Values Index - Israel and the Nations

I have extended my hand not only towards our brothers in distress but also towards those not of the Covenant in order to help them meet their needs. I did so with Nikephoros the Despot of the Greek Orthodox Church, who was left destitute after escaping from the fire set to his palace. I supported him with all my might and took him into my home until the furor passed. During the thirty days of his stay under my roof, messages were sent to him by Consul Rousso, inviting him to come to stay at his abode for respite. He replied: The honorable sire has been preceded by the rabbi whose mercy and faithfulness have been steadfast since the beginning of the revolution, and I will never forget him.

Bracha Rivlin, Rabbi Abraham Bechor Evlagon and His Writings on Crete and its Jews, Pa'amim 39, p. 128 – 129, Ben Zvi Institute, 1989

"Noticing Joseph's sons, Israel asked, Who are these?" He foresaw that Jeroboam, son of Nevet, would issue from Ephraim, and Jahu, son of Nimshi from Manasseh, and therefore wondered, “Where did these come from, they do not deserve a blessing”. "Bring them to me," he said, “that I may bless them." Here is an attribute of the righteous, who look at the positive aspect of things, and by so doing have physical and spiritual influence. This certainly is an attribute of the Holy One, blessed be He, about whom it says, "abounding in kindness". In Tractate Rosh Hashanah, our Sages, of blessed memory, said that the Holy One, blessed be He, tends to kindness, meaning that even a person whose good deeds are found to equal his misdeeds gains the privilege of being next to righteous persons in the World-to-Come.

Zichronot Avraham, VaYehi Torah reading portion, pp. 104-105, published by the family, 2009
"…to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is just and right. The way of God and his faith is a doctrine of doing righteousness and justice. Mere laws and constitutions do not suffice. The human world and its society will bring waste and destruction upon the entire universe unless their wisdom and research are not integrated with justice and charity, truth and equality, and with the right to exist for all those created in the Divine image, with no discrimination of race, color or religion. World repair in the Kingdom of Heaven will be made possible, and the dwellers of the universe and residents of earth will reach this lofty state only by loving their fellow man, protecting his rights and doing what is just and right, "for in these things I delight, declares the LORD".
Eshed Hanechlim, Part 3, p. 112 – 113, Raphael Ben Haim Hacohen Press, Jerusalem, 2009
Concerning the mekharb qibla at the entrance, such as have the Ishmaelites in their place of worship – I have heard that the Sultan Murad Laffa came here, to Aram Tzova, in the year 5394 (1634) on his way to conquering Babylonia from the Persians - who had conquered it from him a second time. He entered this synagogue, saw that it harbored no foreign worship nor any image or idol and said: This place is worthy of a mekharb, and did not leave until he had it installed.
Holech Tamim VePo'el Tzedek, p. 44. Printed in Jerusalem, 1978
Maran [Our Master] wrote in the Shulkhan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah, Section 125, rule 10: "If a non-Jew carries an open vessel containing wine etc., if it is full – it is forbidden to enjoy it, in case he has touched it etc." In my modest opinion, it appears that in our day non-Jews are not proficient in the nature of foreign worship and have no desire to touch the wine; there is no need to suspect that they touch it [with the intention of foreign worship] in those cases where stealing or drinking from it is not suspected. Therefore in all such examples it is permitted, even for drinking.
Ginat Vradim, Section Orah Haim, Gan HaMelech, paragraph 4, Yismach Lev Publishing, Jerusalem, 2008

"Shall I hide from Abraham that which I am about to do?" At this crucial moment in the history of the world and of humanity, we hear of the Divine deliberation before He pronounces His judgement and passes sentence on people and nations. Here we meet up with the difference between these two personalities, between Noah and Abraham. Both were put in similar situations, and the LORD announced his sentence to both of them. Noah takes no responsibility for humanity, for he does not have a sense of duty towards the entire world. He is one of those survivors who saved their own souls and while the world was destroyed. Only Noah, of his entire generation, remained alive. Abraham, in his case, was designated for a role, chosen for a vocation. He marches into history as the first to announce the sovereignty of God. Why did Abraham obtain this privilege? "For I have singled him out, that he may instruct his children and his posterity to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is just and right."

Avnei Hen, Vayerah weekly Torah reading portion, pp. 24-25, Jerusalem, 1995

"Abraham was but one man, yet he was granted possession of the Land. We are many; surely, the land has been given as a possession to us". The Holy One, blessed be He, called Abraham, naming him the father of a multitude of nations. This means that the entire world is named after him, and he is named the father of all people. Maimonides could, according to this, determine that a convert of whatever origin can say "As You promised an oath to our fathers", for he (Abraham) was named "father of multitudes" – for all the world's nations. Despite Abraham having been "but one man", since he inherited the Land and "we are many" and are referred to as "multitudes", Abraham is apparently our father and, if so, "the land has been given as a possession to us", that is, as part of our inheritance. The Holy One, blessed be He, replies, "You eat the blood, you raise your eyes to your fetishes, and you shed blood – yet you expect to possess the land"?! Meaning to say that you are not named after him unless you behave as he did – to fulfill the Torah and its commandments. You will possess the land – as mentioned above and as Maimonides wrote, since he was named father of a multitude of nations – the lands belong to everyone under the Shechina's canopy.

Sdeh Ha'aretz, Part 2, Kedoshim Torah Reading portion, p.15b, Mordecai Nachman and Leon Kalay Printing, Salonica, 1784

"May your home be open wide" to provide food and drink, to meet the wants of all needy people and appease the hungry of all origins. This is the attribute of our father Abraham, may he rest in peace, who sustained all passersby, circumcised or not, as is written, "and he planted a tamarisk at Beer-Sheba", interpreted by our Sages, of blessed memory, to mean: food, drink and lodging. Our father Abraham, may he rest in peace, excelled in the virtue of charity and the virtue of compassion, taking pity on all creatures, and the Holy One, blessed be He, promised that this attribute would not abandon his descendants, as is written: "…that he may instruct his children and his posterity to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is just and right".

