By Daniel Schiff
Abortion in Judaism provides an entire Jewish criminal historical past of abortion from the earliest proper biblical references during the finish of the 20th century. For the 1st time, nearly each Jewish textual content proper to the abortion factor is explored intimately. those texts are investigated in old series, thereby elucidating the improvement inherent in the Jewish method of abortion. The paintings considers the insights that this thematic background presents into Jewish moral rules, in addition to into the position of halakhah inside of Judaism.
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Unique yr of e-book: 1995
Excerpt from the Introduction
Most reports of Jewish modernity have handled the responses of Western Jewry — basically Ashkenazi Jewry — to the fashionable . certainly, so much books of any kind at the Jews within the sleek international deal in general with Ashkenazim. This publication is meant, like every of my reports, to right in a few degree this imbalance. it truly is approximately many of the assorted responses of Sephardi and Oriental Jewry to modernity, in particular a few of their spiritual responses. The issues of comparability and distinction to the bigger and extra intensively tested Ashkenazi global are, i feel, no longer in basic terms fascinating, yet hugely instructive. For what they convey are diverse versions of recent spiritual improvement as a result of varied historic stories. normally, Sephardi and Oriental Jewry made the transition into glossy occasions whereas keeping its equilibrium way more extra effectively than had eu Jewish society upon its emergence from the ghetto, they usually have been greater in a position to shield a few of their existential moorings. the total modernizing technique used to be total extra slow and no more disturbing for jap Jews than it used to be for his or her Ashkenazi brethren or certainly for his or her Muslim acquaintances. even supposing the Westernizing forces of modernity got here to the Sephardi and Oriental Jews essentially from with no, the spiritual evolution of those groups built from inside of. Their coming to phrases with the fashionable global didn't consistently bring about a stark and invidious selection among conventional faith and development as was once the case for therefore a lot of Ashkenazi Jewry.
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Extra info for Abortion in Judaism
Though the Tannaìim never actually provided a reasoned defense of this position, it might be assumed that the Torah’s disavowal of feticide as a capital crime must have contained a sufficiently compelling logic that the early rabbis saw no need to question it. It is predictable, then, that the Midrash explicitly reiterates that feticide is a crime that calls for a monetary penalty. The Mekilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, a midrashic work from the second century , provides a rich resource of insights into Exodus :– for the Eretz Yisrael approach inherited by the Tannaìim.
The converse, however, was not true. Those who, like the Tannaìim, regarded the fetus as a dependent being, did not necessarily look upon feticide with indifference. Dependence, by itself, revealed nothing about whether or not it was acceptable – under any circumstances – to kill the fetus. All it implied was that, unlike those who were committed to fetal independence from the moment of formation, the Tannaìim were open to the possibility that feticide might be condoned in specific situations. Clues that speak a little more directly to the rabbinic attitude concerning the real value to be accorded to the fetus, and the seriousness with which its loss might be regarded, can be found in the several Talmudic sources that deal with the fetus at different stages during pregnancy.
Niddah a clarifies that “the majority” was stated particularly for those cases in which the baby came out feet first, in which case it was regarded as born once “the majority” had appeared. The Yerushalmi (Sanhedrin :) makes the equivalence explicit by stating conjointly that “when the majority and the head” have emerged the baby is considered born. As far as birth is concerned, then, appearance of “the majority” is representative of the whole. The Mishnah (Niddah :) further applies this notion to the head, by declaring that if the majority of the head – taken to mean the forehead – has emerged, it represents the whole head, and hence the whole body as well.
Abortion in Judaism by Daniel Schiff