An Ethics of Sustainability and Jewish Law?


  • Jann Reinhardt Humboldt University Berlin, Germany



Jewish law, Sustainability, Theological ethics, Halakhah, Bal tashchit, Migrash


This article addresses the issue of why it is important to ask for ethical responses to questions of sustainability and an ethics of an open future, and why the technocratic approach as practiced in most Western countries might not be sustainable. Second, it examines what a religious perspective has to offer for the discourse. In particular, this is the perspective of Jewish Law (halakhah); today a mere niche subject, a law system without territory and primarily based on the tradition of a religious minority. It is argued that despite these facts the Jewish legal system should be taken into account, as it offers a rich and unique tradition of more than 3,000 years of discussion and thought that still provides revealing insights. Two Jewish legal principles, bal tashchit and migrash exemplify this claim, before an outlook on possible contributions is given.


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How to Cite

Reinhardt, J. (2014) “An Ethics of Sustainability and Jewish Law?”, De Ethica, 1(1), pp. 17–35. doi: 10.3384/de-ethica.2001-8819.141117.