Or LaYesharim, in Ner Yair, p. 26, Midan Publishing, Bnei Brak, 1996
When you reply with the verse "neither will you walk in their statutes" I say that this refers only to false beliefs and despicable practices. Otherwise, pray tell, how might an Israelite believe in angels – just as "they" do? How is one to believe in the resurrection of the dead when it was a fundamental belief cherished by the Egyptians? How could we offer sacrifices while they did as well, and how are we to pray, seeing as they did so too? All that can be said is that the verse refers only to those beliefs and actions from which the Torah distanced itself, otherwise we would be at a loss in trying to observe it… and the abhorrence of falsehood will annul the love of it.
Tzori Gilead, in Tradition in the Modern Age, Rabbi Yitzhak Chouraqui Ed., pp.36-37, Yedioth Aharonoth Press, Tel Aviv, 2009

Our eternal values, those of our saintly predecessors' holy Torah, deeply engraved in our hearts, are what filled our spirits with life and overpowered the spirits of our foes. These lofty values must continue to serve as our guiding light and must be maintained as the foundations of our existence as the nation of Torah in our holy land. We must follow their light and illuminate the darkness surrounding us with them, and spread this light among the nations and countries, as our Sages said: "In the future, Jerusalem will be the beacon for all lands". I would add that our nation will, in the future, be the light shining from that beacon, as the prophet said, "And nations shall walk by your light, Kings by your shining radiance".

In Commemoration of Rabbi Eliyahu Pardes, p. 132, published by the Municipality of Jerusalem, 1974
For God will enlarge his territory…It is good to give many gifts, not those for the poor and for Torah scholars – those will be considered as charity. One should open one’s hand from time to time with a worthy gift, in keeping with how the LORD has blessed him, and do so for all people, for they are all human beings. This is the way for one to increase peace, love and goodwill, obtain a good reputation, and gain the respect of others; this will be considered as a great deed.
One should open one’s hand not only for the People of Israel, but for non-Jews as well, as King Solomon, may he rest in peace, says, “Send your bread forth upon the waters; for after many days you will find it”.
Peleh Yo’etz, note 40, p. 206, Jerusalem, Kerem Shlomo Publishing, 1963
The reason for which Man is created by man and woman, and not from earth as was Adam, is that if he were made from earth there would be no love or brotherhood in the world. Each person would be unto himself and have no closeness to others. Violent people would overcome and kill their brethren and there would be no trace of peace in the world, and so the world would diminish itself. This is not the case because being born of woman, the love of fathers and mothers for their children increases, as does that of children for their parents, and brothers toward each other, uniting as one in love, brotherhood, peace and friendship, so that the world remains steadfast.
Tzur Yaakov, Genesis, p. 9. Izmir, 1866

"…for in return the LORD your God will bless you in all your efforts and in all your undertakings", the necessary condition being that the charity given by the person be from what the Almighty has granted him, each person from the work he has done or from commerce done in good faith. Not, heaven forbid, from theft, for the Almighty abhors theft. Giving charity (from what one has obtained) through theft or robbery, even if stolen from a non-Jew or the like, will not only not be considered the fulfillment of a commandment but will act as a curse, and strengthen the sitra akhra (dark side). Any suspicion of theft or of oppression in charity, makes each penny rise towards the Holy One, blessed by He, in vilification, in particular when it is obtained through theft from a non-Jew. That nation's angel immediately rises in denunciation to the effect that the act of charity originates in his nation's monies, and instead of the deed acting on one's behalf, it acts as prosecution, heaven forbid.

Tehila leDavid, Part A, p. 77a, Yetomei Bezalel HaLavy Ashkenazi Press, Salonika, 1835

What was said by our Master and Rabbi Samuel de Medina, that “This custom is learned from foreigners…and we are to follow their custom” clarifies that customs of merchants may annul Halakha. There is always something to learn, even from the widespread customs of non-Jews. See in HaKnesset HaGedola, read Mateh Shimon and read Mekor Baruch, where it is written that in all that concerns laws governing money, custom is foremost and even the customs of non-Jews are learned by Jews.

Yedei David, section 18, p.22a, Sa’adi Halevy, Salonika 1867

Why did Isaac think he had to bless Esau more than he did Jacob? One can hardly even consider that he hated Jacob, heaven forbid… Isaac knew that Jacob occupied himself with Torah study, and did not require a blessing, for Torah rises upward and adds to one's credit. The reason he did not want to bless him was because it wasn't necessary, and so that he would not depend on his blessing and shirk from Torah learning; this was not the case with Esau, who had no Torah learning and therefore did require a blessing.

Torat HaMelech, Sermon 11, p.6, printed by Yitzhak Ben Shalom Haddad, Idan, Cohen and Tzabban Press, Djerba, 1945

You who are Man's Guardian, grant our hands the strength that guards the paths of justice, instill in our hearts the ways of Your love and wholehearted awe of You, they will increase our valor. You, whose eyes see the entire world in a moment's glance, plant the seed of peace in the hearts of all residents of Khaled, that they may love one another and be devoted to each other as brothers, as good and loyal friends, and all be as one, that they may offer songs of love and gratitude to You for Your having bestowed Your majesty upon them.

