Rabbi Norman Lamm’s 1956 article, “The Fifth Amendment and Its Equivalent in the Halakha,” provides important lessons for scholarship in both Jewish and American law. Sixty-five years after it was published, the article remains, in many ways, a model for interdisciplinary and comparative study of Jewish law, drawing upon sources in the Jewish legal tradition, American legal history, and modern psychology. In so doing, the article proves faithful to each discipline on its own terms, producing insights that illuminate all three disciplines while respecting the internal logic within each one. In addition to many other distinctions, since its initial publication, R. Lamm’s article has received the attention of scholars, has been republished, and has been cited in several judicial opinions—among them, two United States Supreme Court opinions, including the landmark Miranda v. Arizona. As such, the article stands as a prime illustration of the potential promise of exploring Jewish law through the prism of modern thought and applying Jewish legal principles to contemporary issues.
Samuel J. Levine, Rabbi Lamm, the Fifth Amendment, and Comparative Jewish Law, 53 TRADITION 146 (2021).
Tradition: Rabbinical Council of America
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