Religion & Beliefs

Mitzvah of the Week: Love Your Neighbor Like Yourself

People like to apply this mitzvah to just about any situation, and it makes me crazy that we often end up overlooking the most literal interpretation. You have to be nice to your neighbors. In my case this means keeping … Read More

By / November 9, 2007

People like to apply this mitzvah to just about any situation, and it makes me crazy that we often end up overlooking the most literal interpretation. You have to be nice to your neighbors. In my case this means keeping the music and partying down after midnight, and remembering to wheel the garbage can to the front of the driveway. I was thinking about it today because I was reading the news today and noticed a story about Rabbis for Human Rights helping out Palestinian olive farmers who routinely have to deal with harassment and theft from Israeli settlers. I have a cousin who used to be one of those settlers, and while I have a variety of unpleasantly themed feeling about his politics, what I really can’t get over in this scenario is how incredibly rude he was to someone who essentially lived in his backyard. It’s comforting to see that there are still groups of people dedicated to making nice with the neighbors, and even helping them out they’re in need. If you’re in Israel now and would like to help pick olives with Palestinian farmers, Rabbis for Human Rights is still looking for volunteers, through December 15th. You can call 02-6482757 to sign up, or visit their website. You can read articles about the olive harvest here (English) and here (Hebrew).

And before people rip me a new one in the comments, I want to mention that I absolutely think that the Palestinians have done a generally crappy job of being good neighbors, but that doesn’t exempt us from the mitzvah.