< Tammuz 5784 July 2024 >

Values Index - Love of Israel

When arriving late to synagogue on the festival of Shemini Atzeret, after the congregation has recited the Moussaf prayer, one should recite the prayer for rain during even during the morning Shacharit prayer, since the congregation has already announced the rain, unless his intention [in prayer] rests on the fact that the public did not recite it during Shacharit. In this case he must do likewise – not recite it during Shacharit but rather during Moussaf. This question may also arise on the first day of Passover… Whether on Passover or on Shemini Atzeret, the ruling is the same - according to what the congregation does: If one arrives late to synagogue, after the congregation has recited Moussaf, one must recite it during the preceding Shacharit prayer, as did the congregation during Moussaf, meaning that on Passover one must mention dew and on Shemini Atzeret one must mention rain.
Chessed LeAvraham, Part 1, Orakh Haim, paragraph A, Bezalel Halevy Ashkenazi Press, p. 1a – 3a, Salonika, 1813
When a person expresses disdain to his fellow man or who abuses and curses him, or says things that are untrue about him, and his fellow man hears and does not reply, as in "He restrained His wrath time and again"– the insulted party receives all the insulter's merit, since the latter is lying… Truthfully, why should a person ever cause sorrow to his fellow man, created as he was in the image, and humiliate him? Why should he act superior or be arrogant, his end being a pile of earth and worms and maggots? The Torah is merciful, not cruel, towards living beings…All the more so, that a person - such as you are - created in the image and who it is forbidden to scorn or sadden, physically strike anyone. For by so doing you will surely be causing damage, and be termed wicked before God - to the point of being excommunicated. How foolish are those people who become angry with their fellow man and cannot express themselves in words – those who then come to their homes and spend their fury on their wives...
Holech Tamim VePo'el Tzedek, p. 55. Printed in Jerusalem, 1978

...even the more so, if it is known that the person had a reason for which he or she sought to kill themselves and swallowed poison, that the deed may have been caused by unbearable anguish, financial distress or numerous debts. Or if it was caused by excessive hardship and he or she chose death over life. In all such cases the person is not to be judged as a suicide, having being forced to the deed by emotion and the unbearable burden of curses, nor as a renegade. The reader who pursues the matter in the RO"SH's Responsa, in the book Shamaim Rosh, Section 345, will discover that all access to the designation "suicide" has been sealed. If it was done for any reason at all, with the exception of degrading humanity, as if kicking everybody out of hate, as a very few philosophers have done out of defiance towards Heaven… But when it is done out of anguish and caused by pain, suffering and tribulation that make a person lose their mind, it is not prohibited, as can be seen by Shaul son of Kish…and in this case, this deceased person merits his place.

Sha'ar Kadim Responsa, Section 16, pp. 151 – 161. Published by The Rabbi Ovadia Shaki z"l Institute for research into Family and Family Law in Israel in Safed

In the days of Minister Shalom (Rabbi Shalom Rokeach, 1781 – 1855) some sages of that generation felt that the entire public should pray according to the custom maintained in the Land of Israel and use the Sepharad version of the siddur prayer book. They advised that those who were still accustomed to the Tachlal (Yemenite custom) version should be given Sepharad siddurim by the Nassi (president) of the community, so that they would all become accustomed to a unified version of prayers; the Nassi agreed to this. The rabbis accustomed to praying according to the Tachlal version then arose… and wrote announcements in the form of decrees stating that changing forefathers' customs is forbidden, based on ancient texts and on subsequent writings by Maimonides. When the wise people of both parties realized that the fire of debate had been ignited for no good reason – since one was as valid and desirable as the other, as long as God is worshipped with proper and pure intent - they convened and agreed to quell the quarrel with amendments that calmed the spirits of both factions, amendments that reconciled the opinions in peace, love and brotherhood.

Sa'arat Teiman, p. 18, published by the author, Rav Kook Institute and The Ministry of Education, Jerusalem (1954).

People should be generous with all guests they host and welcome them into their home, even if they are not perfectly God-fearing or have some deficiencies. Let us look at the difference between our Father Abraham, may he rest in peace, and Lot. When Abraham's guests arrived, they came in the guise of people. In the case of Lot, however, they came in their true forms, as angels, as is written in the Torah, "The two angels arrived in Sodom". The reason for this is that Abraham, of blessed memory, was not stringent about whom he hosted, and received everyone lovingly and with open arms. Lot, however, was somewhat lacking in his fear of God and had he not seen actual angels would not have hosted and honored them! Such people, who host only those of supreme sanctity, are like Lot…

Melel LeAvraham, p. 35, published by the Sephardic Library, Jerusalem 1990
The injustice of it cries out! Have we anything greater than children's Torah study, which must not be annulled - even for the reconstruction of the Temple? Who and where is the person who dares ruin this for a nine year old boy who is ready for schooling, who would hinder his studying and cause him irreversible emotional damage for life?!
It is the sacred duty of the dayanim [rabbinic court judges] to come to the assistance of this unfortunate mother, tossed in a tempest, to save the oppressed from the hold of his oppressor who, alas, only seeks pretexts that will result in disaster. The dayanim must immediately allow her to approach the judge in her city and quickly end this painful problem. They will be well blessed for saving the oppressed from the oppressor's hold, and for fulfilling the commandment 'speak for the speechless'. This little boy who has become a victim of a tyrannical father's intrigues, God help us.
Eshed Hanechlim, Part 3, p. 54, Raphael Ben Haim Hacohen Press, Jerusalem, 2009

It is permissible to receive remuneration on festivals to fill any permissible requirement for a mitzvah…all the more so for a laborer who hasn't what to eat unless he earns income…making benches for the synagogue to avoid arguments is a public need, and permitted, for they are physically necessary for people so that they may sit. They did so in Jerusalem, following Rabbi Mahadari Binyamin, to accommodate the guests who had no place to sit.

