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Friday, April 25

The Weekly Shtikle - Kedoshim

    This week's parsha may be short but it also contains the highest mitzvah density (or mitzvos-per-pasuk, 0.8 if you're counting) of any parsha. Perhaps the most well-known mitzvah of all would have to be (19:18) ve'ahavta lerei'acha kamocha, which children are taught at a very young age and even gentiles unfamiliar with the Bible are aware of. It is interesting to note, however, the context in which this famous phrase appears. The mitzvos which precede this one are not to hate one's friend and to rebuke them when they have done something wrong and not to take revenge or bear a grudge against one's friend.
    It would seem that the Torah is teaching a very simple lesson here. The true test of friendship is when things are not so peachy. When one sees his friend acting in a manner not in accordance with the Torah and must rebuke him or if one friend happens to wrong the other, if they are able to pull through those situations in the proper way as prescribed by the Torah then they will be able to achieve the level of ahavah between friends which is expected of us. At the same time, the Torah also seems to be delivering a message about rebuke. It is not simply a matter of preventing a transgression. It is discussed in the context of loving your neighbour because it must be done out of love for a fellow Jew and concern for their spiritual well-being, not just a form of citizen's law enforcement.

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

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