Ben Zuqunim, Part Two, p. 75, Eliezer Saadon Publishing, Livorno 1793
"Love your fellow as yourself" – To say that a man love his fellow man, and come to his assistance, is not required between Israel and their brethren, but that it also be thus with our neighbors – who are not Jews. One must be loving with them, and pursue their wellbeing and benefit. We are obligated to do so not only because it is common sense, but by the holy Torah, whose ways are pleasant ways, and all its paths are peace. The wicked Egyptians … tormented us very much, and as we know, there was no harsh labor they did not force upon us. This is the reason that the Torah commands us to overcome and not to hate them. Why? Because we were strangers in their land. All the more so concerning the nations in our day, who are not idolaters, and who dwell in their lands as strangers and residents without disgrace. We are certainly obligated to be loving and friendly with them.
And if they are, heaven forbid, in distress, we are also obligated to share in their distress and be in sorrow for them… in the sense that we are certainly obligated to all the nations and it is our duty to love them, as a man loves his fellow man. In this way they will recognize the fact and know that the Torah we have is complete, and leads us in the true way, and all the world's peoples will see that the Name of the Lord is called upon us.
Divrei Hizkiahu, p. 256 - 257, Rabbi Ezra Haim Hashalem Printing, Damascus, Aram Tzuba, 1921

"…he cried with a great and exceedingly bitter cry" when he spoke and did not remain silent, so that he bless him, and said to his father, "Bless me, me also, O Father!"! The words 'me also' seem superfluous. For although Jacob needed and received the blessings, this is no reason to reject me entirely. I, too, am your son, bless me with another blessing, as did your father with Ishmael, who prayed until the LORD said to him, "And I have heard you, Ishmael", despite his having been considered a wicked person.

Rabbi Haim Aboulafia's Complete Writings, Volume 2, Yosef Lakakh, Toldot Reading Portion, p. 106, Machon Hama'or Institute, Jerusalem, 1983

Jacob sent actual angels to Esau! What was his purpose? Messengers would have sufficed. It was to indicate the greatness of peace. That is what the text of the Jerusalem Talmud means, in saying that angels are half fire and half water, and that He who makes peace in His heavens made the angels thus to show that it is best to be at peace. This is what he meant to indicate to Esau, that he be at peace with him…Jacob's most passionate wish was to make peace with Esau. The parable told by our Sages, of blessed memory, is well-known: With what shall I bless you? If with children – these you have; if with wealth – this you have. This explains the difficulty presented by what it says, asking which blessing Jacob required. For he had children, and wealth as well. What did he seek? Peace. This why the Birkat Cohanim says "…and grant you peace", that he might have it with his brother Esau, for that was his passionate wish.

Haim MiYerushalaim, p. 265, Samuel Halevi Zuckerman Press, Jerusalem 1882

The laws of foreign worship no longer apply to the non-Jewish nations. Therefore, even were "Israel to have a mighty hand" we would not be obliged, in any sense whatsoever, to treat the nations of our day according to the laws applying to idolatry. In all that concerns the relations between Jews and non-Jews, both in Israel and abroad, this means that these relations are not to be maintained only "because of peaceful ways", but because by Halachic definition they no longer engage in foreign worship. Therefore, ensuring their livelihood, visiting their sick, burying their dead, and comforting the mourners among them are all to be done out of moral obligation.

'Aseh Lecha Rav, Part 9, question 30, p. 73, The Committee for the Publication of HaGaon Rav Haim David Halevy, Tel Aviv, 1986

"One sustains poor non-Jews along with poor Jews…on account of 'the ways of peace' (fostering peaceful relations between Jews and non-Jew)". End quote. By writing "along with" our masters might seem to have meant only "along with the poor Jews", and that if the non-Jews are on their own, they are not to be sustained. This seems to be implied by what RASHI wrote in his explanation of what follows in the Talmudic verse, "and one buries dead non-Jews along with dead Jews": "If he found them dead among (dead) Jews". Which means we are obliged to do so, along with dead Jews. This is also the law concerning sustenance. But concerning what RASH"I said, the RA"N (Rabbeinu Nissim Gironi), of blessed memory, wrote that this is not necessarily so; the law applies even when one encounters a dead non-Jew on their own – they are taken care on account of the ways of peace. He brings evidence from the Jerusalem Talmud, which did not teach "with" in any of these cases…Therefore, we are to understand that "with" is based on a Braitha, and is not necessarily the case, and that poor non-Jews are to be sustained on account of the ways of peace on their own as well, as written in the Jerusalem Talmud and by the RA"N, as well.

Nochakh HaShulcham, Yoreh De'ah, section 11
The excellent and joyous ingathering will make our holy land a land of liberty, and will "proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof" with no religious differentiation. For persons of all nations will follow their G-d and we will follow in G-d's path for ever.
The Writings of Rabbi Yehuda Alkalai; Volume 2, Meoded Aniim, p. 607, Mossad Harav Kook Press, Jerusalem 1974
Basic morals are universal, and termed "the ways of the land" in Aramaic, referring to the type of natural human behavior that enables life in human society, as simple as it sounds. I must begin by acknowledging that I have been created and that I have been granted my existence by the Creator…
I must also acknowledge that the other is a creation of the same Creator as well and that we both share a task, which is to solve the equation of brotherhood, through mutual respect between two individuals that are of equal value, without transforming the other into an object or imposing a master-slave relation on him…
There is morality among non-Jews, principally among the Righteous of the Nations who understood the importance of adopting and cultivating those values that are, in a sense, the prelude to sanctity. The Righteous of the Nations have the sincere intention to construct a human society in which the other is protected and can live.
Sod Midrash Hatoladot A, Malcei Tzedek, pp. 199-200, Dudu Press, Kiryat Arba (or Hava Press, Beit El) 2009

"Arise, O God, judge the earth, for all the nations are Your possession." Since judges do not necessarily judge faithfully, You must judge the earth and save the oppressed from their oppressors, which is why "Arise, O God, judge the earth" is written. This means judgment of the poor and deprived people of the entire world. I am not chagrined only by the injustice committed towards the poor (of the nation of) Israel but by the oppressed and poor of all the world's nations, whose judges distort their sentence; I pray that You may judge them for You are, indeed, the LORD for all the nations in Your possession. You created them, and commanded them to be just - one of the seven (Noahide) laws. You commanded them, and You are therefore to avenge all the oppressed and sustain them in justice.

