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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

'Love Your Neighbor as Yourself' is wrong

By Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo




A world-renowned lecturer and ambassador for Judaism and the Jewish people explains how a biblical value is distorted


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In a world that is filled with much animosity, the concept of universal love has become a famous and much discussed topic. We are taught that only when all people begin loving each other equally will our multitude of problems be solved and universal peace prevail. Any discrimination whereby we love some people more than others will lead to hatred, jealousy and more problems.

To emphasize this philosophy we are reminded that it is indeed the biblical view as well. The famous verse "Love your neighbor as [you love] yourself" (Lev. 19:18) is often quoted by those who are convinced that we are in need of universal equal love.

It is therefore most remarkable that the Talmud records a famous anecdote (Bava Metzia 62a) that seems to challenge the very concept of equal love for all. It relates a story about two people who are traveling in the desert. One of them has a flask of water, but it contains only enough to enable one of them to reach civilization alive. What should they do?

Based on the principle of universal and equal love, it is better for them to share the water, even though neither one will survive, rather than to have one of them drink all the water and watch the other die.

Indeed, this is the opinion of Ben Petura, one of the Sages of the talmudic era. It is most surprising, however, that he is opposed by one of the greatest Sages of all time, Rabbi Akiva.


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The latter disagrees and insists that the owner of the flask should drink all of the water and live. He should certainly try to save his fellow man's life but only after he has guaranteed his own survival.

According to Rabbi Akiva, this is not just a suggestion, which the pious may ignore so as to prove their limitless love for their fellow men; it is the law and it may never be violated. What is even more surprising is the fact that it is Rabbi Akiva who elsewhere in the Oral Tradition makes it abundantly clear that the law of loving one's neighbor as oneself is "the greatest principle of the Torah"! (Bereishis Rabbah 24:7, Sifra 89b.)

How did Rabbi Akiva issue this ruling, which seems to run contrary to the very biblical verse that he considers to be the ultimate principle of the Torah? After all, the Torah clearly says to love one's neighbor as much as one loves oneself. No doubt Ben Petura was right and he, Rabbi Akiva, was mistaken.

The answer is that Rabbi Akiva did not believe that one could ever love a person as much as one loves oneself. This, he felt, is humanly impossible. Self-preservation is the first law of nature by which all human beings live, and only through that self-love can one love another.

This is indeed what the verse suggests. Love your neighbor [which you can do only if] you love yourself. But even more important is the fact that the Torah does not really say that you should love your neighbor as much as you love yourself, in which case it would have written Ve-ahavta es re'acha kamocha. What the biblical text does say is, "Ve-ahavta le -re'acha kamocha"-- the love you show toward your neighbor should be as much as the love you feel for yourself.

This means that you need not love your neighbor as much as you love yourself, but all good things that you wish for yourself you should also wish for your neighbor. (See Ramban on Lev. 19:17 and Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch on Lev. 19:18)

The notion of loving all people equally is a farce, and in fact destructive. Imagine a man going down on his knees to propose marriage to the woman he loves, and he says: "My darling, I love you. I love you so much. I love you as much as I love…as much as I love… as much as I love that other woman, the one walking down the street over there…Oh, and that one, too, riding her bike past the newspaper stand. I love you exactlyas much as I love all my previous girlfriends… I love you as much as I love everybody else on this planet…" (See Ze'ev Maghen, "Imagine: On Love and Lennon," Azure (Shalem Press, Spring, 1999) pp. 139-140) What would you think of that man?


We live for love. We are prepared to give up anything to experience it. But we should never forget that love means preference. No one craves universal love. You love a person because he is special, because she is different, not because she is just like everybody else. And because love is the greatest and most unusual thing that can ever befall man, it is love that motivates us in ways that nothing else can. It gets us out of bed in the morning and makes us feel warm and tingly inside. It causes us to do heroic things, make sacrifices and show unprecedented loyalty. He who aspires to love everyone equally has no idea what love is about and will not be able to love anyone.

It was Joseph Stalin and Mao Tse-tung who tried to create a world of universal love. Their world became one in which people dressed, ate, talked and thought the same—a world without love, warmth and joy. It was an invitation to disaster. This is also the mistaken philosophy of those who are followers of Hare Krishna, Buddhism and other Far Eastern beliefs—perhaps even of Christianity's universal love as demonstrated during the time of the crusades. Love cannot be distributed in equal portions. One should no doubt respect everybody and try to care for them, but to believe that the world would improve were we to eliminate the notion of special love for special people is a terrible mistake.

Our world will improve only when we realize the truth of Rabbi Akiva's interpretation.

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JWR contributor Rabbi Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo is a world-renowned lecturer and ambassador for Judaism, the Jewish people, the State of Israel and Sephardic Heritage.

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© 2013, Rabbi Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo

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