The central theme of all the instructions given to us in the scriptures is all about “RELATIONSHIP” we were placed here on earth to perfect our vertical and horizontal relationship.
Indeed, all the messages and instructions contained in the scriptures are fundamentally on relationship with our creator and our fellow man.
A major focus of all the commandments (mitzvoth) the creator gave to man is the need to perfect our relationship with Him and our fellow man.
We are placed here on earth to develop and perfect the ability to get along with one another. Love our creator, love our fe-llowman, and live in peace with one another.
LOVE: THE BEDROCK
The Book “Creating an ethnical Jewish life” by Byron L. Shewin and Seymour J. Cohen stated, “the fundamental premise of Jewish theology is the affirmation of a permanent covenant relationship between G-d and the people of Israel. An essential feature of that relationship is love.”
Throughout the ages, Jewish thinkers and the sages have pondered the meaning of love. Summing up all the laws in one single statement, “Love of our Creator and our fellowman.”
For them, love is a critical component not only of the divine – human relationship, but of all significant relationship.” (Creating an ethical Jewish life).
The Zohar puts it this way, “everything is called love and everything is established for the sake of love.” Listen to what the Jewish mystics observed concerning love, “Love is a cosmic principle that unites all of existence from its supreme upper source to its most humble manifestation.”
KINDNESS TO ANIMALS
The Torah prohibits the torture of, or causing pain to any living creature. One is duty bound to save every living crea-ture from pain or distress, even if it has no owner (hefker)”
In the Book, “to be a Jew”, by Hayim Halevy Donin, it is stated; “A righteous man considers the life of his beast” (see Prov. 12:108).
Not many people know that there is strong tradition in Ju-daism stipulating that animals are to be treated with kindness. Cruelty to animals (known as tsa’ar baalic chayim) is strongly prohibited.
HARMONY THE ORIGINAL PLAN
The original purpose of the MOST HIGH (blessed be He) for creating man was for man to enjoy a harmonious relation-ship with Him and his fellow-man.
This, He intends should engender a state of perfect order and harmony in the whole crea-tion both in heaven, on earth and in the seas.
“He has shown man what is good: and what doth Elohim require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy Mighty-One?” (Micah 6:8)
This scripture is telling us that what is expected from man is to DO JUSTLY (practice righteousness and right living). That is for man to relate with his fellowman, including all the creatures with love and mercy. This will go a long way in bring-ing the whole creation: man, animals, creatures in the seas and birds of the air to a perfect harmony and peace.
The Talmudic Rabbis empha-sized the love of Elohim as chiefly a matter of conduct.
“The commandments of the Torah articulate the will of G-d. One of those commandments is, “you shall love (Yhwh) your Mighty-One.” “How does one love G-d, asks the Sifre, an early Rabbink Midrash. The answer: “Perform (G-d’s commandments) out of love. “-See Urbach pp 365-367
This commandment demands that we act with love and mercy towards all creatures, even the ants and the most insignificant living things.
All creatures relating with one another in the spirit of love and mercy will guarantee a peaceful universe.
Wild animals will not be harmful to man, vice versa, neither man to his fellowman.
All creatures and the Creator will be united together by the supreme virtue Love!
WHERE IS LOVE?
“And the word of Elohim came to Zechariah saying, thus speaketh (YHWH) of Hosts saying execute true judgment, and show mercy and compassion every man to his brother: and oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; AND LET NONE OF YOU IMAGINE EVIL AGAINST HIS BROTEHR IN YOUR HEART,” (zech 7-8-10).
What do we see in the world today?
Judgment is turned back-ward, justice, love and mercy stand afar off: and equity cannot enter. The original purpose of our creator, the Most High (blessed be He) has been thwarted and frustrated.
All through the account of the history of man upon the face of the earth from Adam, the testimony has been the same.
Man’s inhumanity to man, wars/blood shed, hatred and envy, racism, coveteousness/ greediness, lust, power tussle/ power abuse, oppression and victimization have been the order.
LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR
Love is the panacea. We would have come a long way in solving the world’s ills, if this single commandment is obeyed and observed by man.
We would have rid the world of all the ills listed above. All the wars and bloodshed, nation against nation, tribal wars, racism, greediness, oppression and terrorism would not be found any where in the universe.
The ethics of the Father stated it this way, “Let your neighbor’s honour be as dear to you as your own honour.”
The Golden Rule is a universal religious principle. Interestingly, various religions and philosophies in the world has this Golden Rule embedded in their tenets of Faith.
Following is the Golden Rule as found in the tenets of some major religions in the world.
THE GOLDEN RULE
The golden rule is a universal religions principle. Following is a list of tenets from various Faiths and philosophies. Note the similarities.
Judaism: “Whatsoever is hurtful to yourself, do not to your fellowman. That is the whole of the Law, the rest is merely a commentary.” The Bible: New Testament, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”
Islam: “None of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.”
HINDUISM: “The true role of life is to guard and do by the things of others as they do on their own.”
BUDDHISM: “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.”
Confucianism: “Do not unto others what you would not have them do unto you.”
TAOISM: “Regard your neighbour’s gain as your own gain and your neighbour’s loss as your own loss.”
BRAHMANISM: “This is the sum of duty: do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done unto you.”
* Living life based on this principle makes the world a better place to live!
The Avot d’Rabbi Nathan comments, “Just as one esteems one’s own honor, one should esteem his or her neighbor’s honor. Just as nobody desires his or her own reputation to be slandered, so let such a person never desire to slander his or her fellow.”
All the Mitzvot (command-ments) in the scriptures were centered on perfecting our human relationship; love and concern for our fellow man.
“You shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another. You shall not defraud thy neighbor, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning
You shall not go up and down as a tale bearer among thy people,…”
You shall not hate your brother in your heart.”…. You shall not avenge, nor bear grudge against the children of thy people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself:
“Until man will learn to be less hypothetical in the judgement of others, this world will continue in these holocaust of destruction called war until the Armageddon”
-DR. NNAMDI AZIKIWE
Let us learn to love ourselves just as we are, but let us be careful not to make ourselves alone the center of our con-cerns. If one day we should have to chose between hatred and neutrality, let us choose neutrality, for it is better not to love than to hate.
Let us not seek to be loved by everyone, whoever strives to please the majority lies to himself and feeds upon hypocrisy. Let us respect the freedom of others, but let us oppose all those who misuse their freedom to enslave bodies and minds of others.
Since life is an expression of universal love, let us respect all forms of live, whether they be plant or animal.
Let tolerance guide our thoughts, our words, and actions, but never use it as a pretext to weakness which would go against our ideals.
Let us impart to others only that which they are capable of understanding, for if our disclosures are not guarded, they will turn our brethren into formidable foes.
Let us strive daily to do for others that which we would like them to do for us, and let us accept that they do for us what we have not known how to do for them.
Let us be sincere and loyal in friendship, and let us never forget a kindness done to us.”