Meir Tov, Psalms, p. 397, commentary on Chapter 82, verse 8, Hevrat Ohev Shalom Publishing, 2002
The haskama [decree] reached by a minority within the community, according to which he is to close the shop he opened…their reason being that it appears to them that it causes damage to those passing through the public domain, since the location where the shop opened is a juncture of the world's four winds, and Sons of the Covenant [bnei brit, i.e. Jewish people], as well as others - who are not Sons of the Covenant - congregate there. And when the shop is set up there for buying and selling even more people congregate, bringing on additional damage. The women on their way to the ritual bath must pass by there, and they pass by the non-Jewish people who have come to buy from the vendor, and must return to bathe again, at times their bathing may be prevented due to the presence of non-Jewish people that might perchance be there…
We considered the haskama and the reasons it cites… and saw that it is constructed along unformed lines and upon void fundaments, and that they have no clear reason…to shut down his shop, which he built in the public domain, in a place where people come and go. Where, if not there, should he set up shop?! As a matter of fact, it is a place fit for a shop, since it is public domain, and a place where people come and go. To withhold his livelihood and deprive him of income…it is certain that they have not the right to deprive a person of income so as to satisfy their wish, no person would ever say so.
And as to the damage they consider is caused by the shop to those in the public domain, we saw no additional damage being caused, even according to their claim, for the location is indeed a juncture of the world's four winds, where people come and go, both Sons of the Covenant and those who are not Sons of the Covenant. If so, what is to be gained or lost in setting up shop to sell olive oil and butter and honey in that place, since it is fit for passersby and it is a large market…?
It is but a pretext they seek, and slanderous words to ignite the fire and the raise the flames - in order to have more fights and arguments with the shop owner. Whether they have a conflict with him or not, they have discovered an excuse to create disharmony, as is their custom. For nowhere do we find that a townspeople can hold back an individual, who is one of them, from setting up shop in the public domain to earn a livelihood…neither did we find that a shop was disallowed in town because the women pass by the shop on their way to the bathhouse. Such things are done every day, in all places.
Tokfo shel Yoseph, Part 1, paragraph 20, p. 23. Bnei Issachar Sephardi Library Publishing, Jerusalem, 2004

"Do not disparage any person" means not even a non-Jew, as wrote the Tosphot, 'a' person means a Jew in particular and 'the' person a non-Jew as well. That is what "any person" (all persons) means, whether 'the' - a Jew, or 'a' – a non-Jew. The reason is brought by Tankhuma: "You are busy maligning your brother, defaming the son of your mother" - 'maligning your brother' Esau (Christians), leads to 'defaming the son of your mother' and one of your own nation. For if you accustom your tongue to speak disparagingly to the non-Jew you will speak thus of a wicked Jew, imagining that it is all the same, and then go on to the mediocre, and then on to the righteous – this leads to your mother's son. That is, this will lead to defaming your own mother's son. This is what is meant by 'you have no man who does not have his hour' – there will remain no one in this world without a time during which you will speak of them slanderously.

Batei Avot, p. 73, Gevaot Olam Institute, 2006
His Honor also asked whether it is permissible to attend a Gentile's funeral. My friend! This matter is an obligation, to maintain amity, even with the lesser ones among them, and certainly if he is among his followers, for they have a share in the World to Come.
Otzar HaMichtavim, Chapter 1, letter 240, p. 108. Published by Otzrot HaMaghreb, Bnei Issachar Institute, Jerusalem, 1998

A question arises concerning the drink customarily prepared by Ishmaelites from date palms, prepared by cutting down the palm tree's top branches, slitting them lengthwise and hanging a vessel to collect the liquid that flows from them. It is sweet as honey and sold in markets. They also prepare a fermented version, made by adding a little leavening in the vessel containing the palm juice. The Ishmaelites are accustomed to fermenting it while the vessel is still hanging on the palm tree, by adding a bit of leavening, so that every drop that flows from the palm ferments. We have recently heard that it is not easy to make it ferment; in the winter, in particular, they need to add a bit of their cooked food, such as couscous and the like, in which there might be a bone, or some non-kosher meat. There are those who do nothing more than placing leavening in the vessel in the usual way. The question has therefore been asked as to the law concerning such palm drink; can the difference be tasted? The palm drink's taste remains as it was, and the vendors all say that it contains no such thing. Reply: Since there are many Ishmaelites who put in nothing but leavening, and tasting it proves that there is no difference in its taste, we can assume that the vendors all act similarly, and it is permitted for consumption.

