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HaBrit V'HaHesed: Foundations of the Jewish System

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Publication Date: January 1990

Publisher(s): Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Author(s): Daniel J. Elazar

Series: Daniel Elazar On-line Library

Special Collection: Berman Jewish Policy Archive

Topic: Culture and religion (Religion and religious groups)

Keywords: Jewish Text; Government; Jewish Content; Language

Type: Other


The author argues that the concepts of brit (covenant) and hesed (loving covenant obligation) are the basis for all Jewish social, interpersonal, and intergroup relations. As well, he maintains that brit and hesed are the foundation of the political dimension of the system alongside tzedakah u' mishpat (justice).

He maintains that humanity, according to the biblical understanding of the word, lives because of the human covenant with God. As well, the author argues that covenants push humanity in the direction of tzedakah u'mishpat and work to the extent that they combine brit and hesed. He concludes that this fusion is not only necessary to make brit effective, but is also vital to preventing humans from confusing natural and federal liberty by applying brit without hesed or hesed without brit.