Thursday, April 23, 2009

You shall love your ....

    veahavta l'reyacha kamocha,

    You shall love your ..... as yourself.
What if our Bibles gave us an actual translation of the Hebrew or Greek instead of that odd word "neighbour"? What if it said,
    You shall love your companion as your self.

    You shall love your spouse as your self.

    You shall love your fellow (Christian/Jew/you name it) as your self.
These are all accurate translations. The word is used for members of the same community in the Torah, or for spouses and lovers, as in Song of Solomon. Except in S. of S. it is translated as "my love."
    You shall love your mate as your self.

    You shall love your fellow human as your self.
But think about it. Imagine a Bible that says that the full Torah on marriage is that you should love your spouse as yourself. You would just have to get on with it, and figure out how to do that, considering how different one person is from another. It would be a challenge all right, but with a little help from a comedian like Mark Gungor, we could get right down to it.

The larger question, of course, is where to draw the line. What about our fellow human beings? What about our work-mates, and colleagues, or families?
  • mate
  • companion
  • fellow human
Not to overstress the point, what is the best translation? And how can we make it clear that men and women are indeed "fellow humans" to each other?


Mara Reid said...


I used to tell people that when Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself that included your spouse.
It seemed to me that some men, in particular, felt like their wives didn't qualify as neighbors... since they were, what... women?
Thanks for the info. I knew neighbor had to include our spouses. I had no idea how overwhelmingly true my advice really was.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

The law, as it was originally given, seems to include women in with the belongings of a man. A man is not to covet his neighbour's wife.

However, the word reyacha is used in the Song of S. for "mate" or "spouse" and so one can certainly expect a translation which opens up this possibility.

This is what we should expect to see in a concordant translation.

Love your mate as yourself.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

As an afterthought, I am still aware that some people simply need to leave. It has always been this way. Sometimes that really is the kindest thing to do.

Kristen said...

The significance of counting wives/women as neighbors seems to me to be this. If loving our fellow-human means to do to him/her as we would have done to ourselves--

Then the question must be asked of men, "Would you like to be in a state of of subordination, merely because of your gender? Would you like to be denied the call of God to preach or teach, merely because of your gender? Would you like to be expected to stay home, take care of the house and children AND HAVE NO OTHER OPTIONS because of your gender? Would you like your spouse to always have a trump card to play in any decision-- an automatic right to overrule your wishes? Would you like your genitals, and not your character, to be the criteria on which you are judged?"

If you would not, then shouldn't you treat women as you would like to be treated?

adventuresinmercy said...

Love it. You rock, Sue. :)