Haim BaYad, Yoreh De'ah, section 35, p. 178, published by the author, Zohar Press, Tel Aviv 1976
Although the customary blessing of His Majesty the King was once recited before the Ashrei Yoshvei Beitecha psalm, and this ancient custom has been observed here in Izmir for three hundred years, it was nevertheless moved and is recited when the Torah scrolls are taken out of the ark…Since it is the custom among the nations in all the cities under his dominion to rise when cheering His Majesty the King, we, the Sons of Israel, who are also the subjects of His Majesty the King, may his dominion endure, must rise when reciting the Blessing for His Majesty the King; we are to follow the customs of the nations of the world. Israel is to learn from the customs of non-Jews.
VaYosef Et Ekhav, Ma'arechet Beit, Section 3 p. 15b, Hacham Mordecai Barkai, Izmir, 1896
He - it clearly being His will – seeks to be beneficent to His creatures, desires that the world endure, that it be reconciled and repaired; and therefore increases His mercy forever, by crowning kings among them and imparting them of His sovereignty and awe. He imparts wisdom to the wise and instils their heart with His spirit's wisdom, so that they defend peace in the world and maintain its order, and by their dignity and wisdom subjugate those who would revolt. As our Sages said, "Pray for the welfare of the government, for were it not for the fear of it, man would swallow his fellow alive."
VaYitsbor Yoseph Bar, Section 1, p. 98, Shatil Zeitim Institute, Jerusalem, 1999
"Then Abraham rose from beside his dead, and spoke to the Hittites, saying, I am a resident alien among you; sell me a burial site among you that I may remove my dead for burial." How are we to understand the fact that Abraham waited until his dead lay before him and only then sought a burial plot, and did not foresee the need to prepare a site in advance? In my modest opinion, the reason is because he was not permitted to purchase a site in the Land of Israel so as to fulfill the commandment of being a foreigner. For God had commanded him to be a foreigner in the Land, and not to purchase any of its land, for it had already been given to him in potential and would be bestowed upon him in practice when the time would come. Had he purchased any land there, he would have transgressed what he was commanded and appeared to be of little faith.
Now, however, that Sarah had died, he could purchase the Cave of the Patriarchs (M'earat HaMachpelah) for her, the reason being that "death releases from obligations". Since she had died, she was released from the commandment of being a foreigner and immediately allocated a burial site.
Makil Doresh, Hayei Sarah weekly Torah reading portion, p. 52, Shtilei Zeitim Institute, Bnei Brak, 2005
Moses said before God: Master of the Universe, you have seventy nations, and you command me for Israel alone?" The commentators, of blessed memory, ask: How did it enter our Master Moses' heart to ask the Blessed One to command him concerning the observation of commandments by another nation?!... In my humble opinion, the reason may be, with God's will, that our Teacher Moses, may he rest in peace, sought to grant merit to the nations.
Yismach Moshe, Shemot, weekly portion Tetsaveh, p. 230, Jerusalem 1989

“We came to your brother Esau; he himself is coming to meet you, and there are four hundred men with him.” Esau really had come to kill him, and it is astounding how he was transformed and began to love Jacob a moment after he reached him. The reason is that Jacob used a ruse to transform his brother’s heart and make him love him. We find that King Solomon, may he rest in peace, wisely said, “As face answers to face in water, So does one man’s heart to another.” For when a person feel hatred towards another, it is a sign that the other hates them as well, and the opposite (is also true); when a person loves another, it is a sign that the other loves them as well. Jacob used this to transform Esau’s heart from foe to friend, by considering his love for his brother Esau in his heart while waiting for Esau to arrive; by saying to himself that he had indeed sinned against his brother Esau by taking the blessing and firstborn’s birthright from him. By soothing himself about this he felt only good things about Esau. Love, therefore, arose in Esau’s heart towards Jacob, and he felt only good things about Jacob, despite his having taken his birthright from him. The power not to relinquish it had been his, and it was he who was responsible. Neither was Jacob responsible for receiving Esau’s blessings, which he did against his will and only because his mother had ordered him to do so. And since human hearts feel the blaze of love from one another, Esau came to love Jacob.

Zera’ Yaakov, p. 9, Mekiketz David Saadon Press, Djerba, 1928

This question was sent from the famous city of New York, where many of our Jewish brethren purchase houses of prayer from non-Jews and make them into synagogues and study houses - asking whether this is permitted and is the correct thing to do. There is yet another reason to discuss and permit this, for non-Jews in our day do not engage in idol worship…There was a time, when priests controlled the Christian people and led them in keeping with their own spirit, when they would fabric images and order the masses to bow down before them. But in our time, it is certain and known by all that such images serve only for commemoration. Even if they place them in their houses of prayer, they are only ornaments, and in their mind the building in which they are placed is itself an ornament or decorative object, so that it is not forbidden, by law, to enjoy it or sit within it.

Yam HaGadol Responsa, section 9, p.16, Reuven Moscowitz Publishing, Cairo, 1931
Our people reside in countries with merciful monarchs who support people in each keeping their own faith. No longer is there the coercion of previous generations when, as our parents recounted, we were forbidden to circumcise our sons, observe the Sabbath, and the like. Furthermore, those who stand fast by their faith are appreciated, and their deeds on our behalf are true and honest.
See how the monarch of Kushta, may God bless it, our glorious lord the King, created schools for the study of wisdom and medicine. Note that he imposed a special tax to warn that our holy Torah be observed, on Sabbaths and Festivals, concerning prayers and the like, and also ordered that there be a shochet to slaughter fowl and beef so that they not err and eat unclean meats.
Kiryat Arba, Responsa 14, p. 193, Jerusalem, 1876

The rabbis of Israel have been aware, and this is not in any sense a marginal thing that I say, with no intent to flatter, as I have often written and published: Christian savants are sincere in their love of truth and science. They judge people favorably, respect the religions and those born to them, and always seek out the truth, going to the root of issues. They are as fearless as lions in clarifying the truth.

Harav Israel Hazzan, Nachala Le'Israel, Vienna Printing, p. 61, 1851

There was a prominent and respected family among the Arabs. They hated slaughter, pillaging and profiteering, and had a house of prayer named Ayadrus, after its founder who lies buried within it. His followers consider him a prophet, make vows to him, and visit his grave once a year to hold a hilloula (festive memorial celebration) of sorts. This house of prayer is important and holy even among the desert-dwellers, and has been a godsend to Jews, who have found shelter and protection there at times when desert robbers who came to kill and plunder suddenly attacked their village.

