That which is hurtful

At lunch a few days ago, with some professors, I asked a Jewish colleague about what the Torah or Talmud teaches about how we treat others.

(This was, of course, in the midst of a discussion about politics and our current American meanness toward those who are less privileged.)

He replied with the words of Hillel the Elder (1st century B.C.E.): “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow: this is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.”

I love this inversion of what we call the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

The reverse is just as powerful: if you find hateful (or even hurtful) something that is done to you, then don’t do it to others.

And then there is Maya Angelou:  “You do what you can do, until you know better”.

 

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