Love Your Neighbor as Yourself
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Love Your Neighbor As Yourself
VALUES
 
Tags: Kedoshim 
grades:  -

The Torah commands us: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). Because humanity was created in the image of G-d, b’tzelem Elohim, we show disrespect for G-d when we show disrespect to our fellow human beings. Hence, we are obligated to treat everyone with respect. Judaism teaches us to celebrate each individual’s uniqueness and affirm their divine worth. While this value of v’ahavta l’reacha kamocha (loving your neighbor as yourself) does not involve specific actions like many of our biblical precepts, it does call for a type of attitude. It demands we think about people in a particular way. To love our neighbor as ourselves means we behave towards others in the way that we would want them to treat us. Therefore, the value of v’ahavta l’reacha kamocha offers the foundation for understanding moral behavior. Our tradition teaches that the great sage Rabbi Akiva is attributed to saying that Judaism is a religion that cherishes, above all else, treating people well. According to Akiva, compassion for the other is at the heart of Judaism (Jerusalem Talmud, Nedarim 9:4; Sifra, Kedoshim 4:12)

Questions for Reflection

  1. What does it mean to love your neighbor?
  2. What does it mean to love yourself?
  3. Why do you think that this value reflects more of a certain attitude than of certain actions?
  4. How can you incorporate the value of v’ahavta l’reacha kamocha within your classroom setting?

We should treat people the way that we would want to be treated.

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