Israel Lipschutz

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Main article Judaism and Other Religions

Rabbi Israel Lipschutz (1782-1860) from the port city of Danzig, offers a surprising universalistic sentiment in his Mishnah commentary.

R. Elazar ben Azaryah said, "If there is no Torah there is no civilization [derech eretz: lit. way of the land.]." The word "Torah" here cannot be meant literally, since there are many ignorant people who have not learned it, and many pious among the gentiles who do not keep the Torah and yet are ethical and follow the “way of the land.” Rather, the correct interpretation seems to me to be that every people has its own Divine religion, which comprises three foundational principles, (1) belief in a revealed Torah, (2) belief in reward and punishment, and (3) belief in an afterlife. They only disagree on the interpretation of these principles. These three principles are what are called here "Torah."[22]</blockquote>

Lipschutz's offers a vision of tolerance based on a generic sense of revelation, reward, and afterlife found in all religions. Rather than approaching religions as an other, he senses a common core based on morality. If one wanted to develop an approach to non-Abrahamic faiths, then his general definitions offer a useful starting point. For him, enlightenment, karma, and reincarnation could be considered valued forms of Torah for gentiles.