On the Rela­tion­ship of Mitzvot Between Man and His Neigh­bor and Man and His Maker

Daniel Sper­ber
  • From the Publisher
December 22, 2014

This study seeks to exam­ine the rela­tion­ship between the two major cat­e­gories of com­mand­ments (mitzvot): rit­u­al com­mands (between man and his Mak­er) and social inter­per­son­al com­mands (between man and his neigh­bor). It is argued here that when there is a clash between these two cat­e­gories, and one can­not car­ry out both, the inter­per­son­al mitzvot almost always over­ride those of a rit­u­al nature. Dif­fer­ent sce­nar­ios from a broad spec­trum of Jew­ish law are cit­ed to prove this con­tention, and the con­clu­sion is under­scored through the exam­i­na­tion of the behav­ior and rul­ings of sev­er­al lead­ing Jew­ish legal author­i­ties. Final­ly, the impli­ca­tions of this con­clu­sion and their impact on reli­gious edu­ca­tion­al direc­tion and ratio­nale are also discussed.

Discussion Questions