September 20, 2018

A Moment in Time: What Does it Mean to “Love Thy Neighbor”?

Dear all,

Hanan Schlesinger, an Orthodox Rabbi, and Ali Abu Awward, a Palestinian non-violent peace activist both live in neighboring communities in the West Bank.

They recently spoke of their wake up call to see, to really see, who the other community was. In their journey, they embraced the question, “Who is my neighbor?”

Torah teaches us to “love thy neighbor.” But what does that really mean?

We have the next door neighbor.
We have the neighboring street.
The neighboring city.
Country.
Planet.
….

In other words, our neighbor can be anyone. We need to make the choice to draw them close.  This often takes lowering our guard, allowing vulnerabilities to surface, and extinguishing preconceived notions.  Sure, there will be disagreements.  That’s ok.  That’s what life is often about.

It’s not always easy to do. But to begin the process takes only a moment in time.
With love and Shalom,

Rabbi Zach Shapiro