the sefe hachinuch writes by one of the mitzvos (i forget which) that he searched and agonized over that mitzvha to try and find a reason for it because he felt that if he didn't come up with a reason his son would be at risk to abandon the entire torah. Even after finding a reason and benifit behind all the other 612 mitzvis he still felt this concern.

As to your points regarding the heart following the head. I agree to an extent, but its not magic. If you have no understanding and appreciation of what you are doing it will have minimal impact on your heart.
There's much more to this discussion but shabbos is approaching and I'm ignorring my wife and kids :)
Good shabbos!

Offline ExGingi

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Re: Abortion = Murder?
« Reply #153 on: January 28, 2017, 12:17:56 PM »
Bad argument. When it's due, it's a baby.

You would ask "when is the cake ready?"  not "when is the batter ready?"
To quote Rashi in Sanhedrin 72(2):
יצא ראשו - באשה המקשה לילד ומסוכנת וקתני רישא החיה פושטת ידה וחותכתו ומוציאתו לאברים דכל זמן שלא יצא לאויר העולם לאו נפש הוא וניתן להורגו ולהציל את אמו אבל יצא ראשו אין נוגעים בו להורגו דהוה ליה כילוד ואין דוחין נפש מפני נפש
I've been waiting over 5 years with bated breath for someone to say that!
-- Dan

Offline Boruch999

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Re: Abortion = Murder?
« Reply #154 on: January 28, 2017, 12:19:22 PM »
Bad argument. When it's due, it's a baby.

You would ask "when is the cake ready?"  not "when is the batter ready?"

Many Pro Choice advocates campaigned vigorously for partial birth abortions.

Offline Emkay

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Re: Abortion = Murder?
« Reply #155 on: January 28, 2017, 12:33:30 PM »
wayfe, you are certainly entitled to your beliefs but just want to point out that you do not speak for all Jews. I was brought up- and currently subscribe- to a very different, rationalist approach than what you describe, achieving perfection by pursuing knowledge, striving to understand the deeper ideas to mitzvos so we can understand exactly how they are supposed to perfect us, which is a bit more involved than just doing it BECAUSE we are commanded to do it... to each their own though.
How do you explain Chukim?.

Offline aradisc

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Re: Abortion = Murder?
« Reply #156 on: January 28, 2017, 07:31:44 PM »
Whole lot of argument in this thread based on feelings, and meta-arguments about Amalek. I have mixed feelings on the subject of abortion myself. But why don't we seek to answer the question directly from the halachic perspective: http://dinonline.org/2015/02/06/abortion-in-torah-law/

Offline HBS

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Re: Abortion = Murder?
« Reply #157 on: January 28, 2017, 09:48:14 PM »
To quote Rashi in Sanhedrin 72(2):
יצא ראשו - באשה המקשה לילד ומסוכנת וקתני רישא החיה פושטת ידה וחותכתו ומוציאתו לאברים דכל זמן שלא יצא לאויר העולם לאו נפש הוא וניתן להורגו ולהציל את אמו אבל יצא ראשו אין נוגעים בו להורגו דהוה ליה כילוד ואין דוחין נפש מפני נפש
Which is exactly why the perspective in Judaism is different than the perspective of other religions. And why I hate how everyone lumps it together.

Offline David Smith

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Re: Abortion = Murder?
« Reply #158 on: January 28, 2017, 09:59:40 PM »
Uch, its friday and dont have the time to respond appropriately as you said this is complicated, but I'll give it a shot.

I agree completely that doing mitzvahs solely for the benifts they provide us comes with the great risk you mentioned, thats why I would never advocate that. However, the fact that secular ethics don't correspond with jewish ones does not mean that we as humans are incapable of reaching these truths. It may be extremely challenging but they are objective truths. Luckily we do have the Torah that outlines them all for us so we're not left on our own where we would have most likely become misguided.

Now that we do have the Torah, that doesnt mean we should ignore the intuitive nature of the mitzvos and their benefits. Just to underscore the importance of seeing the benifits of the mitzvos:
 In fact the sefe hachinuch writes by one of the mitzvos (i forget which) that he searched and agonized over that mitzvha to try and find a reason for it because he felt that if he didn't come up with a reason his son would be at risk to abandon the entire torah. Even after finding a reason and benifit behind all the other 612 mitzvis he still felt this concern.

As to your points regarding the heart following the head. I agree to an extent, but its not magic. If you have no understanding and appreciation of what you are doing it will have minimal impact on your heart.
There's much more to this discussion but shabbos is approaching and I'm ignorring my wife and kids :)
Good shabbos!
You definitely are supposed to try to understand them and have them impact your life, but if you decide not to do something because you don't understand it or don't agree with it morally; then the Torah isn't changing you, you're changing the Torah. At the end of the day, the designer knows what makes the product tick better than the user. Rationalizing the Torah is wonderful, but if you conform it to fit your rationalization you're not a believer. Anybody who feels the need to apologize for G-d doesn't believe in him. As nice as the social justice aspects of religion are, if you think that's all G-d should or has the right to dictate you're a כופר.
Who do you think you are fooling? You think you are going to pull a quick one on your Creator? Good luck with that.
JTZ

Offline Sport

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Re: Abortion = Murder?
« Reply #159 on: January 28, 2017, 10:26:47 PM »
You definitely are supposed to try to understand them and have them impact your life, but if you decide not to do something because you don't understand it or don't agree with it morally; then the Torah isn't changing you, you're changing the Torah. At the end of the day, the designer knows what makes the product tick better than the user. Rationalizing the Torah is wonderful, but if you conform it to fit your rationalization you're not a believer. Anybody who feels the need to apologize for G-d doesn't believe in him. As nice as the social justice aspects of religion are, if you think that's all G-d should or has the right to dictate you're a כופר.
Not sure why you quoted me, nothing that I said was addressed specifically with rationalizing the 2 cases being discussed here, I was presenting a general hashkafic outlook.
I would say though, that because we know that hashem is just and his mitzvos and the torah are meant to be a guide for us to become just, like him, that does raise a difficulty when there is a mitzvah that seems unjust. It's a flaw in our understanding but doesn't mean we cant be bothered by and question it, as long as it's the context of trying to gain a better understanding.
Thats not rationalizing It's comprehending and knowing god.