Ben Aden and Teiman, volume 1, p. 4, published by Am Oved, Tel Aviv (1947)
"Then sang Israel this song: Spring up, O well, sing ye unto it". We know that the Torah is a spring of living waters and that this poesy refers to the Torah, as this indicates: 'Spring up, oh well' – to elevate the sparks of Torah, and this requires two conditions, which are: 'sing ye unto it'. The [Hebrew] letters of 'sing' [also] spell 'meek' – the Torah scholar should be meek, 'unto it' – and study for its own sake.
Oneg LeShabbat, Part A, p.264, La'or Digital Plates and Printing Ltd., 2010

The commandment to "nevertheless raise it with him" is stated in the text concerning an enemy's ass collapsing from the weight of its burden, "When you see the ass of your enemy lying under its burden and would refrain from raising it, you must nevertheless raise it with him", also includes the general Divine will and idea that we act for the benefit of our enemies and forget our hate when they are suffering, that we assist and support them to the best of our ability. The person who instils this attribute deep within their heart and helps their enemy in every way and at every opportunity thereby fulfills the Divine will and desire.

Kitvei MaHaRa"M Herrera, sermon 16, p. 291. Published by the author's grandson, Jerusalem, 2008
It is fitting and correct that we recognize the value of humankind, God created man in His image. Conflict between human creatures is also inappropriate, whether between an Israelite and his Israelite brethren, or between an Israelite and a Christian, or between an Israelite and an Ishmaelite. For as concerns universal reconciliation and being humane, we are all brothers, whereas where religion and law are concerned they are to do as they wish, and we are to follow the written, oral and holy Torah transmitted in God's name. Also, no government can access anything that concerns spirit, they can judge only the physical body, and have therefore permitted us to act according to the Torah and its commandments.
Darkei Moshe, p. 4a, David Idan Press, Djerba, 1935

Question: Is it permissible to rent a bicycle to non-Jews for riding on the Sabbath? Response: This has been clarified by Maran’s words in Section 246 paragraph 1, who wrote: “It is permissible to rent implements to non-Jews on the Sabbath, despite that they use them for outright labor, since we were not commanded about implements”. This is the law in our case; it is certainly permissible to rent and this involves no prohibition.

Birkat Moshe, Orakh Haim, p. 23, A. Haddad Publishing, Beitar Illit, 1996

The Holy One, blessed be He, is zealous about bloodshed, and one of the natural commandments is that a murderer is to be executed, as it is written, "Whoever sheds the blood of man, By man shall his blood be shed; For in His image Did God make man", and this applies to the evil nation, which always provokes war, because of which much blood will have been shed blood over time. God is, as it were, zealous about this and evokes the hearts of people to be comrades and to love one another, even if they are not close…People are obligated to be comrades and loving in order to sustain the world, so that should a wicked individual approach someone with evil intent, a friend will come to his or her aid. Just as it took place in the case of this dreadful war; if the three monarchs had not arisen to help one another and God, blessed be He, had not supported their efforts to sustain the world, the entire world would have been destroyed. See how the kingdom of France was attacked - France, famous as a true and compassionate kingdom, whose territories are all at rest and free of any misfortune and leave all other kingdoms in amazement at its peace and quiet; it is always the evil Germany that attacks it.

VaYishma' Moshe, Sermon 2, p. 10 -12, Haddad, Idan, Cohen and Tzabban Press, Djerba, 1956

I received a question from a person seeking to dedicate a Torah scroll to the holy Eliyahu community in a procession on the first day of Shavuot. The local custom is to hold a procession with musical instruments played by non-Jews, for the Jews do not know if it is permissible to ask a non-Jew to prepare musical instruments on the eve of the Festival so that musicians may lead the Torah scroll with music on the following day. Should we be concerned about whether they might repair the musical instruments during the Festival?

Concerning our issue, it is certainly permitted. I gave my direct consent, all the more so because this has been the local custom in the past, as several proper individuals have testified before me, and rabbis preceding me had done so on several occasions.


"And all the peoples of the earth shall see that the LORD's name is proclaimed over you, and they shall stand in fear of you." This should understood to mean that the duty of every Jew is to be observant of the Almighty's attributes. Just as he is merciful, to be merciful; just as he is forgiving, to be forgiving; the Names of the Lord denote His attributes in themselves. One can become known by the Names of the Almighty, and instruct and teach for the benefit of all dwellers of the universe, open the eyes of the blind, and illuminate the land in absolute faith, in Torah and virtue.
Likutei Nissim, Parshat Vezot Haberacha, p. 375, published by the author, Tel Aviv, 1971
"Be careful [with regard to] the sons of paupers, as it is from them that the Torah will issue forth." For care must be taken with the children of converts, who are children of paupers and have no ancestral privilege, for the Torah that issues from them has the special mystical sanctity of "dwelling within their uncleanliness", in keeping with "out of the strong came something sweet".
Heder Na"Eh, Sermons on Va'Ethanan Torah Reading, p. 57a, Jerusalem, 1910
It is written that His mercies are over all His works, from the fishes in the depths of the sea to the birds in skies does His mercy conquer, even more so over Man who is in the Godly image…
Come and see that the Ishmaelites also welcome guests with a fair countenance, as we witnessed in Iraq, Syria and Turkey, when I, the author, would go to circumcise their sons. They would proclaim my arrival throughout the entire town and tell them to gather at their great minister's house in honor of the circumciser and teacher, the Jew's sage, and would arrive in droves to a large room prepared for gatherings, and I would preach words of reprimand to them in their tongue, the Kurmanji language, and they would very much enjoy this, and I would at times pronounce judgement for them according to Torah.
Once I went to a city named Sepidareh and they all gathered about me, and an argument began between them, for they wished to overthrow their old leader and replace him with a young one; they asked me about this and I recounted the tale of King Solomon's son, Rehoboam, to its end. They then unanimously thanked me and left the old man in his position until the day of his death; they have always had great respect for our holy Torah.
Ma'asei Gedolim, Genesis, Va'yerah, section 8 – The Tale of Sodom, their law and their evil custom, p. 245. Jerusalem, Second Edition, 1978

Peace is the greatest attribute of all, for we are not told to pursue any other mitzvah but rather to fulfill them when the opportunity arises, such as "If, along the road, you chance upon a bird’s nest", "When you encounter your enemy’s ox or ass wandering" or "When you see the ass of your enemy". Whereas concerning peace, it says "seek peace and pursue it", to go from place to place to make peace. This is what the Tanah means in Pirkei Avot: "Be of the disciples of Aharon, loving peace and pursuing peace". The meaning is that it does not suffice to love peace when it happens to come by, but that you should also pursue peace, even when it does not happen to come by. This is how, with Heaven's help, I say we are to explain what our Sages, of blessed memory, have said: "Torah scholars increase peace in the world". To be precise, what do "increase" and "in the world" mean? They could have said that Torah scholars make peace, but the text makes it clear that, aside from making peace, they also increase it by pursuing it, in the world, wherever it is necessary to make peace."

