Obligation is central to the Jewish tradition. Jews are obligated by mitzvot—commandments—as well as the more general brit—covenant—with God. Yet the idea of obligation is not easy for many modern Jews to accept. What is an obligation? Where does its binding nature come from? What are we obligated by, and why? Western moral and political philosophy has offered some influential answers to these questions, ones that shape the modern world and the assumptions we bring to our Jewish practice. In this seminar course, we will think deeply—as human beings and as Jews—about the concept of obligation and how it shapes our lives today.
University of Arizona
Avital Levi is a philosophy PhD student at the University of Arizona, writing a dissertation on moral obligation. She also does research in the field of Biblical philosophy. She has taught philosophy, Jewish thought, and Tanakh at Nishmat, TVA, and the Orthodox Union college summer program. Avital holds an MA in philosophy from Ben Gurion University and a BA in philosophy from Princeton University, and is a graduate of Migdal Oz, the Jewish Statesmanship Center in Jerusalem, and numerous Tikvah programs.
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Tikvah aims to make all of our courses available to as many qualified students as possible. In the event that Tikvah needs to add additional sections, this course may be taught by a different faculty member with a similarly high level of expertise.