Law and Morality

“Laws are for human beings who are often all too human. The philosophic anarchist, or the advocate that men live by spirituality alone are advocating a way of life for angels and not for men.”

On October 13, 1963, Rabbi Olan discussed society’s need for both law and morality, and how both concepts evolve as the times change and new challenges arise. His examples touch on Biblical narratives and Talmudic wisdom, race relations in the United States, and arguments of international law versus national sovereignty.

“It is, of course, true that the law is not to be equated with morality. The law merely enforces a minimum standard of moral behavior which is necessary for community existence. Moral ideals are for ideal human beings, the law is for those of us who are something less than ideal. The law says you shall not injure, justice says you ought to help. The law slowly moves toward justice.”

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