Jewish Journal


Rosner’s Torah-Talk: Parashat Yitro with Rabbi Michael Harris

by Shmuel Rosner

January 17, 2014 | 3:18 am

Rabbi Michael Harris

Our guest this week is Rabbi Michael Harris, the Rabbi of London's Hampstead Synagogue and a lecturer at Cambridge University's Faculty of Divinity. Rabbi Harris studied at three yeshivot in Israel: Ma'ale Adumim, Machon Harry Fischel and Yeshivat HaMivtar in Efrat. He received his ordination from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and from other prominent Israeli rabbis. He obtained his first degree in philosophy from Cambridge University, subsequently going on to receive a Masters in the same subject from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 2001 he received his Ph.D in philosophy from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Rabbi Harris, who has been the Rabbi of Hampstead Synagogue since 1995, holds the Moral Issues portfolio on the Cabinet of the Chief Rabbi of the UK. His first book, Divine Command Ethics: Jewish and Christian Perspectives was published in 2003 by Taylor and Francis Books.

This week's Torah portion- Parashat Yitro (Exodus 18:1-20:23)- begins with the advice given by Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, to the people of Israel, and continues to tell us about the gathering of the people of Israel at Mount Sinai and about the giving of the Ten Commandments. Our discussion focuses on the age old question of the relation between human morality and divine morality, and on the role of divine command in Jewish ethics.


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