Parshat Hashavua Kedoshim
Contributed by Rav Nissim Mordechai Makor
Parshat Hashavua Kedoshsim in a nutshell
This weeks Parshat Kedoshim covers many mitzvot including the prohibition against idolatry, the mitzvah of charity, the principle of equality before the law, Shabbat, sexual morality, honesty in business, honor and awe of one’s parents, and the sacredness of life.
Let us now examine the Parsha
"Lo sikom ve'lo sitor es bnei amecha, ve'ahavta le'rayecha kamocha, ani Hashem." Leviticus 19:18
"You shall not take revenge and you shall not bear a grudge against the members of your people; you shall love your fellow as yourself, I am Hashem. "
How could the Torah command us to keep a mitzvah that is so against nature -- loving a stranger to the same extent that you love yourself ? Chazal has taught us that if your life is in danger, your life's safety takes precedence to that of others -- this seems a contradiction to the imperative to love others as much as you love yourself. Also, why is it necessary for the Torah to tell us that these commandments apply to members of our own people ? All Torah commandments, by default, apply to and between members of own people and not gentiles. How could the Torah command us to keep a mitzvah that is so against nature -- loving a stranger to the same extent that you love yourself ?
Chazal has taught us that if your life is in danger, your life's safety takes precedence to that of others -- this seems a contradiction to the imperative to love others as much as you love yourself. Also, why is it necessary for the Torah to tell us that these commandments apply to members of our own people ? All Torah commandments, by default, apply to and between members of own people and not gentiles.
Once we understand that there are few new souls and that present souls on Earth once existed in the bodies of previous incarnations, the commandment not to feel any hatred or animosity to each other becomes clearer. Suppose there are two men, Reuvain and Shimon, who currently have no relation to each other, there is a possibility, however remote, that they were brothers or
father/son to each other in a previous incarnation. Then if Reuvain hates Shimon today, he may be hating his father, son or brother.
To illustrate this point, there once was a mother-in-law who hated her daughter-in-law with a strong despicable hatred from the time she first set her eyes on her. The fights she had with and animosity she felt for her was constant which made this daughter-in-law prefer a fate of death rather than live with her mother-in-law. The reason that this woman hated her daughter- in-law was
because she once had a beautiful daughter who was precious to her beyond measure. Fifteen years before her son married, her daughter died and the mother never stopped mourning her loss. When her son's betrothed came into the mother's house, her stature, beauty and features reminded her of her daughter. Seeing her brought back painful memories of her loss causing her to
direct her hatred and anger toward this young woman. One night, this woman's late husband appeared to her in a dream; he asked her how long she will continue to oppress her daughter-in-law. He said that if she knew her true identity she would continuously shower her with kisses and affection. This young woman, the wife of our son, has the same soul of our daughter. For this reason, she looks, acts and carries herself like our daughter. When our daughter died, our son's wife was born and our daughter's soul was transferred into her infant body. Hashem in his mercy and love for us has sent our daughter back to our home. When you torture her, you torture your own daughter. When the widow heard this, she trembled and shook herself awake,
letting out a cry of joy because she realized that her daughter was alive in her daughter-in-law. She rose up, entered the room where her daughter-in-law slept and hugged and kissed her. And from then on she loved her like a daughter.
Whoever who has any brains should keep very distant from the attributes of hate or revenge because possibly the one he is directing these emotions toward may be a loved one. The Torah tells us that these emotions should not be directed to the members of your own tribe because another Jew may have the soul of your relative in a previous incarnation. The word "amecha" in the verse should be read as if the vowel chirik was under the letter ayin rather than a patach. This indicates that your brethren may be someone who is "with" you, namely someone in your own immediate family.