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Forum I: On the Ethics of Self in Judaism: Searching for the Middle Ground Between Selflessness and Selfishness

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Publication Date: January 1990

Publisher(s): Conference of Jewish Communal Service (U.S.)

Author(s): Bernard Ducoff

Series: Journal of Jewish Communal Service, 67:1

Special Collection: Berman Jewish Policy Archive

Topic: Culture and religion (Religion and religious groups)
Social conditions (Social values)

Keywords: Jewish Text; Ethics; Jewish Identity

Type: Report


An examination of the Biblical and Talmudic teachings reveals that there are at least three ideal selves: the Halachic norm of self-realization coupled to living virtuously and helping others, the self of mutual sharing and loving, and the altruistic self of risk and sacrifice in order to help others. All three are facets of every self and can be realistically expected of the average Jew.