Emmanuel Levinas, "TheTemptation of Temptation" Nine Talmudic Readings, trans. Annette Aronowicz (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994), p. 37.
The Torah itself is exposed to danger because being itself is nothing but violence, and nothing can be more exposed to violence than the Torah, which says no to it. The Law essentially dwells in the fragile human conscience which protects it badly and where it runs every risk. Those who accept this Law also go from one danger to the next. The story of Haman irritated by Mordecai attests to this danger. But this irresistible weight of being can be shaken only by this incautious conscience. Being receives a challenge from the Torah, which jeopardizes its pretention of keeping itself above or beyond good and evil. In challenging the absurd “that’s the way it is” claimed by the power of the powerful, the man of the Torah transforms being into human history. Meaningful movement jolts the Real.

Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. According to Levinas, what is the importance of the Torah and law?

2. Why is law so fragile? What does Levinas assume about the natural state of humans?

3. Is law fragile in our society today? How can we ensure that we continue to be protected by the law?

Time Period: Contemporary (The Yom Kippur War until the present-day)