From the Archives of Tradition

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tradition-cabinetby R. Yitzchak Blau

In a famous passage in the Yerushalmi (Terumot 8:10), R. Yohanan and Reish Lakish debate when a Jew can be surrendered to a besieging army. Can the community save themselves by handing over an individual as long as the oppressors single the person out or only when that person is liable for the death penalty? In an essay in Tradition (Spring 1991), R. Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff analyzes why Rambam rules in accordance with the more restrictive position of Reish Lakish and also discusses heartbreaking questions of this nature from the Holocaust. Is a Jewish council in the ghetto giving out cards enabling survival different from the Yerushalmi’s paradigm since the council is providing the means of staying alive rather than actively giving over people to perish? In the same issue, Benjamin Elibott reviews seven volumes discussing the failure of the United States government, the American press, and the Jewish community to do enough to rescue the Jews of Europe during World War II.

The link is to the entire issue: link

About Yitzchak Blau

Rabbi Yitzchak Blau is Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshivat Orayta and also teaches at Midreshet Lindenbaum. He is the author of Fresh Fruit and Vintage Wine: The Ethics and Wisdom of the Aggada and an Associate Editor of Tradition.

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