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243. As Yourself: The obligation to love other Jews
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In many ways, this is the seminal mitzvah of the Torah. In the Sifra, Rabbi Akiva calls this the great principle of Torah. In Talmud Shabbos (31a), Hillel paraphrases the idea to say that we should not do to others that which we dislike, calling that the entirety of Torah. Most world religions have adopted […]
239. Shame on You!: The obligation to rebuke
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If someone is not behaving properly, it is a mitzvah to correct his behavior. We must do so even repeatedly, since the Torah says, “hochei’ach tochiach,” which is often translated as “you shall surely rebuke,” but which also means, “you shall repeatedly rebuke.” (See Talmud Baba Metzia 31a.) Our verse continues, “and you shall not […]
238. You Stink!: The prohibition against hating other Jews
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This mitzvah is not what many people think it is. What’s prohibited here is to hate another Jew specifically “in one’s heart” – that is, secretly. It’s wrong to pretend to be someone’s friend while you secretly loathe them. (Of course, while hating someone explicitly would not violate this prohibition, it would still be contrary […]
236. Rechilus: The prohibition against gossipping
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There are quite a few mitzvos that involve gossip and slander. Collectively, such evil speech is known as lashon hara (which literally translates as “evil speech”). This particular form of smack talk, however, is called rechilus – “talebearing” or gossip. The nature of rechilus is as follows: Jane hears Mary say that Sally is nasty. […]
235. Stand Up Straight: To obligation to judge righteously
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Aside from the negative mitzvah prohibiting them from perverting justice, the judges have a positive mitzvah requiring them to judge righteously. What, exactly, does that mean? For one thing, it means treating both parties in a case equitably. For example, the judge may not permit one party to speak for as long as he likes […]