All the laws of this chapter derive from the transcendent commandment – You shall be holy. They encompass the gamut of human activities and relations, private, social and spiritual, his attitude towards the weak and needy and his conduct towards his enemy and oppressor. 1:26). Copyright © 2020 Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ. The Torah here enjoins that we should wish upon our neighbor the same benefits that we wish upon ourselves. “I shall dwell among _them_ (as a whole). Reprinted courtesy of the Jewish Agency for Israel Education Department. Explain the difference between Mendelssohn's and Weisel's explanation. The other is “Love your rey’a as yourself.” And indeed, Jewish tradition confirms that an educated Jew would have been likely to think of the latter verse because Rabbi Akiva, born not long after Jesus’ death, is quoted by the Jerusalem Talmud as saying, “Love your neighbor as yourself: this is the great principle of the Torah… Posted on June 7, 2002 (5759) By Rabbi Dovid Green |, Have an article for Torah.org? It was because of that that they merited to receive the Torah. This would be intolerable, since scarcely a moment passes without hearing of some fellow Jew's misfortune … Hillel therefore correctly interpreted this passage in a negative manner: What is hateful to you do not do to your fellow – at least do nothing to your neighbor which you would not like to be done to yourself. This removes the problem posed in the Biur: If the text means that a man must love his fellow as himself, it is hardly conceivable that the Almighty should command something which is beyond human capacity. The Torah states “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). This commandment stands at the center of the central book in the Torah. Love and kindness have been a part of Judaism from the very beginning. This dvar Torah was adapted from the hashkafa portion of Rabbi Yissocher Frand’s Commuter Chavrusah Tapes on the weekly portion: Tape # 236, The Do’s and Don’ts of Giving Tochacha. The connection we have is a crucial connection. This is the meaning behind Rabbi Akiva’s statement “Love your fellow as yourself; this is a major tenet in the Torah.” It is a major tenet because it underscores the basic premise that its goal is to maintain unity. The text affords no hint of any such distinction between the righteous and the wicked. Nechama Leibowitz Accordingly, the text here should have read And love thy neighbor as you own soul. Rabbi Akiva stated “this is a major tenet in the Torah.” In a midrash we find the following parable of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. Building an inclusive community is a priority. Whenever the two loves do not actually clash, we must confer upon our neighbor whatever we would confer upon ourselves. Good Shabbos! The commentaries make note of the fact that the word “and Yisroel _camped_” is written uncharacteristically in the singular conjugation. There are many laws in the Torah governing liability for damages, robbery and theft, etc. Box 929 | Whippany, NJ 07981-0929 | Phone: (973) 929-3000 | Fax: (973) 884-7361 Paul did not mean that Leviticus 19:18 replaced the other commandments. Several people were sailing in a ship. The reason is that it is G-d given. This view gains further support from v. 34 of our chapter: The stranger who resides with you shall be treated the same as the native-born, and thou shalt love him as thyself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. Regional Office: Learn more about Torah Club at: https://torahclub.org. When one of the ties are broken, and we begin going our own way and doing our own thing – like the man in the ship – we must know that we are not just affecting ourselves. New International Version 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[ a] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[ b] There is no commandment greater than these.” The phrase "love thy neighbor as thyself" is not meant literally, since man cannot be expected to love his neighbor as his own self. In the day that God created mankind,  Boaz Michael discusses some very practical ways that the Torah intercepts our real world in this week's discussion on the Torah Portion. 23:17). Rather, it employs the neutral, comprehensive term – fellow. This encompasses all of humanity created in the image of God. Whose interpretation is borne out by the reading accents? I am the Lord. 20:17). Here is the full record of the dispute in Sifra Kedoshim 45: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: R. Akiva said: This is the fundamental principle of the Torah. The Torah does not just involve itself in what we would consider “religious” and ceremonial matters. Moreover, R. Akiva has ruled that your life takes precedence over your fellowman's. One does not love one's animal as one loves one's child, nor love one's chattel as one's spouse, nor money as one's vine or fig tree. Where there is subjectivity and self-interest is impossible to achieve unity. This does not refer to quantity but to quality. This week, the last Shabbos before Rosh Hashanah {the Jewish New Year}, we read the double parsha of Nitzavim/Vayelech. These guidelines reach their climax in the verse which heads this section. Abarbanel Shem MeShmuel Shabbos: Taam Chaim Mikra Haaros Growing with the Parsha Gal Einai Jerusalem Views Sfas Emes Weekly Halacha  Osher HaChaim, Rabbi Yitzchak Adlerstein - Mei Marom - Machshava - Rav Hirsch - Nesivos Shalom - Netziv - Meshech Chochmah - Gur Aryeh - Be’eros - HaMedrash V’HaMaaseh. Gen. 5:1. I am the Lord. “Atem nitzavim {You are standing} ha’yome {today} kulchem {all of you} before Hashem your G-d. [29:9]” On the day of Moshe ’s death, he gathered the entire nation to stand before Hashem and enter the covenant with Him. This elucidates our own verse: Treat your neighbor lovingly, for he is a human being like yourself, and therefore you know his quest for love. Without civil order, unity is compromised. 41:39). What is the difference between the dative and the accusative form in the very phrase according to Mendelssohn's interpretation? The Power of Rabbi AkivaThis week’s parsha contains the command to “love your neighbor as yourself” [Vayikra 19:18]. However, there remains a difference in intensity. Rabbi Akiva stated “this is a major tenet in the Torah.” In a midrash we find the following parable of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. and to love, e.g., to love him (the stranger) as thyself, not to take vengeance, not to bear a grudge, neither verbally nor in thought. Gen. 44:18, For thou art as Pharaoh, i.e., your position is similar to Pharaoh; or There is none so discerning and wise as thou art (ib. We see that there are differing aspects of the tree, roots, leaves, branches, fruits, and seeds, etc., and we know that it depends on all of its parts for its sustenance and ultimate continuity. Unity is the first and prerequisite step to the fulfillment of our destiny as Jews. A: The Hebrew of the Torah is not easily translatable. Moreover, R. Akiva has ruled that your life takes precedence over your … Several people were sailing in a ship. All Rights Reserved.