800.31 Freedom and Privacy (pps.115-116)

hard cover page 116

God’s knowledge is different from man’s does not obviate the problem. It may be presumed that a significant portion of mankind desire privacy vis-Ã -vis all intellects equal to or greater than man’s.476

Norman Lamm writes:

The Halakhah’s legal and moral doctrines of privacy can be shown to be based upon certain fundamental theological considerations. The Bible teaches that man was created in the image of God, (Gen. 1:26, 27) by which is meant that the creature in some measure resembles the Creator. . . . “Dignity” (kavod) is thus a correlative of privacy. . . .As concealment is an aspect of divine privacy, so is it the expression of human privacy. .. . So sacred is this center of privacy in man that even God does not permit Himself to tamper with it; that is the meaning of the freedom of the will, the moral autonomy of man.477

The Talmud records an opinion that once a man has confessed his sins to God on the Day of Atonement, he should not confess them again on the following Yom Kippur-and applies to one who does so the verse, “as a dog that returneth to his vomit” (Prov. 26: 11). These are strong words, and they reveal to us the contempt of the Rabbis of the Talmud for the indignity inherent in the loss of privacy-even one’s own privacy, and even before his Maker only.478

——————- NOTES ——————-

476 See Genesis 3:21. “And the Lord God made for Adam and his wife garments of skin and clothed them.”

477 Lamm, Faith and Doubt, pp. 302-303. (He cites Mendel, Derech Mitzvotecha, p. 59f.

478 Ibid., p. 301.

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