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"For Instruction shall come forth from Zion, The word of the L-rd from Jerusalem." -- Isaiah 2:3

Jerusalem

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GENESIS — 3:21 clothed

When you have reason to have a personal grudge against someone, it is all the more important to do him a favor. You should do chesed with the recipient in mind, and now with yourself in mind.  Rav Yisrael Salanter was once traveling on the train, and at one of the stops a young Jewish man boarded and chose to sit down next to him. The young man was an abrasive and complaining fellow, and throughout the trip to Vilna, he treated Rav Yisrael with great disrespect. When the train arrived in Vilna, there was a large crowd gathered to greet the great rav. The young man was thoroughly mortified when he learned to whom he had been so disrespectful, and he mustered the courage to go to Rav Yisrael’s place of lodging and apologize. As soon as he entered Rav Yisrael greeted him like an old friend and told him to forget about the day before. During their conversation he learned that the young man was trying to get a license to be a Shochet, and Rav Yisrael found somebody to teach him, and then helped him find a job.  Although he had good reason not to go out of his way to do this young man a favor, Rav Yisrael helped him more than anyone else normally would. Kindness of this sort is a reflection of the purity of the soul, and the depth of one’s character. Chazal said that the Torah begins and ends with chesed. For the beginning with chesed, they cite [this verse]. Rav Scheinberg, shlita, often points out that they did not cite the fact that Hashem gave Adam an entire beautiful and perfect world, or that he gave him a wife, because at that time Adam was still perfect and untainted. It is not hard to do chesed with a great gadol and tzaddik. They cited the chesed that Hashem did for Adam and his wife after they had sinned and brought death and destruction to His entire creation. That is the example of chesed with best describes the beginning of the Torah. That is the type of chesed we must strive to achieve. CASTLE 82-3
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GENESIS — 5:1 image

[Some] Rishonim [Torah scholars of the 11th-15th centuries – AJL] maintain that according to Rabbi Akiva, you are only commanded to treat your fellow like you would personally like yourself to be treated. Therefore, if you are very righteous and do not mind being embarrassed and disgraced, you would be allowed to treat others the same way [citations]. If you were robbed, wounded, and cursed, your fellow could be robbed, wounded, and cursed just like you [citations]. You would not have to see that your fellow has things any better than you do. They conclude that is the great principle of Ben Azzai that precludes and discards such an attitude. According to some versions of the Midrash Genesis Rabbah 24:7, Ben Azzai was in fact arguing with Rabbi Akiva because Rabbi Akiva’s rule [i.e., that “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself Leviticus 19:18 is even a greater principle - AJL] would allow one to say that since I am despised, my fellow can also be despised. Ben Azzai said of that the written verse [this verse], is the great principle of the Torah. It is from there that we learn to respect our fellow because he is created in the image of G-d. He deserves this consideration regardless of your own particular idiosyncrasies or predicament.  CASTLE 53-4
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GENESIS — 5:1 image

The foundation for loving your fellow man is in the pasuk [Scriptural verse - AJL] that when describing the generations of the human race it is written [this verse]. Ben Azzai said that this is even a greater principle than that of loving your fellow Jew.  Talmud, Yerushalmi 9:4 (sic)  Some explain that Ben Azzai said this is even a greater principle because it includes non-Jews as well (although you do not have to love them like yourself). The extent to which a non-Jew is created in the Image of G-d is the subject of much debate … [See Mishnah in Avos 3:14 Rabbi Akiva said the human being is dear because he was created in the Image (of G-d) … Yisrael is especially dear because they are called children of G-d … Tosafos Yom Tov understood from Rashi’s commentary that a non-Jew is created in the Image of G-d. He added that since they do not keep their seven commandments, they are not considered created in the Image of G-d, but in “The Image.” Maharal of Prague (who was the mentor of Tosafos Yom Tov) writes (in Netzach Yisrael ch. 11; Gevuros 67; Be’er HaGolah 6; Ner Mitzvah 10b) that the Image of G-d in which the non-Jew is created is overtaken by the physical body of the person, but that of the Jew remains spiritual. On the other hand, in the Zohar (3:104b) it says that a non-Jews is not created in the Image of G-d, and this opinion is also cited in Midrash Shmuel on Avos (3:14). Midrash Shnuel also cites R’ Chaim Vital that only the very righteous non-Jews are created in the Image of G-d. ] CASTLE 1066-7
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GENESIS — 5:1 image

