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Parashat Vaetchanan - I AM your neighbor...

I AM your neighbor...

Further thoughts on Parashat Vaetchanan

by John J. Parsons

This week's Torah portion (Vaetchanan) repeats Aseret Hadibrot (the Ten Commandments) as they were initially given in Parashat Yitro (Ex. 20:2-17). Though there are some slight language differences between the Exodus and Deuteronomy versions, both begin with "I AM" (אָנכִי) and both end with "[for] your neighbor" (לְרֵעֶךָ). Joining these together says "I am your neighbor," indicating that the LORD Himself is found in your neighbor. When we love our neighbor as ourselves (אָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ), we are in effect showing love for the LORD.  We must learn to disregard the claims of our ego and cling to the idea of chesed. So who is your neighbor? You are -- to every other soul you may encounter this day...

Good Samaritan

Spirit and truth, chaverim: בְּרוּחַ וּבֶאֱמֶת.  Deuteronomy 4:39 commands us to "know this day and lay it to your heart that the LORD is God alone." The glory of the LORD fills the entire earth (Isa. 6:3).  It's never sufficient to merely know about the LORD. Holy knowledge must be taken into the heart so that the will conforms to the truth....

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