Shabbat Message: Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

May 9, 2019
By Beth Mordecai
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Shabbat Message: Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

Lev. 19:18 You shall neither take revenge from nor bear a grudge against the members of your people; you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.

יחלֹֽא־תִקֹּ֤ם וְלֹֽא־תִטֹּר֙ אֶת־בְּנֵ֣י עַמֶּ֔ךָ וְאָֽהַבְתָּ֥ לְרֵֽעֲךָ֖ כָּמ֑וֹךָ אֲנִ֖י ה׳

This verse from our parsha, Kedoshim, is one of the most well known in the entire Tanach. Innumerable explanations have been written about, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” one of the core principles of the Torah. First and foremost, a person is expected to love themselves. After all, how can a person love another person if they do not love themselves. Unfortunately, this is not always so obvious to all of us. This demand can seem to be impossible to fulfill. Is it really possible to love your friend as much as you love yourself?

There are many possibly answers to that question, although I would like to point to the less familiar end of the verse: “love your neighbor as yourself, I am the Lord.”

When we understand that both we and our neighbors were created by God and God gave us both a soul, then we will love our neighbor because we are both part of humanity. Realizing this helps us to see the bonds of solidarity and commitment that connect us all.

In short, we must love each other because we love ourselves, and we are all part of the same whole. Once we are able to truly understand this, we are better able to love ourselves and each other.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Metz

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat