Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Loving Every Jew Doesn't Mean Just the Nice Ones

לֹא-תִקֹּם וְלֹא-תִטֹּר אֶת-בְּנֵי עַמֶּךָ, וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ
Do not take revenge, do not hold a grudge; you shall love your fellow [Jew] as yourself. Vayikra 19:18
I don't need to be commanded to love my friends.  Chazal, in fact, say that this mitzvah applies to condemned murders (K'subos 37b, Sanhedrin 45a; thank you Torah T'mima).  Remember that to have a condemned murderer means that two kosher witnesses warned him, and he said "I know, but I am doing it anyway", and then proceeded to murder another Jew in cold blood before those two witnesses.  And the Torah says about that murder, "love your fellow [Jew] as yourself".  Moreover, R' Akiva says, "this is a great rule/fundamental principle of the Torah" (Yerushalmi Nedarim 9:4).

Klal Yisrael is one entity.  If an organ or limb becomes diseased, we do whatever we can to save it.  When I worked in radiation therapy unit, we once had a young man (20s) with cancer in his leg.  It would have been very simple to ensure his cancer didn't spread: just remove the leg above the tumor and be done with it.  Of course he didn't want that and we were doing what we could to save his leg.  He would suffer the rest of his life with the side effects: swollen, stiff, and painful hip and knee joints; but that was worth it to save his leg.  On the other hand, if a limb could not be saved (gangrene, for example), they you remove it; one limb is not worth a life.  Even when the limb is removed there is no joy, certainly no feelings of revenge or holding a grudge against the diseased limb.  In fact, a person in that situation mourns the loss, examines his behaviour to see if it could have been prevented, and does everything to prevent that from happening again.

Zeh klal gadol ba'Torah.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Sometimes a Food Loses Its Identity When It Loses Its Bracha; Sometimes It Doesn't

Let's start with a question: Why are We Allowed to Drink Coffee and Whiskey Made by Non-Jews?  Before you ask,"Why would I think that I shouldn't be able to drink whiskey and coffee made by non-Jews?", I'll tell you. Simple, we all know that Chazal made a decree -- known as בישול עכו''ם/bishul akim -- that particular foods cooked by non-Jews are forbidden.  There are basically two criteria that determines if a dish falls into this category:
Is not consumed raw.Fit for a royal banquet. Cooked carrots, therefore, are not a problem since they can be eaten raw (I actually prefer them that way).  Baked beans are find because the are not prestigious enough.  (For great synopsis of the laws, see the article on the Star-K site, FOOD FIT FOR A KING, by Rabbi Moshe Heinemann, shlita.)  There are lots of cool questions and details (baked potatoes are prestigious, does that make even potato chips and issue?) which are for another time.  Clearly, though, both coffee an…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…