Yehi Reuven, in Shemo Reuven, p. 245, Netivot, 1987

One must be thoughtful concerning hostility towards Christians. We took action, two years ago, presenting our request to the Effendi Despot that their custom be annulled. Their custom, on their holiday, was to create the figure of a Jew and act out their vengeance on it for their prophet having been hung. In those days, in their houses of prayer, they would also preach to sustain their rancor and hatred towards Jews, and would then go out to pursue Jews, and to beat and curse them. Jews could not walk in their streets or go to market on those days for fear that heathens would stone them. We presented our plea concerning all these things to him, and he girded his manly strength, annulling these customs by saying: If their fathers sinned, and are no longer – what have we against their children? And since then, not a word was uttered against Jews. But he also expressed his anger towards us at the time, concerning the custom of Purim, saying to us, "Yours is worse than ours, for we have a basis for our revenge, since your forefathers killed our prophet, and we visit the sins of the fathers on their children. You, however, did as you pleased with Haman and his sons, and he sinned against you in thought only, conspiring yet not acting; why do you continue to strike out in rage? Why are you so fearful?" and so on, speaking in words painful to be heard, and leaving us floundering in humiliation and with no reply to his words…

In these times nothing remains hidden from the nations, for the Jews themselves disclose all the mysteries of our worship, in all their aspects, which was not previously the case. Furthermore, it is the wish of his Majesty that all nations be equal and in fellowship, as written in the book Yaffe LaLev. It is therefore the educator's duty to place the limits and boundaries necessary for repair (tikun), that His Majesty's dignity, and that of the Jewish people along with him, not be compromised.

Ben Yamin, Section A

In Egypt it was customary the custom was to bring musicians to play on the Sabbath of a circumcision. They would do this by inviting them from the Sabbath Eve, so that they could play on the Sabbath, and this is permitted by religious law. Despite the fact that our master Rabbi Ben Zimra wrote that …" in Egypt the custom was to forbid" to instruct a non-Jew to play music on the Sabbath itself, there is no prohibition to instruct the non-Jew on the Sabbath Eve. The prohibition given by our master Rabbi Ben Zimra in that Response does not apply in this case, and those who do so are not to be reprimanded. If there is, however, any suspicion that they will collude in hiring non-Jews to play on the Sabbath day itself, the right thing to do is to apply a safety margin on this matter as well.

Nehar Mitzraim, Volume One – Orach Haim VeYoreh De'ah, Sabbath Hakakhot, paragraph 9, Pereg Haim Mizrachi and Sons Printing, Na Amon, Alexandria 1908

The esteemed rabbis of the glorious city of Constantinople, may God protect it, sent a missive about the 24 books of the Bible that were reprinted in London by non-Jews, saying they were invalid and that it is forbidden to read from them, and that by law they should be burned. For reasons of their own they said that they would hide them from sight, and we, in all modesty, were astounded at their trepidation and are unaware of any such law… In the first versions in which changes were made to strengthen their faith, their intentions and thoughts were on foreign worship. This is similar to the disciples of "that person" who twisted the living words of God and whom RASH"I interpreted to refer to heretics, as we mentioned above. The non-Jews of our time, who do not indulge in foreign worship and follow their usual habits and forefathers' customs, are clearly and simply not heretics, and it is permitted to read all books they have published, with the exception of a Torah scroll written by a non-Jew, which is to be archived if discovered, for we demand that the writing be done for its own sake; it may also not be read from in public.

Shaar Asher, Part 1, Yoreh De'a, Section 15, p. 28b – 29b, Haktav Institute Publishing, Jerusalem 1989
Hillel says, "Be of the disciples of Aharon, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving human creatures and bringing them closer to Torah." 'Loving human creatures' – it says 'creatures' specifically, since they are the Holy One blessed be He's creatures, as the Mishna's commentators said. This can be explained in two ways; one who 'loves peace', 'loves the creatures', so that you will not say it means Israel [Jewish people] specifically, but rather it says to love all human creatures, because they are creatures of the Holy One, blessed be He. He brings them closer…'bringing them closer to Torah' – loving all human creatures provides a reason to bring them closer to Torah. Each nation observe its religion, not because of agents, or the like, who impose the king's religion as Haman did, may his bones never rest, and who would claim: 'neither do they keep the king's laws'…
'Love your fellow as yourself'. We know that this verse contains mankind's learning on man and his brethren, and since the Holy One, blessed be He, loves all mankind and has proclaimed his love, how can one separate one nation and tongue from another? This is why when I see a funeral procession, for whoever it may be, I join it. I do so not only to follow the path of peace, in keeping with the view held by our master the Beit Yosef, of blessed memory…but also since it is our duty according to the law 'as a stranger and a settler shall he live with you'.
Rahamim Peshutim, from the sermon of the eulogy in honor our lord the great king, Edward VII, Kastro Press, Tunis, 1910