Mizbe'akh Adama, p. 7d, Yauda Kali and Mordecai Nachman Press, Salonika, 1777
Let us place this upon our hearts, and remove the impediment of accusation and divisiveness, and of hatred towards Torah and its laws from within us, and let us don the attribute of supreme and faithful love as we were commanded by Torah towards all our brethren among us, as was said: 'Love thy neighbor as thyself, I am the LORD', and through this attribute let us love also the sojourner among us, as it says: ' The stranger that sojourneth with you shall be unto you as the home-born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.'
Although this is not the place to clarify this statute in depth, let us realize and know that we were sojourners of the sky's four winds, and therefore additional laws of love have been imposed upon us, beyond 'Love thy neighbor as thyself', that oblige us to accept all immigrants, from all communities and places of exile, in the true love of 'Love thy neighbor as thyself, I am the LORD', and out of this love to act in peace and truthfulness between ourselves by respecting the opinions and feelings of every individual and community among us.
Machmanei Uziel, Part B, Chapter 3, Article 10, paragraph c. A triple love – Love ye truth and peace

The Sages of Yavneh would often say, "I am a creature and my comrade is a creature. My craft is in the city and his in the fields. I rise early to work and he rises early to work. Just as he does not dwell on my work so do I not dwell on his." It is common knowledge that there was a great yeshiva of sages and authors in Yavneh. They nevertheless did not hold themselves in high esteem with prideful or coarse attitudes for having chosen Torah as their craft. They did not scorn simpler folk, as we unfortunately may see in our day, when children's teachers act as though they are above others, and as though they were halakhic adjudicators or presided over the rabbinic courts of our predecessors. On this matter, they said: We consider that our craft of Torah is more important than that of those who work the land in the fields and vineyards; nevertheless, we praise their work and toil as we do our own, for they rise early to their task, as we do. We are not to dwell upon their craft as sages, just as they cannot dwell upon ours. Should you say that they are at a disadvantage for not having time to study Torah, this is not to their detriment, for if they study only a little Torah because they do not known how to study or have little time, they are useful to others through the fruit of their labor. If no seeds are sown and there is no bread for food, the sages among us will die of hunger; those who toil in the fields, therefore, is  fundamental to Torah and to those who study it.

Petackh Eina'im, p. 21b, Livorno, 1878

The tobacco tin dropped from my hands and all the tobacco in it fell and scattered. I reached out to return it to the box and…lo and behold! Those leaves that were bound one to another I was able to pick up with two fingers. They were returned to the tin just as they were, while the remaining leaves – those not bound on to the other – dropped and scattered. They cannot be returned to their place. They will be crushed by all those passing by, and amount to nothing. So it is with unity – its value and virtue.

Tiferet Zion, Introduction, page b, Raphael Haim Hacohen Printing, 1971

People must be attentive, if they bear any hatred towards a person who may have said something to anger them or injured them physically in any way. One should beg for forgiveness, and insist three times, and if the person does not agree to reconciliation, even more may be necessary. It is because there are those who have transgressed the commandment "You shall not hate your kinsfolk in your heart" and have forgotten, that during the moment the Torah scrolls are taken out from the ark on Yom Kippur Eve the entire congregation recites, "We have completely forgiven".

Binyamin HaTza'ir, p. 134, Tel Aviv, 1978

"Speak to the people of Israel, and say to them, when a person from among you presents an offering". "A person" indicates that the sacrifice is not willingly accepted unless those involved in the sacrifice are as one person, in complete unity and love. People should not comport themselves saying one thing and believing another; what they say and feel should be identical, free of gratuitous hatred - as was the case in the First Temple, where they were not punished, despite idol worship, for their heart was united in love and brotherhood. Not as in the case of the Second Temple which, despite Torah learning and the total absence of idol worship, was destroyed because of gratuitous hatred and idle talk, for their hearts were not united in love and brotherhood, and they could not be termed "a person".

Michlal Yoffi, Vayikra weekly reading portion, pp. 217 – 218. Printed by Maghreb Printing, Jerusalem 1990

"Thus shall you say to the house of Jacob and declare to the children of Israel." It is a known fact that the word "house" is used to refer to assembly and unity, as we interpret "It shall be eaten in one house" to mean 'in one group'. Our sages, of blessed memory, said that the name Jacob is used when they (the People of Israel) do not do the will of the LORD, and the name Israel is used when they do His will. This is the sense in which "Thus shall you say" is said – in gentle words to those called the house of Jacob, meaning that despite their being called the house of Jacob for not having yet repented, unified and become one house, speak to them in gentle words. But "And declare", means harsh words, and is used to refer to the children of Israel when they are being called "the children Israel", for despite that they do His will and are called by the name Israel, since they are not unified and are being named children of Israel in the plural, speak to them in harsh words.

