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From Keli Hemda, (in N. Glatzer, ed., In Time and Eternity)


“…you shall. Love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord…” [Leviticus 19:18]. …This explains two things. First, since the souls that are as they should be, are all a part of God, and since the soul of one man and the soul of his neighbor are both carved out of the same throne of Splendour, therefore “love for your neighbor as for yourself” is meant literally, for he is as you. Since I, God, am He who created your soul and the soul of your neighbor, he is as you. And, second, if your love for your neighbor is as the love for yourself, this is considered love for Me, because “I am the Lord.” Since your love for him is like the love for yourself, even for him who is an infinitesimal part of Me — how much more will you love Me! For the love of your neighbor will be considered as if I, God, had myself received it.


Rabbi Samuel ben Abraham Laniado (circa 16th Century) was a Jewish scholar who worked in Aleppo, Syria. He devoted his life to the Midrash — interpretive literature of the Jewish scriptures — and the author of several midrashic commentaries, including his best-known work, Keli Hemda, a commentary on the Torah. Because of this and other works on scripture, he is considered a leading light in Sephardic Jewish scholarship.

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