Part Two of a three part series on “The Holiness Code” (Parsha Kodeshim). (Part One: Kodeshim – What Does Holiness Mean?)
Leviticus is called “the heart of the Torah” because of the number of commandments it contains. This Parsha (Torah Portion) alone contains 51 mitzvot (commandments or obligations), including the biggee to “Love your kinsman (fellow) as yourself: I am the LORD.” [Vayikra/Leviticus 19:18].
Rabbi Akiva said loving your kinsman is a fundamental principle of the Torah.
Rabbi Hillel is famous for his take on loving your fellow:
What is hateful to you do not to another, that is the whole of the Torah, all the rest is commentary.
Yet within this very same Torah passage, we are told to “Reprove your kinsman, and incur no guilt (or sin) because of him.” [Vayikra/Leviticus 19:17]
This Parsha (Torah Portion) tells us that love, self-love and rebuke are interconnected, obligating us to reprove a person for their wrong-doings, without carrying their sin and guilt.
We can see from this verse that boundaries, accountability, communication and *corrective experiences are pivotal aspects of the “Holiness Code.”
To clarify, there are strict parameters on the art of reproving in Jewish Law. It’s an egregious sin (equivalent to murder) to humiliate a person by reproving in front of others. Moreover, we must never reprove out of vengeance or spite.
Reproving is not taken lightly. It’s an earnest, conscientious and private dialogue intended to clear the air on wrong-doings that have inflicted harm or hurt. Repression is toxic, therefore Tochecha (rebuke) allows you to speak your Truth in the interests of emotional health.
1. Can love your fellow “as yourself,” if you don’t truly love yourself?
I believe we can love others and show love for others without necessarily loving ourselves.
Sometimes we love ourselves without even realizing it, simply by engaging in activities that bring us solace, healing or joy.
The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman, describes Love as:
2. Does loving your fellow necessarily involve emotional love?
I don’t think you have to love someone emotionally in order to SHOW love or behave Lovingly towards them. Caretaking is Love. Compassion is Love. Simply treating a person as valued, visible, heard and respected is Love.
3. In this Parsha we learn that love, self-love and rebuke dovetail, although rebuke is a strictly private interaction for the purpose of tikkun (repair). We’re also instructed not to take on another person’s sin or guilt.
How do you feel about reproving or being reproved (as defined in Jewish Law)? Have you ever carried the burden of another person’s sin or guilt?
What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear! 😉
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*Thanks to Shaina for the term “corrective experiences.” It’s a great one to add to our repertoire.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s Rosh Hashanah post. 🍎🍯
Torah — first Five Book of Moses — Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.