Birkat Eliyahu, p. 70, Haddad Printing, Djerba, 1938

"Love your fellow as yourself". Since what has been written and taught is to love "your fellow", and not "the people of your nation", we understand "fellow" to include all types of people. It is like saying: Be vigilant from vengeance or from bearing a grudge against the people of your nation, because 'love your fellow', whoever he or she is, is an essential principle.
Indeed, we learn this from what follows later in the text, "The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt." Should you think that this refers only to a convert who has undertaken to follow all the commandments, what is "who resides with you" meant to teach? A convert would be considered like an Israelite in any place. It teaches that the stranger in question is someone who shares no national affiliation with you, and is only residing with you.
Em Lamikra, Leviticus, comments on weekly Torah reading Kedoshim, p. 46a-b, Eliyahu Benamozegh and Friends Press, Livorno, 1863
Why did the Holy One, blessed be He, need to redeem Israel from Egypt Himself, in His glory, and not by the hand of an angel?..."When the evil Nimrod threw our father, Abraham, into the fiery furnace, Gabriel said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: 'Master of the Universe, I will descend and save the righteous from the fiery furnace'. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him: 'I am unique in my world and he is unique in his world. It is fitting for the unique to save the unique"… The Midrash says, in reference to 'So let the redeemed of the LORD say': "What are they to say? That there is none other than He". What does this mean? Where do they find evidence for this? What reason or explanation do they have for saying, 'There is none other than He'? It therefore concludes by saying, "whom He hath redeemed from the hand of the adversary" - G-d Himself, as a matter of fact, in all His glory. One cannot but say: Since He is unique in His world, and the People of Israel (is unique or the children of Israeli are) unique, He redeemed them Himself, in His glory.
Geulat Hashem, p. 15b, Israel Kushta and Friends, Livorno, 1864
In the Mishna, they said: "In the place where penitents stand, the completely righteous do not stand." But truly, to be precise; the righteous person who dealt in Torah and commandments all his life and did not partake in the pleasures of this world, which is, to be sure, vanity, has great merit in the next world…So how can one who has been a penitent for but part of his life be preferable?
Because they have been remorseful, and distanced themselves from transgression, and completely repented their reward shall be great - in this world and in the next. For it is known that penitents who, in their senselessness, had acted sinfully, detach the last letter Aleph of the Name by sinning. When they do atone, have the merit of returning the last Aleph in the blessed Name of glory and awe. Their value therefore increases and their penance is accepted above.
This is what is said in the verse "he shall repay the principal amount and add a fifth part to it" referring to "wherein he was remiss about sacred things". Meaning to say, if one has sinned with some transgression and separated the letter Aleph from the Name blessed be, 'he shall repay the principal amount" – he should do penance, and will have the privilege of restoring the letter Aleph to that honored and sacred Name.
Yad Eliyahu, Part A, question 75, p. 100b – 102a, Zion Press, Jerusalem, 1930

"Thus shall you bless the people of Israel. Say to them: The LORD bless you and protect you". The blessings were all said in the singular (you), to indicate that it is when they (the nation of Israel) are unified that they merit the blessing, but not when they are separate from each other in their hearts. The merit of the blessing "Thus shall you bless" originates in Abraham, about whom it is written, "So shall your offspring be". It (the Priests' Benediction) says, "will grant you peace", meaning that the blessings are of no use unless there is peace among them. End quote. Abraham represents the attribute of charity, as the text says, "charity to Abraham" and it is the place of love, as the text says, "love of charity". It also says, "The offspring of Abraham are those who love Me", so that the blessing will come about by means of the love and unity between them, in keeping with what the Benediction says, "and He will love you and bless you". They also said that "The Holy One, blessed be He, found no vessel to hold Israel other than peace", which is why the Priests' Benediction ends with "peace", and the cantor, after the word "peace" is recited by the priests, begins Sim Shalom ("Bring peace"), and ends with peace (Oseh shalom).

MeZimrat Ha'aretz, p. 199, Or Shalom Press, Bat Yam, 2000

"Those who love Your teaching enjoy wellbeing; they encounter no adversity". It is known that the attribute of pride leads to many conflicts, for one is despised for being prideful. This is not the case when there is peace between Torah scholars, certainly when they have the attribute of humility - "those who love Your teaching enjoy wellbeing", for as Torah scholars they are not in conflict with one another. This leads to "they encounter no adversity": they do not rule in ways that contradict Halakha or law, since they, holding the attribute of peace, have necessarily achieved the attribute of humility, and being humble – their learning serves them and they do not forget it.

Hessed V'Emet, p. 20b, David Idan Press, Djerba, 1916

All Israel have a portion in the World-to-Come. This can be interpreted to mean that since we share the understanding that "All of Israel are responsible for one another", they are to be considered partners in fulfilling the commandments, and in upholding and studying the Torah. And just as partners share benefits, the People of Israel share each other's merit in one another's Torah and good deeds… The Bible does bring evidence: "And your people, all of them are righteous" – and each has her or his own. Should you ever find totally empty people among Israel, they nevertheless "Shall possess the land for all time". "For all time" means that this includes even those who have nothing of their own.

Pe'ulat Tzeddek LeHaim, p.a, Siach Israel Publishing, Jerusalem 1998
'Be of the disciples of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving the creatures and bringing them closer to Torah.' 'The study of Torah is equal to them all' precisely clarifies this, why does the text not begin with the command about Torah?
According to the interpretation in our article located in the introduction, He said – as it were, after Israel made their first camp, and came to detest argument and to love peace – that they justly deserve that I give them the Torah, in the sense that they came to merit the Torah through peace. This clarifies what it says, 'loving peace and pursuing peace': they are already worthy of being drawn close to Torah through peace.
Divrei Hizkiahu, p. 25, Rabbi Ezra Haim Hashalem Printing, Damascus, Aram Tzuba, 1921
There is no trait characteristic to the People of Israel as good as the one of amity and, by contrast, no characteristic as bad as argument. Should one note any disagreement with another, it is not fitting to ignore it or to continue arguing and disagreeing. The right thing to do is to seek out the cause and to remove it entirely…
This is how our father Abraham acted… His shepherds were certainly well-bred, and the major cause of the quarreling and fighting no doubt originated with Lot's shepherds. Nevertheless, Abraham did not quarrel with him about this, nor did he ignore it. He sought out the root and reason for the quarrel so that they could go to live different territories.
Darkei Moshe, p. 4a, David Idan Press, Djerba, 1935

What should a person do to ensure pardon and exoneration on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur? One should be with the community, and join with the entire nation, for through unity one benefits from the exoneration of the general public by the Thirteen Principles mentioned in the Torah. As Hosea said, "Ephraim is addicted to images— Let him be", meaning that when the nation of Israel were united, the Holy One, blessed be He, forgives them for everything. This corresponds with what we find in Tractate Yoma: The First Temple was destroyed because of three things it contained – foreign worship, incest and bloodshed. And why was the Second Temple, in which they dealt in Torah, mitzvoth and charity, destroyed? Because of gratuitous hatred. In the first case, the transgressions were exposed, and their end was revealed; the end of the latter, whose transgressions were not exposed, was not revealed. That is, all could see and know of the transgressions during the First Temple and knew why they had been punished. But in the Second Temple, where there was gratuitous hatred – something that remains hidden in the heart and cannot be revealed except to those who with hidden knowledge and to He who sees through the heart and entrails – their end, measure for measure, was not revealed. The remedy for this, therefore, is the reconciliation of hearts, to all be united as one. Even when the commandment to rebuke is called for, one should not do this out of hatred but do so according to "overt rebuke is preferable to hidden love".

