Academic Year 2011-2012
Yitzhak Ben David
Yitzhak Ben David is a graduate of Yeshivat Har Etzion, and was ordained as a Rabbi by the Israeli Chief Rabbinate. He has taught Talmud and Jewish Thought at Midreshet Ein Hanatziv and at Yeshivat Maale Gilboa, and has served as head of the Beit Midrash for Midreshet Ein Hanatziv alumnae. He holds a Master’s degree in Philosophy and Talmud from Hebrew University. His graduate thesis dealt with the analysis of the Talmudic exegesis concerning the ceremony of Aliyah L'regel, pilgrimage to the Temple, and the relationship between this exegesis to the processes of destruction and exile. Currently, he is a doctoral student at Bar Ilan University Law School. His research focuses on the analysis of exegetical processes and changes during the Rabbinic period, while analyzing the relationship between these processes and the social and historical development within the life circumstances of Jewish society during this period.
The Authority and Disobedience Model in Tractate Horayoth As Viewed Through the Prism of Modern Legal Doctrines
As a Tikvah Scholar, I seek to examine the authority and disobedience model in Tractate Horayoth—a tractate which focuses on erroneous court rulings—in the Mishnah, Tosefta and both Talmuds. I will consider this topic in light of how contemporary legal scholars discuss the concept of judicial review with regard to decisions made by legislative powers—more specially, the problem of dual institutional governmental structure which places both the legislature and the judicial institution which holds the authority to review its decisions, at the top of the pyramid of authority. Insofar as relevant to this theme, I will also discuss the issue of civil disobedience and freedom of speech, such as, justification and legitimacy of civil disobedience and insubordination of the law, the free speech doctrine, and a right provided to individuals to criticize and disagree with the authorities’ actions or opinions.
The disciplinary “dialogue” I seek to create in the framework of my writing project, between the Talmud and modern legal discourse, has two dimensions which complement each other: On one hand, the theoretical conceptualization and argumentation which is prevalent in modern legal discourse will serve as a tool to analyze and conceptualize the Talmud’s legal model. On the other hand, the Talmudic model can enrich contemporary discourse and lend it a unique stance, which can be of value even in modern political and social contexts.