CLICK HERE for the commentary by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.
Contracts have meaning for three reasons: they are backed by power that enforces their terms (think of a sheriff and foreclosure), they are respected for because of mutual self-interest, and because of a sense of moral obligation. Rabbi Sacks argues that a free society ultimately depends on a shared sense of moral obligation. Religion helps construct that moral obligation, that trust between people.
Last week we ended up “off-topic” and discussed kapparot, the custom of sacrificing a chicken before Yom Kippur to remove one’s sins. I mentioned a beautiful chassidic story that transforms that custom into having a spiritual diary. So keeping my word, we’ll take a look at that story, “The Paper Chicken.” And staying with the theme, it is deeply about both ourselves and God keeping our word, and forgiving each other when we fail.