Zichron Asher, p. 50, personal publication, Bnei Brak, 1992

"Take a census of the Gershonites also, by their ancestral house and by their clans." This can be interpreted in keeping with what our Sages, of blessed memory, said: Flattering the wicked can be a good deed, for it makes them repent; otherwise they add crime to their sinning. Do as Hillel did, "Love people and bring them close to Torah". This is what is meant by "take a census of the Gershonites". They, who are wicked and excluded themselves from the Torah and its commandments, must be counted, for in this way they may return to their ancestral roots, and comport themselves as Jews and with fear of God, as did their fathers of origin, Abraham Isaac and Jacob.

Divrei Mordecai, p. 6b, Idan, Cohen & Tzabban Printing, Djerba (1945)

"A person should always be patient like Hillel and not stringent like Shammai." Does this not depend on what a person is like? If the person is from the merciful source then the person will be patient like Hillel, or is from the valiant source and will be like Shammai. The answer on this matter is that, in truth, a person is responsible for leaning towards mercy when the person is from a valiant source, having been granted the ability to overcome his (or her) nature and direct it. The negative side in the valiant person can be remedied by dealing in a mitzvah or something that does not harm the person or others, as they, of blessed memory said: either a butcher or a circumciser or a blood-letter…

Sepher HaLiqutim, Part B, Explanations of HaZa"L sayings and Zohar, p. 693, Joseph Spinger Publishing, Jerusalem, 1997
Beyond the prohibition on anger, which is a strict one at all times, one should take care not to be angry on Rosh Hashanah, for it is not a good omen. A wife must be quick to set the table, and cover it with an appealing tablecloth, before her husband returns from synagogue so that when he arrives he will find the table set, and this is a good omen. But should it happen that he arrive and does not find the table set, he should not quarrel with his wife and become angry, for anger is a very bad omen; he should tolerate it and not be harsh, not even in his heart.
Likutei Khemed, Part One, Rosh Hashanah Halakhot, Halakha 6, p. 141, Hapoel Hamizrachi Press, 1976

Our Sages, of blessed memory, said: The People of Israel can be credited for having fulfilled all the commandments through unity. Since all are as one – what is fulfilled by one is considered as having been fulfilled by the other, and the benefit bestowed by Torah and the observance mitzvoth thus increases. Through unity, one may rejoice when others benefit, or share in their sorrow. It is the equivalent of fulfilling the entire Torah, since to love one's neighbor as oneself is the greatest principle of Torah, as our Sages, of blessed memory, said, as is fulfilling the commandment to “let him (your kinsperson) live by your side” and sustain them. This way there will be no gratuitous hatred, which was the cause behind the exile, and love will replace enmity, for this is what brings the presence of the Shechina.

Unity also helps pursue the truth, for just as we do not want others to be dishonest with us, so will we avoid being dishonest with others, and just as we are willing to share an privilege or a good thing, so do we wish that others share their privilege and good things with us, and vice versa. Unity also protects us from being one of those who profit from the community for the wrong reasons and take only their personal benefit into account. It helps us consider all the People of Israel as though they children of angels – and to appreciate them as we do ourselves.

VaYakhel Moshe, p. 14, David Idan Press, Djerba, 1916
Part of the love of God is to love all people of Israel with heart and soul, to fulfill the commandment "Love your fellow as yourself" which is equated to the entire Torah. The essence of love is to rebuke and guide others in the ways of God, for if one does not rebuke them and protest, they will be left to their foolishness, and there is no greater hatred than this. Just as the commandment to "Love your fellow as yourself" is equated to the sum of all the commandments, so is the negative commandment "You shall not hate your kinsfolk in your heart" equal to all the transgressions. One should take care to not hate any member of the nation of Israel, and if one has been transgressed against – he should forgive immediately, and always defend and advocate for the People of Israel, in particular in the holy city of Jerusalem. This is indicated by "and you shall see the good of Jerusalem", meaning: See the good ones among them and not the bad ones. The Temple, because of our transgressions, was destroyed by the sin of gratuitous hatred; if so, one's acting in live and peace with Israel hastens the Redemption.
Oneg LeShabbat, Part A, p.34, La'or Digital Plates and Printing Ltd., 2010

Love of one person for another should be a natural love, "Love thy neighbor as thyself", and not a conditional love. That is, to love a person for being a human being, or for his or her qualities, such as wisdom or emotional qualities. But one should not show love because one needs assistance, or to obtain benefit, to soften somebody up to obtain what one wants. Such love is termed conditional love, and is unstable.

