"So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets”.
Leviticus 19:17 tells us, " thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbor (KJV)”. To rebuke our neighbor is actually a commandment. If we don’t do it we “suffer sin." I would dare say that this commandment has no problem being observed. There is certainly no shortage of people always trying to rebuke other. Our personal inferiority complex and sickly craving for recognition constantly pushes us in wanting to be found to be the one bringing everybody else on the right path. Let’s look a little deeper at this commandment.
Whereas we do owe the truth to people around us (Ezekiel 3:17–19), I don’t think this commandment applies to people who faithfully follow their understanding, however erroneous, of obedience to God. This commandment applies more to those who knowing the truth, deliberately and willfully disobey it. Yeshua gave a good example on how to apply this commandment. He did not use it with the Sadducees and the Samaritans who were taught to reject pharisaic understanding of the Torah, as much as with the Pharisees themselves who were more enlightened. Being a Pharisee himself, Yeshua knew that they knew better. Another point to remind ourselves is that the Torah also forbids shaming others publicly. Our Master Yeshua reminds us of this. He even equates it with murder (Matthew 5:21-22).
Rashi the medieval Jewish sage had a particular take on the Torah command to rebuke others. In Hebrew the verse says, ‘oke’ach, itokyach’ which could roughly literally be translated as: ‘rebuke yourself, rebuke others’. What Rashi taught was that you must take a good look at yourself before you go on rebuking others as this will give you the dynamics of compassion that will help your brother to listen to you. Yeshua taught the same understanding of the commandment, He said, "First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye (Matthew 7:5)”. Judges from the Sanhedrin believed that they were unfit to judge a case if they could not find within themselves the sin of the accused. They felt unfit because in such a case they would not be equipped with the compassion necessary to judge the case in a Godly fashion.
Moses then ends the command to rebuke others with, “… you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am Adonai (Leviticus 19:18)”, a command which Yeshua commented on saying that it was the second most important in the whole Torah (Matthew 22:36–40). Also, another Jewish sage, R. Akiva who lived after Yeshua, called the command to love others as ourselves "the fundamental rule of Torah" and paraphrased it in: “What is hateful to you, do not do to others” (Shabbos 31 a). I wonder where he got these words from.
P. Gabriel Lumbroso
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