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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 — 1:27 image

Judaism certainly prohibits embarrassing someone else publicly. Indeed, rabbinic statements compare public shaming of a person to killing him or her, for one Hebrew way of saying “shaming another” is malbin p’nai havero b’rabbim – literally,” making his friend’s face white in public,” just as it becomes white in death. B. Bava Metz’ia 58b  Moreover … an assailant must pay for the embarrassment caused to the victim and his or her family for causing a personal injury. The Talmud, in fact, engages in a sophisticated discussion of the nature of shame, asking whether the heart of it is the victim’s degradation in the public’s esteem, in the victim’s own sense of self-worth, or in the victim’s family’s embarrassment. The sources within the tradition that proscribe shaming others are all corollaries to the underlying theological principle of Judaism that human beings are worthy of respect as creatures of G-d created in the Divine image [this verse].  Some things, though, take priority over this prohibition. Specifically, as in the case of defamatory speech, when shaming another is not done out of meanness or indifference but is rather an outgrowth of a practical or moral necessity, it is justified, permitted, and, in some cases, required. For example, if someone is committing fraud, a person who discovers this is not only allowed but is also duty bound to expose the fraud. Even though that will inevitably embarrass the perpetrator, the overriding needs are to protect any future victims and to enable those who have already been defrauded to recover what they can. If such monetary protections supersede the concern of shaming another, preventing bodily injury or even death does so all the more. As in the case of defamatory speech, we may not stand idly by but must rather expose the abusers so as to stop the abuse and get help for his or her victims. This is demanded … both under the laws of rodef (the pursuer) and also under its legal roots, the requirement to violate all but three of the Commandments of the Torah [i.e., adultery/incest, idolatry, murder - AJL] in order to save the life of another (pikkuah nefesh). Identifying an abuser will inevitably cause him or her shame, and we should not do that anymore than necessary. The Torah, after all, demands that we respect even the executed body of a murder by not letting it remain unburied overnight.  Deuteronomy 21:23 But we are not only permitted but also required to override our concern for the perpetrator to stop the abuse and to get help for the victims.  DORFFLOV 183-4
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GENESIS — 1:27 image

Man is made up of both body and soul (with attributes of both angels and earthly creatures -- Genesis Rabbah 14:3) and each has legitimate needs. … Jewish holiness believes that the needs of the body should be satisfied, but only for a spiritual purpose.  By using the physical enjoyment of the body as a means to honor G-d, the act becomes holy.   AMEMEI 100
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GENESIS — 1:27 image

Many have understood the g-dliness in man’s ability to create in the world, just as G-d creates in the world.  It is that ability to do something new that makes man G-dly, unlike any other creature created by G-d.  This concept seems to encourage all types of creativity by man, including all scientific breakthroughs such as cloning.  AMJV 54
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GENESIS — 1:27 image

Numerous sources indicate the caring that Judaism demonstrates for all non-Jews in general.  For example, the special prayer of praise recited on every festival by Jews is called Hallel.  On every festival all the numerous paragraphs (from the Psalms) are chanted.  However, on the last six days of Passover, two paragraphs are omitted and only “half Hallel” is recited.  Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 490:4.  Why are these paragraphs of praise omitted?  The Talmud answers that since the Egyptians drowned at the end of the original Passover, it would be inappropriate to sing praise of G-d.  However, these were the Egyptians who murdered and tortured thousands of Jews, who kept Jews enslaved with backbreaking work for two hundred ten years?  Nevertheless, says G-d, every human being is His creation and we must be sad when a human life is lost, even that of an enemy. Megillah 10b This is also why Jews remove ten symbolic drops at the Passover seder, to deny a full cup of joy, as many Egyptians suffered through the Ten Plagues.  Since non-Jews are creations of G-d, they also have within them the Divine Image given to every human being.  See also discussion at Numbers 29:12-36. AMEMEI 192
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GENESIS — 1:27 image

Once we appreciate that all human beings are created in G-d’s image, it is evident that a negative generalization about another religious or ethnic group, or displaying disrespect toward those who are not of our faith, is also an offence against G-d.  Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, the sixteenth-century kabbalist, explains: “This may be likened to an expert goldsmith who fashions a vessel with great skill, but when he displays his work, one of the people begins to mock and scorn it. How angry that goldsmith will be; for by disparaging his handiwork, one disparages his wisdom.  Similarly it is evil in the sight of the Holy One, blessed be He, if any of His creatures is despised” (The Palm Tree of Dvorah [Tomer Dvorah], chapter 2). Therefore, it is wrong for Jews to use terms such as shaygetz or shiksa (meaning, literally, “an abomination”) when referring to a non-Jewish man or woman. Although very few Jews are aware of just how ugly this word is, people should realize that if they are speaking in English and refer to another group in a foreign language, the word they use is probably not a term of endearment.  TELVOL 2:286-7
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GENESIS — 1:27 image

One who (intentionally) does not have children is equated to a murderer [since the verse “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed” Genesis 9:6 is immediately followed by “And you, be fruitful and multiply” Genesis 9:7;] or one who diminishes the image of G-d, since denying children to come into the world denies more of the image of G-d in the world. Yevamot 63b.  AMEMEI 313
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GENESIS — 1:27 image

Rabbi Abraham Twerski notes how healthy self-esteem enables a person to heed many important ethical admonitions of the Sages, while low self-esteem discourages one from doing so.  People with a healthy self-image: * are more apt to judge others fairly and favorably, as urged by The Ethics of the Fathers 1:6, because, unlike people with low self-esteem, they do not need to disparage others to raise themselves in their own eyes * have no need to feel superior or in control; thus they show respect and honor to others rather than demanding recognition The Ethics of the Fathers 1:10 “Despise lording it over others” and The Ethics of the Fathers 2:10 “Let your fellow’s honor be as dear to you as your own”) * tend to associate with the wise and avoid the ignorant, because they don’t need to be with people to whom they feel superior The Ethics of the Fathers 1:4 “Let your house be a meeting place for the Sages” * are likelier to welcome constructive criticism. Because they believe they can improve, such peoples are usually not afraid to have their weaknesses pointed out to them Proverbs 19:20 “Listen to advice…in order that you may be wise in the end” TELVOL 1:240
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