I. Impossible to understand and evaluate action/ practice/ institution

without background of facts, beliefs, values

A. facts - physical (surgery), legal (dictatorship vs. democratic

emergency powers)

B. beliefs - pyramids, human sacrifice for communal good

C. values - censorship to protect ruler/society; breeding for beauty/brains/health

II. Examples of Torah background

A. facts - mikveh for men also; not for cleanliness; Yom Kippur

as self-flagellation or joy; Talmud as sole final authority

B. beliefs - (part of) Oral Torah as absolute - tradition from Sinai

C. values - complete Torah control of life - meaning in organization and integration - opera; deciding life-focus

III. Universal interpretive principle: explanations of G-d-given laws are never complete - only effects of the laws - therefore the explanations can never be used to justify violating the law

IV. Judaism is a civilization - a total way of life - not just a

philosophy or law; adequate investigation requires experience