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The Ethics of Leviticus


The book of Leviticus raises ethical questions central to the Jewish faith. Too often, we learn these Biblical stories as children and never revisit them—or their ethical implications—as adults. The Ethics of Leviticus, the third in the Ethics series, provides further elucidation of these narratives and concepts. Rabbi Dr. Abba Engelberg presents traditional answers, explained in depth, as well as original interpretations, to difficult quandaries, such as:

  • What is the rationale for the Torah to mandate animal sacrifice?
  • Why are there so many types of sacrifices?
  • What are the parameters of “love your neighbor as yourself”?
  • Why did Nadab and Abihu deserve to lose their lives?
  • Why do we have laws of purity and impurity?
  • What is the nature of holiness?
  • Why does God legislate family laws and the nature of marriage?
  • Why do we need the Sabbath and holidays?
  • What is the purpose of shemittah and Jubilee years?
  • Why does the Torah need to give tochachah?

About Rabbi Dr. Abba Engelberg

Abba Engelberg graduated from Telshe Yeshiva (valedictorian) and Yeshiva University (cum laude), where he received rabbinical ordination. He holds a Ph.D. from New York University in Operations Research, and served as professor at Jerusalem College of Technology for 40 years, where he founded and headed the women’s division. He served as a Reserve Chaplain in the United States Air Force, where he achieved the rank of Colonel. He is the father of four sons and lives in Jerusalem with his wife.

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