their neighbors. 5. 19:18). I had always understood the commandment of "Love Your Neighbor" to have been a commandment to Israelites to love their fellow Israelites, i.e. The Hebrew word from the book of Leviticus 19:18 translated as “neighbor,” rea, means “friend,” “companion,” or “associate” from the same root as a verb that means “to associate with.” This meaning of “someone we know” is what we typically think of when we see this passage. Rabbi Akiva stated “this is a major tenet in the Torah.” In a midrash we find the following parable of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. לה לֹא-תַעֲשׂוּ עָוֶל, בַּמִּשְׁפָּט, בַּמִּדָּה, בַּמִּשְׁקָל וּבַמְּשׂוּרָה. The Torah states “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). This imperative is so sweeping that both Jesus and the rabbis regarded it as one of the two “great” commandments, the other being “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Mark 12:29-31; cf. The precept וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ “you shall love your neighbor as yourself” in Leviticus, is one of many action-oriented commandments focused on Israelite social cohesion. Only in Late Antique Jewish and early Christian sources, did the rule take on a transcendent role as the principle in which all of the Torah is encompassed. Loving your neighbor means looking out for their wellbeing. Deut. One of the best-known verses in the Bible occurs in this week’s Torah reading of Kedoshim. In sum, the Torah here does not refer to the scope but to the quality of love. The most famous verse in Leviticus may be the command, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 34 The stranger that sojourneth with you shall be unto you as the home-born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. One takes out a … Perhaps Martin Buber helps us peel away the layers of religious distortion by offering this translation. After all, there is a separate commandment to love the stranger (if he lives among the Israelites) in Leviticus 19:34. 1. Provided there is no conflict of interests, you must love your neighbor as yourself in every way, i.e., not for selfish motives as you love your property, but for the sake of the loved one – as you love yourself. “Love your neighbor and yourself alike” Leviticus 19:18 (translation by Martin Buber) Love – What does it mean to love your neighbor as yourself? The Torah command, "Love thy neighbor as thyself" is thought to be a Jewish gift to civilization. Several people were sailing in a ship. | Prof. John J. Collins


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