Audio Roundup 2021:31

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by Joel Rich

To a pulpit rabbi -i’m glad people at least call you to try to understand tragedy but I really do wonder what they expect you to tell them I also wonder whether there’s a downside to the say tehilim emails. Do people think that they have been yotzeih by this and thus don’t have to do any introspection or up their game?


A discussion concerning aseih docheh lo taaseh:
Me-After listening to a shiur: It is certainly true that if you have a +10 for an aseih and a -8 for a lo taaseh, you would net out +2. However, this assumes that you’re only looking at the numeric value for your results. Let’s assume for a minute a different case. If you were to tell me that if I do a certain act I will get two units of immeasurable joy there’s no question that I would do it, on the other hand if you tell me that if I do the act I will get 10 units of immeasurable joy and eight minutes of immeasurable pain I might not be willing to take that trade off

Someone I respect: That is true, but I was looking at it not from a perspective of reward and punishment, but from the perspective of what you are accomplishing. If I can do something that creates 10 units of spiritual good in the world and 8 units of spiritual evil, then the world is better off. I would receive only reward for doing such an act. (Of course, you could still object that even in terms of the impact of my actions, the tradeoff is not linear, but you could also accept that I am accomplishing a net positive.)

My questions for the chevra:
Would you agree that: If I can do something that creates 10 units of spiritual good in the world and 8 units of spiritual evil, then the world is better off. I would receive only reward for doing such an act.
Where does Jewish philosophy fall on the consequentialist deontologist spectrum? Assumedly aseh doche would not exist in a fully deontological approach as the lo taaseh would have to be avoided at all costs?


Please direct any informal comments to [email protected].

About Joel Rich

Joel Rich is a frequent wannabee cyberspace lecturer on various Torah topics. A Yerushalmi formerly temporarily living in West Orange, NJ, his former employer and the Social Security administration support his Torah listening habits. He is a recovering consulting actuary.

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