Part Two of “The Holiness Factor” (Parsha Kedoshim).
Leviticus is called “the heart of the Torah” because of the number of mitzvot it contains. This Parsha (Torah Portion) alone contains 51 mitzvot (commandments or obligations), including the biggee to “Love your kinsman (fellow) as yourself: I am the LORD.” [Vayikra/Leviticus 19:18].
Rabbi Akiva said loving your kinsman is a fundamental principle of the Torah.
Rabbi Hillel is famous for his take on loving your fellow:
What is hateful to you do not to another, that is the whole of the Torah, all the rest is commentary.
Yet within this very same Torah passage, we are told to “Reprove your kinsman, and incur no guilt (or sin) because of him.” [Vayikra/Leviticus 19:17]
This Parsha tells us that love, self-love and rebuke are interconnected, obligating us to reprove a person for their wrong-doings, without carrying their sin and guilt.
We can see from this verse that boundaries, accountability, communication and corrective emotional experiences are pivotal aspects of the “Holiness Code.”
To clarify, there are parameters on the art of reproving in Jewish Law. We must always endeavor to reprove privately to prevent from humiliating someone in front of others. Additionally, we must never reprove out of vengeance or spite.
Reproving is an earnest and conscientious dialogue intended to clear the air on wrong-doings that have inflicted harm upon yourself or others. Repression is toxic, therefore Tochecha (rebuke) allows you to speak your Truth in the interests of health and well-being.
1. Can love your fellow “as yourself,” if you don’t feel that you love yourself?
I believe we can love others and show love for others without necessarily loving ourselves.
Sometimes we love ourselves without even realizing it, by engaging in activities that bring us moments of solace, healing and joy. Enjoying a favorite dessert or coffee, a stroll in the park, listening to or playing music, spending time with our pets, watching our favorite movie…are all expressions of self-love. Another way we can love ourselves is by communicating our love language to the people that love us.
The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman:
2. Does loving your fellow necessarily involve emotional love?
There are different types of love. We can love our fellow by behaving kindly and respectfully. Caretaking is love. Compassion is love. Acknowledgment is love. Human dignity is love. Helping someone to achieve a life goal is love.
3. In this Parsha we learn that love, self-love and rebuke dovetail. We’re also instructed not to take on another person’s sin or guilt.
How do you feel about reproving or being reproved as defined in Jewish Law?
Have you ever carried the burden of another person’s sin or guilt?
What are your thoughts? I would love to hear!
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Stay tuned for tomorrow’s Rosh Hashanah post. 🍎🍯
Torah — first Five Book of Moses — Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.