Friday, January 24, 2014

Respect your Enemy - D'var Torah and Discussion - January 24, 2014

This commentary was developed over the course of a week with members of different classes and groups commenting on these verses.  In our discussion at the service, some of the key points shared were:

  • "Enemy" in Hebrew in these verses is "the one who hates you." 
  • The Torah started with being considerate of the animal of one's enemy.  We agreed that it is easier to be positive to the animal of your enemy than to treat your enemy himself/herself with respect. 
  • This section goes from fairness/justice regardless of the person - a change in behavior, not a change in attitude - to the quotes in Proverbs and from Avot D'Rabi Natan, which call for us to change our attitude and have a generous spirit towards our enemy, at least from afar, or to engage that enemy enough to become a friend.   In Pirkei Avot, the "hero" is one who subdues/conquers his/her evil inclination.  In Avot D'Rabi Natan, one who turns an enemy into a friend is an even greater hero.  

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