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January 31, 2019

You don’t have to love your enemy, but you do have to help him/her. Rabbi Jonathan Sachs points to the Sermon on the Mount which tells us to love our enemy. Loving our enemy is not an easy task when someone has physically or emotionally harmed us. In this week’s Torah portion, we get a law in the Torah that is a little easier to absorb and follow, “if you see your enemy’s donkey sagging under its burden, you shall not pass by. You shall surely release it with him.”  You do not have to love your enemy, but you do have to help him. The lesson from the Torah is clear.  Others, humans or animals, should not have to suffer because of a feud between you and someone else. 

 

I am reminded of this teaching often when I come across stories like the ones coming out of Israel about Israeli nurses and doctors tending to the sick and wounded Syrian refugees that show up to the northern border with Israel. Despite a long standing and bitter battle between Syria and Israel, sworn enemies, there is a recognition that the innocent should not suffer because of the strife between the two nations. 

 

This week’s Torah portion Mishpatim is really a continuation of last week’s Torah portion when revelation of God’s word takes place.  In addition to the Ten Commandments, we get a plethora of civil and ethical laws, and by connecting them all together our tradition holds that they all share equal weight in the eyes of the creator.   All the laws, taken together, help us create a just and moral society. 

 

Wishing everyone a Shabbat Shalom. 

 

 

 

Rabbi Bradley Tecktiel has been Midbar

Kodesh Temple's spiritual leader

since August 2008. Rabbi Tecktiel was

ordained at the Jewish Theological

Seminary of America in May of 1996. He

holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees, one

from List College and one from Columbia

University. He also holds a Masters of Arts

from the Jewish Theological Seminary. 

 

You can follow him on Twitter @RabbiMKT.

 

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