When a person returns to Heaven, he is … asked if he placed his fellow Jew like a king over himself, or did he push and shove his way through life, taking out the Schulchan Aruch [Code of Jewish Law – AJL] and showing everyone that he has the right, that he comes first. Although it does not say in the Torah that you should love your friend more than yourself, and it does indicate that you come first, the willingness to waive that right might be included in Ben Azzai’s rule of [this verse]. This teaches you to honor your fellow for the reason that he is created in the image of Hashem. This dimension recognizes no limits, and should even cause you to sometimes place him first. When to place him first is an issue that should be determined by a combination of common sense and good character. One of the best times to place his interests before your own is when his need is greater than ours. This obviously cannot and should not always be the case, but sometimes we are supposed to act like that. If we never act like that, but choose to exclusively think of ourselves first, the world will become an awful place. Although you are not actually obliged to spend even one dollar to save your fellow’s millions, it is certainly the right thing to do, and it is a fulfillment of loving your fellow like yourself, even though you are not obliged to do it. There are certain exceptions to this rule, and sometimes you are absolutely obliged to perform a chesed. Bikur cholim, visiting the sick, and burying the dead are some of those exceptions. [The Gemara in Bava Metzia 30b learns from the verse in (Exodus 18:10): “And you shall inform them of the way in which they shall go in.” The word “they shall go” includes bikur cholim, and the word “in” includes burying the dead. The Gemara asks that these are already included in doing chesed which was learned from the words “of the way.”) The Gemara answers that bikur cholim includes even a person who is Ben Gilo (same age and mazel) which will cause him to take away and contract one sixtieth of the illness from him. Burying the dead includes that even a talmid chacham is obligated to bury the dead at the expense of the honor of his Torah. These are obligations that surpass the parameters of the general obligation to do chesed.]  CASTLE 77-8
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GENESIS — 20:16 cover

… the Gemara also says Berachos 19a “A person should never open his mouth to the Satan [i.e., the adversary –AJL].   This means that you should not say negative things. … It is [the] special power of the lips that makes a curse so damaging and so dangerous. The Gemara warns that one should not take lightly even a curse from a simpleton, and even from a non-Jew, as we see that Avimelech cursed Sarah, and the curse was fulfilled in her child, Yitzchak. Talmud, Bava Kama 93a, Megillah 15a. Avimelech gave a thousand pieces of silver to Avraham and said to Sarah [this verse]. This was a curse. Since she hid from him the fact that Avraham was her husband, and thus caused him to be afflicted, Avimelech cursed her that her children should have covered eyes. This was fulfilled when Yitzchak was older, and became blind.   CASTLE 402, 407-8
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GENESIS — 20:17 prayed

If someone injured you, even though he paid fully, he is not forgiven until he asks your forgiveness. [Bava Kama 92a. This is learned out from what Hashem told Avimelech to do after he had been smitten because of taking Sarah.] Chazal [Mishnah, Bava Kama 92a. Rambam, Hilchos De’os 6:6; Choshen Mishpat 422:1. This shows that you are only obliged to forgive him in order not to be cruel, but you are not in violation of bearing a grudge if you do not forgive him, even after he asked your forgiveness. However, this might be restricted to physical assault for which bearing a grudge is permitted according to most Poskim. (Mitzvos HaLevavos)] say that if you do not forgive, you are considered cruel, but you must forgive as Avraham did as it is written [this verse].  CASTLE 829-30
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GENESIS — 26:27 hate

Rav Aryeh of Bresslau (18th century) writes Teshuvos P’nei Aryeh ch. 98 that sinah is gross disgust and repulsion. It can be caused by a person’s behavior, or by his very different personality, that you cannot stand.   … this type of dislike is not a violation of harboring hatred in your heart.  This is the type of sinah that Yitzchak referred to when saying to Avimelech [this verse].  The term sinah refers here to the hatred of repulsion without wish to harm.   This may also be the type of hatred referred to when it is written “And Hashem saw that Leah was hated.” Genesis 29:31 Yaakov wished her no harm, but he wished to be somewhat distant from her. [The reason for this was because she cooperated with Lavan’s deceit. It is possible that this was repelling to Yaakov because he symbolized truth – “Grant truth to Yaakov.” [Micah 27:20 – AJL]   … Yaakov could not have actually hated her as a sinner for her role in Lavan’s fraud, because they would have then been forbidden to live together as husband and wife. Furthermore many Rishonim assert that you may not even hate a rasha [i.e., evildoer – AJL] until he has rejected your rebuke and continued sinning, which was not the case by Leah. However, that could be explained according to the Midrash that Yaakov called Leah a deceiver, the daughter of a deceiver. Leah responded that Yaakov, too, deceived his father, Yitzhak, when he pretended to be Esau. From this is seems that Yaakov did rebuke her, and she rejected his rebuke.]   CASTLE 513
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GENESIS — 27:42 kill

Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch defines sinah as the feeling that the existence of a certain person is infringing upon your own existence, and that his disappearance would help to complete and fill what you are lacking. It is the feeling that you cannot find peace and security as long as he is around. Chorev.   He adds that sinah is related to the word סנה (sneh), a thorny shrub.   The soneh wants to act as a thorn and push the other person away from him. He views the other’s existence as a hindrance to his own success, and wishes him removed. His commentary on Bereshis 22:2.   This accurately describes the mechanics of hatred, but less intense hatred is also forbidden. The wish that the other person would cease to exist is demonstrated to an extreme in the hatred of Esav toward Yaakov. Rivka told Yaakov [this verse]. Rashi explains in the name of the Midrash that, in his (Esav’s) eyes Yaakov was already dead, and he drank the cup of consolation, which is customary for close relatives of the deceased to drink, over him. Esav’s hatred was so intense that he had felt as though Yaakov had already ceased to exist. CASTLE 514
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