Lev Rachav - Tractate Avot, Chapter 5, Verse 17, p. 148. Published by the author, Jerusalem 1992

"And He said, "Put your hand back into your bosom. He put his hand back into his bosom; and when he took it out of his bosom, there it was again like the rest of his body." The Holy One, blessed be He, teaches a great lesson to our Teacher Moses, may he rest in peace. For Moses, after seeing what Dotan and Aviram had done and how they had become informants, thought it would be impossible for the People of Israel to repent - having been tainted in Egypt and become a single nation, with no differences between them - and that none of the good attributes of their forefathers remained within them. How, then, would the Almighty differentiate between them? The Holy One, blessed be He, therefore said to him: Your way of thinking is incorrect. They are the children of the holy fathers, and even if they have strayed from the way, there is still hope. What then, is to be recommended? Take an interest in bringing them to your bosom, bring them close with great compassion, as a compassionate mother might hug her children to her bosom to save them, protect them and warm them under her wing. In this way you will not reject My People because they have distanced themselves from Me, for their source is pure, and everything follows its source. Make the effort to bring them to you with a little compassion, and you will see that they will return to their original pure state, and will begin to resemble their source. And so it was.

Rachamecha HaRabim, pp. 240 – 241, The Sha'arei Rachamim Yeshiva Institute for Manuscript Publication, 1990, Jerusalem
"In the beginning God created". The last letters form the acronym "truth" [emet]. Since there is truth between the people of Israel, who do not lie to one another and maintain peace between each other – and since they give charity to the poor, and Teruma [contribution] and tithes to the Cohanim and Levites – the world continues to exist, and the Temple will be rebuilt, since the teacher [Tana] said: On three things the world stands: on judgement, on truth, and on peace." Judgement – since it is written "In the beginning God created", which is judgement; truth, according to the last letters of "In the beginning God created" – truth [emet]. Peace is charity, as it is said "and the work of righteousness shall be peace". "Created" in gematria [im hakollel] equals the charity. Donations and tithes are as charity; this is indicated by the acronym 'truth' [emet] formed by "and ye shall bring your tithes".
Kiseh Rachamim – Commentary on the Torah, Parshat Bereishit, p.3

A person should always strive to pray in synagogue with the congregation, for the prayer of a congregation is always accepted. Even if it may include transgressors, the Holy One, blessed be He, does not tire of public praying. One should therefore participate in the congregation, and not pray in private when it is possible to pray with the congregation. Left without a choice, when one cannot go to the synagogue, one should aim to pray at the time the congregation is reciting the Eighteen Blessings.

Kitzur Shulchan 'Aruch HaShalem, Part A, section 80, paragraphs 13 – 14, Ahavat Shalom Institute, Jerusalem, 2006
The Tanah [Mishnaic teacher] opens with "All Israel have a share in the World to Come" and then elaborates, concerning those who do not have a share in the World to Come, as follows: "One who says that resurrection of the dead is not from the Torah, [one who says that] that the Torah is not from Heaven, and one who denigrates the Torah. Rabbi Akiva says: Also one who reads outside books, and one who whispers [an incantation] over a wound, saying, (Exodus 15:26) 'I will not bring upon you any of the diseases that I brought upon the Egyptians for I the Lord am your healer' Abba Shaul says, also one who utters the Divine Name as it is spelled." End of quote. This, however, presents a question: Didn't the Tanah include all Jews who have a share in the World to Come, and then clarify in detail those who do not? If so, why did the Tanah include all Jews among those that have a share in the World to Come and then subtract those who do not? The Tanah should have started with those who have a share, and then taught about those who do not.
First solution: We are to understand that when there is unity in the nation, then "all Israel" have a share. All Israel the [Hebrew] acronym of 'all' = Cohen-Levite). When each one performs his role, Cohanim in their ritual, Levites at the duchan [the Temple platform from which the nation was blessed], and Israel maintain their prestige and when there is no superfluous strife or argument that cause divisiveness in the nation; when "all Israel" become unified as one, they all have a share in the World to Come.
Pirkei Raphael, First Chapter, pp.148 – 151, Hish Press, Ramla, 2011
One should reflect on what Rabbi says: 'with anything that your fellow loses, including the rebel'– Why did the Torah commanded us to support those who transgressor the Torah's words?...The simple explanation for this is that despite that in these times a rebel would be considered a transgressor, one must in all cases learn from the Holy One blessed be He's attributes, who keeps his temper with wrongdoers in case they do penance…If so, it should also be so with a rebel. Even though he is outcast because of his transgressions, once he has regretted them seems appropriate - since the Scripture reveals 'with anything that your fellow loses' – that even if he is a rebel it is our duty not to let him descend to the depths.
Land of Israel sermon, in Peter Rehem, p.34, Jerusalem, 1961

In a large group of individuals one finds people, some of whom are wise, knowledgeable and understand science, some who are naïve and lacking in knowledge, and some who are average. You can see that the Torah spoke of four sons. Should a speaker address the public with profound words, appropriate for the wise, the person will discover that the rest of the group is wasting its time. And this cannot be. And should the person choose the other option, and speak in the simple terms appropriate for most people, the group of wise people will be wasting its time. On this matter, King Solomon, may he rest in peace, said "The lips of the righteous sustain many." It is known that the definition of a righteous person is one who gives to each his due, as the master instructs, and this is how it is possible for a person to lead many: by knowing to give each and every faction what it requires. Those, indeed, whose sight is limited and do not distinguish whom they are addressing will at times tire the public with their words, causing useless damage and loss, and at times will speak simple words before the wise, and be mocked.

Ben Shmuel, Sermon 11 to Those Entering Public Office, p. 44b, Judah Samuel Saporta, Montova, 1622

"The Sages taught: When Rabbi Eliezer fell ill, his students entered to visit him. They said to him: Teach us paths of life and we will thereby merit the life of the World-to-Come. He said: Be vigilant of the honor of your fellow persons…" He had the city's leadership and Torah scholars before him, and said, "Be vigilant in the honor of your fellow persons", for this is a foundation upon which everything depends – to always care for others, and maintain their honor, and fend off whatever may harm them… whether by protecting them from shame and scorn, or by leading them to charity and saving them from destitution. And when rebuking someone, one is to take care not to embarrass them; there are many similar issues to consider in maintaining the respect of our fellow persons.

