אחרי מות–קדושים

This week’s double parsha contains many portions central to Jewish life today, and they are widely discussed, both this week and year-round.  I want to focus, instead, of an issue of form I noticed.  Early in the week’s reading, there are a number of laws laid out – e.g. laws related to human and non-human animal blood, worshiping other deities, etc. – which begin with a formulaic phrase: ואיש איש מבית ישראל ומן הגר הגר בתוכם meaning “and any person from the house of Israel or the stranger that sojourns with you.”  In other words, all of these laws apply equally to Jews and anyone who lives in a Jewish city/state.  I don’t think the modern implications of this need much ingenuity to be drawn out – there is much discussion today about how non-Jews with Israeli citizenship and Palestinians without citizenship are treated in Israel.  The Torah is unequivocal here about how they ought to be treated: just as Jews are, as arguably the most famous verse in the parsha states: ואהבת לרעך כמוך “and you shall love your neighbour as yourself.”

You shall be treated

Equally to all others

Living among you

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