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Feasting and FastingThe History and Ethics of Jewish Food$
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Aaron Gross, Jody Myers, and Jordan D. Rosenblum

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781479899333

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479899333.001.0001

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The Virtues of Keeping Kosher

The Virtues of Keeping Kosher

(p.305) 14. The Virtues of Keeping Kosher
Feasting and Fasting

Elliot Ratzman

NYU Press

Contemporary commentators have attempted to give kosher practices deeper meanings and purposes beyond arbitrary “divine command.” The left links kosher practices to ethical concerns like the environment and animal protection, while the right foregrounds them as markers of Jewish distinctiveness, reproducing a seemingly unbridgeable gap between ethics and ritual. Navigating between these extremes, this chapter explores the revitalized ethical project of the mussar movement and its use of philosopher Emmanuel Levinas to see how the language of virtue, and the pursuit of character development, illuminates a way of understanding the rituals of postbiblical dietary laws as ethical disciplines.

Keywords:   kosher, ethical, environment, animal protection, Jewish, ritual, Emmanuel Levinas, virtue, character, laws

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