Divrei Shalom VeEmet, p. 222 – 223, Ahavat Yerushalaim Co. Publishing, Jerusalem, 2000
God willing, I will compose a special booklet about the Sephardim of Vienna, from the day of their arrival, and about the magnificent synagogue as well. I was there many years ago and visited the synagogue, and was amazed to see the glorious building with its wonderfully painted arabesque – What a pity that it was burnt. I will write about the charitable institutions and the honorable people who served there from the day they were exiled from accursed Spain. I saw no mention of the Sephardi community in the chapter on Vienna in the Otzar Israel book - as though it were unaware of it. They mentioned only the Ashkenazi community and made no mention of the generations upon generations of rabbis. It is worthwhile, I feel, to compose this special booklet.
Keter Shem Tob, Sukkot Festival Customs, p. 203-204, G.K. Institute Publishing, 1998

"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". This would be, it seems to me, a covert reference: "the ass of your enemy" means the individual who follows the counsel of their evil inclination, which is termed "enemy", as our sages of blessed memory said, concerning "The wicked watches for the righteous". In other words, one who pursues the world's impure matter and follows the evil inclination's passions. Should you see such a person, sinking and collapsing under the burden of the evil inclination, and would refrain from raising him up – do not say to them 'what do I care? I leave you in peace'. "You must nevertheless raise it with him". Try to help that person and draw him closer to the Shechina's canopy.

Eretz Svi, p.5597, Arazi Press, Tel Aviv, Tiberias, 1971

The Midrash says, "This is the line of Noah, Noah for the upper (worlds) and Noah for the lower (worlds). What does this mean? It can be understood in keeping with what our Sages, of blessed memory, said: A good righteous person. How so? Can there be a righteous person who is not good? Rather, (one who is) good towards heaven and not good towards people is a righteous person who is not good, while one who is good towards heaven and towards people as well is a good righteous person. This means that there may be a righteous person who is righteous with his Creator and fulfills His commandments but is not charitable and compassionate with people…This is what was meant by "Noah was righteous and whole-hearted" – that he was perfect in his worship, and good towards both heaven and people.

Avodat HaTzedakah, On the Torah, Noah weekly reading portion, p. 16, Ahavat Shalom Publishing, Jerusalem, 1987
It is obligatory that each member of the community help any community member who requires assistance. Even if you hate the person requiring assistance you must help him or her, for our strength is in our unity, and we are all sons of one person, members of a single community.

Having no writings of his teachings, we have written up what was said in his name by his children and pupils.
It says that the number of positive commandments ["thou shalts"], 248, corresponds to the number of limbs in the human body, and that the 375 negative commandments ["thou shalt nots"] correspond to the number of tissues. When an individual transgresses, he or she harms the corresponding part of the soul; when fulfilling a commandment, a person repairs the part in the soul corresponding to the part in the body.
Our Sages, of blessed memory, did, indeed, ask: How is it possible for a person to fulfill all 248 positive commandments, since there are some that cannot be fulfilled, such as levirate marriage and the like? And there are commandments that do not apply to all People of Israel but only to Cohanim (priests by descent), such as the blessing of Cohanim and the like; there are also commandments that apply only to kings, such as, "Neither shall he multiply wives to himself".
They explained that you may consider that through unity – when the people of Israel are unified in a single society and have love for one another – each and every person fulfilling a commandment is considered as though he or she had fulfilled them all - as it says, "Moses commanded the Torah to us". Should you ask, "How can a person fulfill all 613 commandments?" it says, "a heritage to the community of Jacob". Meaning, like a heritage, it is to be fulfilled by all, by the community of Jacob, and by being as a single community - in a united society.
Yismach Moshe, Sermons on the Torah, part b, pages 369-370, Jerusalem, 1989
The reason why they were enumerated here once again seems to be because this is where the text begins to recount the story of the enslavement of Israel - so that a person will not consider saying that it was because they were, heaven forbid, not respectable as a result of the troubles they went through during enslavement. Therefore the text counts them again, to show that they are important and beloved. Their number indicates their importance; one should not think that they were exiled because of their transgressions.
Yismach Moshe, Sermons on the Shemot Torah Reading – Now these are the names, Jerusalem, 1989

"Do not rebuke a scoffer, for he will hate you". At first glance, this seems unclear, and one wonders at its literal sense. Did the Torah not say we must rebuke, and King Solomon, may he rest in peace, says here "Do not rebuke a scoffer"? Whom, then should one rebuke? A sage? The commentators explain that "Do not rebuke a scoffer" means not to rebuke with humiliating language, as though the person were a scoffer and worthy of contempt, for then they will hate you. Do so respectfully, as though you are a sage, a child of prominent parents and of saintly lineage, as though it were not seemly for you to have to have to do such deeds, lest you be mistaken for a sinner, heaven forbid. Then you will be loved and your rebuke will be accepted with love.

Derech Emunah, p. 32 – 33, Machon HaKetav Press, Jerusalem 1988
"Reish Lakish said: It was manifestly known to the Master of the Universe, that in the future Haman was going to weigh out shekels against the People of Israel." We learn a moral reprimand from his words, that announce and inform us that in the People of Israel's moments of grace, when they were called 'sons of God' and 'God's Tribe', we were connected and united as one person, with no distancing between our hearts.
The whole person should not imagine that he lacks nothing, whether because of his wisdom or his wealth, and that he requires no assistance from others, for he is mistaken in such thinking - since he is but half a person and is incomplete without his brethren, the other half.
For this reason, our teachers of blessed memory carry the intention of a blessing with this commandment. It is a loud and clear proclamation, as is written: "On the first of the month of Adar a proclamation is made about the shekalim" – meaning that each one is to give half a shekel, symbolizing unity; in so doing each person will give from the heart, and be inspired to be at peace with his brethren. This is what Reish Lakish meant when he said: "It was revealed and known to the Master of the Universe, that in the future Haman was going to weigh out shekels against the People of Israel", meaning, to inform on them about unity, for they are not in unity.
She'erit Yaakov, Sermons, p.35a, Rabbi Haim Zuckerman Press, Jerusalem, 1932