One must beware from theft, and conduct trade in good faith, not only with the People of Israel, for one must beware from cheating a non-Jew, which incurs severe punishment and is a great desecration of God's Name. Although one may benefit from a non-Jew's error when they themselves make a mistake - and this involves no desecration of God's Name - misleading a non-Jew as some do, whether by sliding a poor quality and thin coin in lieu of a thick and good one, or by giving poor quality or thin goods instead of good quality and thick goods by switching them while measuring is absolute theft. This is all the result of a lack of faith in God, for it is He who enriches and bequeaths, and they seek to profit from the sin of theft. Although it may, at the time, seem that profit is being made, in any case this will eventually lead to financial downfall, heaven forbid, in addition to the punishment reserved for Judgment Day. Our sages, of blessed memory, said, "Where there is no judgement below there is judgement above". They are to keep in mind that even if they fear no person, they are to fear the Holy One, blessed be He, in the heavens above, who sees and examines people's deeds and, as it were, recompenses people for their ways and for the fruits of their actions. And we are certain that the saintly People of Israel, sons of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, will no longer do any such deeds, and will beware from desecrating the Sabbath and from the interdiction of theft, even from non-Jews, and that the benediction of goodness will be upon them.

Beit HaYayin, Volume 1, p. 105b, Abraham (Pontremoli) son of Rabbi Petach HaDvir, Izmir, 1883

“All who are hungry, come in and eat”. There are those who interpret this to mean that since the issue concerns the hungry, and not the fulfillment of the commandment, it would seem to refer to the poor among the nations (non-Jews). For the poor must be fed, not having been able to prepare for the holy festival, which demands extensive preparation and expense; therefore we declare to the poor that they come to eat at our table. As the RaDa”h (Rabbi David Abudraham), of blessed memory, states in the name of the Ge’onim that our Sages, of blessed memory, said: One sustains poor Gentiles along with poor Jews”. Therefore it says, “All who are hungry”, whoever is hungry, and not (all who seek) to fulfill the commandment, should come and eat… When the number of non-Jewish poor neighbors eventually increased, beyond the capability (of feeding them), they would no longer leave their doors open as in the past, and would sustain the Jewish poor in their homes.

Arvei Psachim, p.6a, David Eidan Printing, Djerba, 1917
Maimonides does not require that there be testimony that they did not accept bribes, but simply that they not be known to have accepted bribes. The meaning of what Maimonides and MaRa"N, who copies his words, say is straightforward: those who are not known to accept bribes, meaning that they are not publicly known as such. But the plain approach is to validate, for courts of law do not accept bribes…Therefore, one seeking to be precise about what Maimonides has to say will rule that he does not invalidate any courts except those that are publicly known to accept bribes; contracts made by those that are not publicly known as such are to be validated. On such as basis, we can generally say that, as a rule, courts do not accept bribes.
Avnei Sha'ish, Volume 2, Section 12, p. 31, Orot Yahadut HaMaghreb Press, Lod 2011

"The world is built by love" and all creatures  are interdependent and must help one another, whether with their bodies or their monies. An individual who has been granted a favor by another must nevertheless always remember the favor, by saying "When will I have the opportunity to reciprocate and do him a favor"...

Midrash Shlomo, p. 59, Original commentary on the Book of Proverbs, Tel Aviv, Shamgar Printing, 1993

"…but you may deduct interest from loans to foreigners. Do not deduct interest from loans to your countrymen." A non-Jew residing in the Land of Israel is called a sojourner, we are commanded to sustain them; they are not considered idol-worshippers. Should a non-Jew, however, who comes and goes only for commerce - such as to buy grain to sell in other lands - wish to purchase and pay later, after their return…it is permissible to take interest from them, since they are earning a profit from commerce, in keeping with the laws among all nations – that the lender takes interest for the use of the money, which lay idle. "Do not deduct interest from loans to your countrymen". The people of Israel were not merchants, and worked the land for their livelihood, selling only surplus to foreigners. Borrowing was done only out of distress… But now that Jews deal in commerce, it seems permissible to deduct interest from them, but not from the poor. Similarly with the non-Jew, if they are involved in commerce, it is permissible to deduct interest from them, but if they are poor – it is forbidden to deduct interest from them, for their case is not similar to the one referred to in the Torah. They live among us and are therefore like the sojourner whom we are obliged to sustain; if the Torah has mercy on the sojourner living among us, it has all the more on the non-Jews among whom we are sojourners. But now that Jews deal in commerce, it seems permissible to deduct interest from them, but not from the poor. Similarly with the non-Jew, if they are engaged in commerce, it is permissible to deduct interest from them, but if they are poor – it is forbidden to deduct interest from them, for their case is not similar to the one referred to in the Torah. They live among us and are therefore like the sojourner whom we are obliged to sustain; if the Torah has mercy on the sojourner living among us, it has all the more on the non-Jews among whom we are sojourners.

Commentary on the Five Books of Torah, Ki Tezeh weekly reading portion, pp. 545-546, Jerusalem, 1993

He thus ruled that people act in goodwill and in unity, for each person must consider him or herself as a citizen of the one and only republic. He planted this love and charity in human hearts at the very moment that He taught humans knowledge and wisdom, for humankind in its entirety was created by a single God. The progeny of one father, Adam, followed by the seed of Noah, went on to multiply throughout the world. The prophet Malachi therefore said, “Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we break faith with one another, profaning the covenant of our ancestors?” The prophet calls on two reasons to arouse this tender love in our hearts, to love one another and not wound the other’s pride. First, because humankind all share the same Father and are therefore equally related and free; they share in the inheritance of the world's riches. Second, because we are the creations of one God and His creatures… All we have said thus far serves as faithful testimony and true evidence that a Jew may not commit any inhumane deed that risks hurting any person whose customs and faith differ from Jewish customs and faith – so long as the person respect moral laws and not be impaired by any evil or ugly attribute, and that the person recognize supreme Providence and its unlimited power, its ultimate mercy and wisdom, that rules and sustains everything.

Essay on the Jews of Venice (translated from Italian), Iyunim 13 – 14, pp. 113- 121, Bialik Institute, Jerusalem, 1950