*From the American Jewish World Service Education Module on, "Addressing Global Poverty: International Aid, Debt Relief, and Trade Justice"* *Universe of Obligation is "the circle of individuals and groups toward whom obligations are owed, to whom rules apply, and whose injuries call for amends." (/Accouting for Genocide/, Helen Fein, Free Press, 1979, p. 4) -What do each of these texts suggest about the extent of our obligation? What do we owe to those inside our universe of obligation?
The Torah uses a number of different "stock characters" to discuss various obligations: brother, neighbor, stranger. What might be the implications of using neighbor here?
Why make exceptions for these three particular things?
What does it mean to give "as is appropriate to the poor person?" Beyond providing for the physical needs of the poor person, with what else is Rambam concerned?
Why does Rambam limit the "choicest mitzvah" to 1/5? Why cap it at all?
Emmanuel Levinas, "Philosophy, Justice, and Love," in Entre Nous (English Ed. new York: Columbia Univ Press, 1998.)
If [the Other] were my only interlocutor, I would have nothing but obligations! But I don’t live in a world in which there is but one single ‘first comer’; there is always a third party in the world... my central idea is what I called an ‘asymmetry of intersubjectivity’: the exceptional situation of the I. I always recall Dostoyevsky on this subject; one of his characters says: we are all guilty for everything and everyone and I more than all others. But to this idea...I immediately add the concern for the third and, hence, justice. If there were no order of justice, there would be no limit to my responsibility. -What does Levinas mean by an "asymmetry of inter-subjectivity?"