"Yet, when they were ill, my dress was sackcloth, I kept a fast— may what I prayed for happen to me!" Question: If the prayer is returned to the person, it would appear to not have been accepted. Why, then, should the person pray? But according to the introduction of Rabbi Yehuda the Righteous, of blessed memory, this can be clarified. If a person's friend becomes ill, Heaven forbid, the person must pray for the friend. If the prayers are answered, that is best. But if it is not, when that person encounters similar troubles, the person's compassion in praying for a friend is remembered, and the person is healed. This corresponds with the text, "Yet, when they were ill, my dress was sackcloth, I kept a fast". If you say, 'What if it is a decree that will not be annulled, how can prayer help?' the reply follows, "May what I prayed for happen to me". When I need Heaven's compassion, my prayer for a friend will be remembered, and I will be treated with compassion.

Tehila VeTiferet, Psalms 35, "When they were ill", p. 105 – 107, published by Abraham Moshe, Jerusalem 1971
To unite the people of Israel to become one people of one heart, one society and one language, with one Torah and united in custom, the custom of Israel, as promised by the prophet "and I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me"…to draw the people of Israel close one to another, to make them one people in the land, in the hills of Israel.
The Writings of Rabbi Yehuda Alkalai; Volume 2, Shivat Zion, p. 664, Mossad Harav Kook Press, Jerusalem 1974

"For their feet run to evil; They hurry to shed blood". This can be interpreted as praise. Fully righteous people are accustomed to pursuing tikun in their towns. When they encounter a problematic person who commits wicked deeds they go, on their own, to the person's home and speak to them in words of reprimand and morals, until they lead the person's heart to change their ways and convince them to end their evil-doing. And should these righteous people need to spend money for this matter, they do so from their own pockets and not from the community's funds. This is what is meant by "their feet run" – those of the righteous – "to evil" people – to have them repent. And if funds are required, "they hurry to shed blood" – the word blood (dam) in this case means monies (damim). "They are clever at wrongdoing" can also be interpreted to mean that the wise go to great lengths with wrongdoers to straighten them out, and "but know not to do right" as their having no issue with those who do right.

Minhat Yehuda, p. 207, Proverbs, Chapter 1, 100. Rabbi Yehuda Fetaya Institute, Jerusalem 1995
The emphasis in "love your fellow as yourself" refers to friends in particular because, contrary to what one may usually think it is actually more demanding to love one's brother or friend than one who is distant. It is quite easy, as an ideal, to love the world, the blacks in Africa or an Arab enemy from a distance. On a daily basis, however, it is more difficult to really love an irritating mother-in-law, constantly noisy neighbors, or the rude bank clerk. They, however, are the "fellow" whom we must love.
Yitzhak Chouraqui, in Tradition in the Modern Age, Rabbi Yehuda Leon Ashkenazi, Torat Hatoldot, p. 332, Yedioth Aharonoth Press, Tel Aviv, 2009
"Pay homage in good faith, lest He be angered, and your way be doomed".
The homage allowed by the sages is to flatter one's wife – because of domestic peace, one's master – so that he teach him Torah, and one's students – that they may learn from him. This much is clear. What is written here, "Do homage in purity, lest He be angry, and ye perish in the way", may also be read with the following meaning: Kiss the hand of the son, flatter the son [bar] - this would mean the student. The letters, in reverse, spell rab [master]; kiss and flatter the rabbi so that he may teach you Torah. 'Bar' also means bread and food, and it could mean the woman, bread - in the sense of being nurtured. This also offers a meaning to the words: 'lest He be angered, and your way be doomed' – that is, concerning women, as in 'the way of a man with a young woman' and, concerning a rabbi and his student – the path of Torah and concerning the way: 'the way where they must walk'.
Doresh Ba'adi, Vaethanan weekly portion, p.63a, Goldenberg Brother Publishing, Brooklyn (2000)

Concerning the moment when the Torah was given, it says "facing the mountain". Which means that we face a difficult mountain, a harsh situation, and we must unite. I bless this committee with the uniting and unification of all factions. The nation of Israel must strive for total unity. Therefore, on this occasion, I turn to all parties with the request that discrimination between groups of different ethnic origins be abolished, that we may no longer have Ashkenazim, Sephardim, or Yemenites. We all belong to the nation of Israel and live in the Land of Israel. The nation of Israel was in exile, and it is this exile that divides us and that made us become Moroccan Jews, or Russian Jews. But now that we have returned to the land promised to us by the Holy One, blessed be He, we are to end discrimination between ethnic communities and become one nation.

From an address at the Hapoel Mizrachi Movement by Rabbi Yitzhak – National Hapoel Mizrachi Committee, p. 70, 1961
The world-repair by the Torah, of the Holy One blessed be He, through what one studies in the Torah, which is called 'light', and sets his mind, since Torah has literal, hinted and mystical [levels of meaning] the Hebrew initials of which spell P'R'D', also contains [the hidden] Sod, called secret light. And one sets one's intent to please He who commanded us to it. Just as I, your servant, do not know the nature of the kavvannot, and have not delved nor traversed but rather, I do these things, meaning Tefillin and Torah study, for the sake of their Creator and with intention, for the sake of their Maker. This is not, indeed, the case with my teachers and superiors, who did delve and traverse, and who most certainly fulfill the commandments and study Torah with true kavvanah, restoring [tikun] the [Kabalistic] celestial father and mother, the father being restored [tikun] by the study of Torah that was uttered, and the mother restored by the fulfillment of the mitzvah. In the mystical [sphere], the father speaks and the mother acts.
So for the remaining simple folk who wear Tefillin out of routine or as part of social norms, without even any literal intent or inner awareness, yet take pleasure in their [Tefillin] boxes, knots and straps, and 'fastening them, fastening them thoroughly', on their arms, they are those who restore the worlds of Creation, Formation, Action – that are called the entrance and path to the World of Atzilut [Emanation].
Vayizra Yitzhak, sermon on Tefillin, p. 106, Ezra Haim Press, Damascus, printed in Aram Tzova [Aleppo], 1928