Offline Sport

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Re: Abortion = Murder?
« Reply #160 on: January 28, 2017, 10:26:47 PM »
You definitely are supposed to try to understand them and have them impact your life, but if you decide not to do something because you don't understand it or don't agree with it morally; then the Torah isn't changing you, you're changing the Torah. At the end of the day, the designer knows what makes the product tick better than the user. Rationalizing the Torah is wonderful, but if you conform it to fit your rationalization you're not a believer. Anybody who feels the need to apologize for G-d doesn't believe in him. As nice as the social justice aspects of religion are, if you think that's all G-d should or has the right to dictate you're a כופר.
Not sure why you quoted me, nothing that I said was addressed specifically with rationalizing the 2 cases being discussed here, I was presenting a general hashkafic outlook.
I would say though, that because we know that hashem is just and his mitzvos and the torah are meant to be a guide for us to become just, like him, that does raise a difficulty when there is a mitzvah that seems unjust. It's a flaw in our understanding but doesn't mean we cant be bothered by and question it, as long as it's the context of trying to gain a better understanding.
Thats not rationalizing It's comprehending and knowing god.

Offline wayfe

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Re: Abortion = Murder?
« Reply #161 on: January 28, 2017, 11:59:16 PM »
Uch, its friday and dont have the time to respond appropriately as you said this is complicated, but I'll give it a shot.

I agree completely that doing mitzvahs solely for the benifts they provide us comes with the great risk you mentioned, thats why I would never advocate that. However, the fact that secular ethics don't correspond with jewish ones does not mean that we as humans are incapable of reaching these truths. It may be extremely challenging but they are objective truths. Luckily we do have the Torah that outlines them all for us so we're not left on our own where we would have most likely become misguided.

Now that we do have the Torah, that doesnt mean we should ignore the intuitive nature of the mitzvos and their benefits. Just to underscore the importance of seeing the benifits of the mitzvos:
 In fact the sefe hachinuch writes by one of the mitzvos (i forget which) that he searched and agonized over that mitzvha to try and find a reason for it because he felt that if he didn't come up with a reason his son would be at risk to abandon the entire torah. Even after finding a reason and benifit behind all the other 612 mitzvis he still felt this concern.

As to your points regarding the heart following the head. I agree to an extent, but its not magic. If you have no understanding and appreciation of what you are doing it will have minimal impact on your heart.
There's much more to this discussion but shabbos is approaching and I'm ignorring my wife and kids :)
Good shabbos!

We're in agreement.

I'm just saying that the rationale is secondary.

First and foremost we do Mitzvos because we were commanded. Whether we understand them or not.

Of course we always try to understand every commandment to the extent of our reasoning abilities. And of course the reason enhances our actions. (טַעַם = reason and taste...).
"I would rather have questions that can't be answered than answers which can't be questioned."
Richard Feynman

Offline wayfe

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Re: Abortion = Murder?
« Reply #162 on: January 29, 2017, 12:19:45 AM »
wayfe, you are certainly entitled to your beliefs but just want to point out that you do not speak for all Jews. I was brought up- and currently subscribe- to a very different, rationalist approach than what you describe, achieving perfection by pursuing knowledge, striving to understand the deeper ideas to mitzvos so we can understand exactly how they are supposed to perfect us,

Yes, we are all entitled (at least according to American law) to believe what we choose. I'm not sure I understand what you've written but if you're saying that you only do Mitzvos because they make you a better person or because it a humane way of life- then I (respectfully) challenge your belief system.

Quote
which is a bit more involved than just doing it BECAUSE we are commanded to do it...

Your addition of the word 'just' indicates that you did not understand my post.
I specifically added to my post
Quote
ETA: This doesn't mean that religious people can shut off our minds and disregard logic. We always use logic to explore any topic to the limits of our minds, but ultimately we understand that logic is not the be and end all. There's more.

I see it as the balance of striving to attain more knowledge and acceptance of the suprarational divine as cyclical;
As human beings, we are finite creations. As such, it should be impossible for us to understand the divine, the infinite. According to the laws of logic- something finite cannot contain infinity. How can a finite mind understand infinity? As we delve into and explore any topic in Torah intellectually and logically- we stretch the limits of our minds but eventually we hit the glass ceiling. We know there is more yet we can't understand it. At that point, we bypass the limits of our logically constrained minds and understand with our soul. This in turn enriches and broadens the mind so that it has even more capacity to understand- and the cycle starts again.
Not sure if this made any sense, but I tried...
"I would rather have questions that can't be answered than answers which can't be questioned."
Richard Feynman

Offline ChaimMoskowitz

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Re: Abortion = Murder?
« Reply #163 on: November 09, 2017, 05:38:57 PM »
Abortion = Murder?
Did we ever get an answer?  :)
I just found a new supply of forks!

Offline as2

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Re: Abortion = Murder?
« Reply #164 on: November 09, 2017, 05:41:42 PM »
Abortion = Murder?
Did we ever get an answer?  :)
Well, JTZ left us before we could really sort it out. Really ready for Friday aren't you?
Memories last forever, make them while you can.