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"Love thy Neighbor as yourself." Who is considered a neighbor?

  

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Rabbi Gurkow: Welcome to the Rabbi's one on one chat room, how can I help you today?

Tamara: who is my neighbor according to the Torah

Rabbi Gurkow: are your eferring to the commandment to love thy neighbor as you love yourself?

Tamara: yes, sir

Rabbi Gurkow: Neighbor is a common translation in this verse however the proper translation for the word used in this verse is fellow or even friend

Rabbi Gurkow: this verse refers to all Jewish people

Rabbi Gurkow: Our sages have written that this refers only to Jews who are your "colleague" in observance of Torah and Mitzvot...

Rabbi Gurkow: however our sages have also pointed out that this only excludes those Jews who were raised in an observant home, were properly educated and fully understood everything they were taught, had a balanced and happy upbringing and nevertheless chose to abandon their observance of the divine commandments

Rabbi Gurkow: and even those Jews, the ones who are in fact excluded from this commandment, must be loved -- they must be loved from one side of the heart even as they are not loved fromthe other side

Rabbi Gurkow: that is to say we must love them for their soul... for their potential

Tamara: thnaks, this is all very new to me, it is such an interesting commandment

Rabbi Gurkow: It is ironic that we are commanded or obligated to love all Jews, though it is true that love is a natural feeling and hard to produce on command

Rabbi Gurkow: yet because all Jews are one family, and our famlily status is not immediately apparent, it requires a bit of reflection to realize our familial status to each other

Rabbi Gurkow: we are commanded to love -- in a sense this means that we are commanded to reflect on our colose familial relations to each other and hence produce a love for each other

Tamara: which is expressed in actions towards each other?

Rabbi Gurkow: that is correct

Tamara: thank you rabbi, is it possible to print our "chat"/

Rabbi Gurkow: yes indeed it is

Tamara: would you be able to direct me on how to do this, since this is new to me, thank you

Rabbi Gurkow: as you leave htis chat room you shold see a question asking you if you want this chat emailed to you

Rabbi Gurkow: if you clik yes the chat should arrive to you email where you can print it out

Tamara: ok, thanks and goodbye for now ,from australia

All names, places, and identifying information have been changed or deleted in order to protect the privacy of the questioners. In order to preserve authenticity, the chat sessions have been posted with a minimum of editing. Please excuse typographical errors, missing punctuation, and/or grammatical mistakes which naturally occur in the course of informal chat sessions.

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COMMENTS

Love thy neighbor

Posted by: Monica, Mexico city, MX, Mexico on Oct 31, 2005

Love thy neighbor.........only thy JEWISH NEIGHBOR!!! God help me, what am I reading here? So God doesn't want Jews to love the rest of His human creation? Do you guys really believe that? I sure hope not. How sad and what a terrible way of speaking about our Lord.

I, as a Christian have learned that love thy neighbor means to love all human beings and help all of human mankind and be good to all people. You and I have the same God, mind you, I guess it's just a matter of how we differ in our interpretation of His Word. I really feel like crying now, we really are just too different!

I would love to hear what you have to say about this. With love and respect,

Editor's Comment

We must treat all humans, indeed all of G-d's creatures, with utmost respect -- but love is usually reserved for family members. The Jewish people are one family, and as such it's not enough to respect each other and treat each other properly, we must actually love each other.

Love Thy Neighbor

Posted by: Eduard Nilno, Germany on Jul 15, 2006

Let me put up stakes even a little higher. Martin Buber once translated this "Love thy Neighbor as yourself." as follows: "Love thy Neighbor for he is as you are." And also let's take out the neighbor and take the NEXT person instead. Next meaning actually next. If your standing in a crammed subway, you have an ample choice of next. Love them. For they are as you are. And indeed I made a litte practice of it: I look at them and for a moment I imagine - he is my uncle, she's my aunt - and all of a sudden I can feel the tie. Yes, there's only one family. We're all children of Adam.

RELATED CATEGORIES

Mitzvot » Love thy Neighbor

Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Mitzvot
Plural form of Mitzvah. Commandments of G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.