“Moses then convoked the whole Israelite community and said to them: These are the things that the LORD has commanded you to do”. The 613 commandments correspond to the body’s 248 organs (evarim – the number of positive commandment) and 365 sinews and ligaments (giddim – the number of negative commandments). Commentators ask how it is possible to fulfill them all… and explain that through unity, each person benefits from those fulfilled by their fellow person, so that together they are considered as having fulfilled them all. The written text, “Moses then convoked the whole Israelite community and said to them”, was meant to suggest that should we be convoked as a whole and become united, with no divisive conflict, so that “These are the things that the LORD has commanded you to do”, meaning that it is possible for you to fulfill them, and that each one of you will be considered as having fulfilled them all. This may be what Scripture refers to by (having the verse) “Moses commanded Torah to us, the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob” (followed by) “when the heads of the people and the tribes of Israel were gathered together”.

Kiryat ‘Arba, Bnei Shalishim, p. 45, Vazan and Castro Press, Tunis, 1896
His Honor was asked by a friend, a religious person who has well-bred secular friends whom he hosts at home and to whom he serves food at his table, such as meat and wine, and offers them all manner of things, whether this does not involve a transgression, since it is forbidden to share bread with one who does not recite the blessing.
Maran [Our Master], of blessed memory…did not write this in the sense of prohibition but rather as a warning, meaning stringency… since he is fulfilling the commandment of hospitality he is not transgressing "do not place a stumbling-block before the blind", and whether he recites the blessing or doesn't, he should serve him.
Every instance of hospitality has a reason and is an inherent commandment, whether it be receiving guests, brotherly love, granting a favor, domestic harmony, forestalling a threat or obtaining a favor, or unexpected visits that are difficult to send off empty-handed, and it is also a great sin to offend their dignity…
If so, since in each sense there is an aspect of a major or minor commandment, and it is very problematic to embarrass and very problematic to rebuke, and not everyone knows how to rebuke, silence is therefore called for, and amity is best, so that one should receive every person gracefully and provide them with food and drink to their good health, and the Almighty will determine his reward.
Otzar HaMichtavim, Chapter 3, letter A 815, p. 182. Published by Otzrot HaMaghreb, Bnei Issachar Institute, Jerusalem, 1988

"Hillel says: Do not separate yourself from the community. Do not believe in yourself until the day of your death." As for the connection between these two sayings, one might consider that a righteous person's credit protects that generation. Meaning that when the People of Israel are united and can be considered as a single body, they share in each other's credit. But if their hearts are separate and there is no unity between them, then each one is considered on their own and the credit of one is of no benefit to the other… This is what is meant by Hillel's saying "Do not separate yourself from the community". It means that one should not be in conflict with the community or be detached from it, the reason being "Do not believe in yourself until the day of your death" – as if to say that you will have no transgressions for which to be punished. For even if at this moment you have no transgressions, you may have transgressions at some other time, and if you are in unity with the community, you will benefit from the credit of righteous people.

Zion B'Mishpat Tibaneh, Volume 3, p. 14b, Yeshua Haddad Press, 1943
When two people are fulfilling a commandment, and one has already fulfilled it while the second is about to do so, it is appropriate to give priority to honoring the one who is about to fulfill the commandment over the one who has already done so. For example, a person who has finished reading the Torah and goes to sit in his place while another congregant is coming up to read, each of the two being as worthy as the other and of equal standing, it is appropriate that the one who has already read and is descending to defer and make way for the passage of the one being called up to the Torah reading, for the one descending from the teiva [synagogue platform] has already performed and fulfilled the reading commandment, while the one being called up to read has yet to read, and so is to be honored and to be given precedence.
Ginat Vradim, Section Orah Haim, rule a, paragraph 23, p. 43, Yismach Lev Publishing, Jerusalem, 2008

First, I offer my deep thanks to the Beit HaMidrash L'Darshanim committee for their great honor in electing me as Chairperson of the Annual Meeting. I have been told that since the founding of this institution, it has been unheard of that a woman be honored as Chairperson. This is perhaps because it says "I have found no woman among all these", or because you recite "Who hath not made me a woman" in your daily prayers. If so, I find it puzzling that you have honored me as Chairperson. Perhaps this is according to what it says in Tractate Kritot, page 6b, that "Once in sixty or seventy years the surplus would reach half the amount" (a reference to the Incense Offering). For, to your mind, men are the basis and principle of the human species, and woman are only the surplus, something extra and inessential. Just as the incense made of the surplus once in sixty or seventy years was legitimate, so you must have said: This Beit Midrash was founded seventy years ago, and was always chaired by men – they are the essence, and now, once in seventy years, the time has come to give the honor to a woman, one of the gender that is considered as surplus and not essential. I harbor no grudge toward you for the honor you have bestowed upon me, far from it; I rejoice that you have, once in seventy years, also honored a woman. Nevertheless, I will have you note that this fact is not a good sign… Hear me, o teachers and pupils, I hereby reveal to you that you have not entirely erred. I am for the LORD, I love the Torah with all my soul and labor at it, and I lead my children, as well, in the way of Torah.

Y. K. Herzog, Imrei Yoel, C, Sermon of the Great Rabbanit Madam Frecha Sassoon, p. 204-205, Express Printing, London, 1930