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.


Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…

Thought for the Day: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Hydroponically Grown Humans... I Feel Sick

I am quite openly not at all objective about abortion in particular and the treatment of human embryos and fetuses in general.  I am, after all, the survivor of a failed abortion attempt.  Not "thought about it, but couldn't go through with it"; not "made appointment, but then chickened out at the lost moment"; but, "tried a procedure, but was unsuccessful in attempt to abort".  Nonetheless, I try very hard to listen to the liberal arguments (which I also used to chant as part of the general liberal catechism), and am genuinely empathetic to the plight of women who find themselves in that difficult position.

What I heard on NPR this morning, however, has left me feeling physically ill.  You can read about it, if you like, but here's the bottom line:  Scientists in Cambridge have achieved a new record, they fertilized a human ova and then kept it alive in vitro (that is, in a test tube/petri dish in a laboratory) for 14 days.  The scientist involve…