Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Great Regulars: What is at stake here is the difference

between a sinner and a heretic. A sinner accepts the system of law under which he is condemned. Even if he is a hypocrite, like the man who hid his bag of spices, his very hypocrisy is, as the saying goes, a tribute that vice pays to virtue. But a heretic flatly denies that virtue is virtue; he undermines the entire legal system by rejecting its authority. Thus we learn in Eruvin 69b that "we accept sacrifices from Jewish sinners" but not "from an irreligious Jew, or someone who makes libations of wine to an idol or someone who desecrates the Sabbath publicly."

from Adam Kirsch: Tablet: Who Can Follow These Rules?


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