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Words of wisdom from Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin in the book To Be a Jew


"The Torah teaches us 'And you shall love your neighbor as yourself'(Lev. 19:18).  Therefore, a person is bidden to praise the virtues of another just as he would like himself to be praised and to be as protective about his friend's assets as he is about his own.  In commenting upon the practical implementation of the above Biblical verse, Hillel said 'What is hateful to you, do not do to others'.(47)"

"All who show mercy, mercy will be shown to them, for it is written 'The L-rd will be kind and compassionate to you and will multiply you...'(Deut. 13:18)"(49).

"The Torah states: 'You shall not go about as a tale bearer among your people' (Lev. 19:16).  A tale bearer is one who goes about saying, 'I heard this and this about so and so'.  Even if what he says is true, he still transgresses the commandment.  Tale bearing is a great sin and can cause great bloodshed (literally or figuratively) and that is why this precept is immediately followed by the one, 'And you shall not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor'."(52).

"Four types of persons are not worthy of the Divine Presence (i.e., G-d does not enter their midst): idlers, insincere flatterers, liars and those who talk with an evil tongue"(53).

"A person must keep away from things that cause illness and train himself to do only things that are healthy...Thus, excessive drinking, smoking, the abuse of drugs, or the eating of foods that may prove harmful to health are forbidden from the halakhic view"(60).

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"To persons looking in from the outside--Jew or gentile--the Sabbath might appear to be restrictive...Yet experienced from within, it is just the reverse.  It serves as a glorious release from weekday concerns, routine pressures, and even secular recreation.  It is a day of peaceful tranquility, inner joy and spiritual uplift, accompanied by song and cheer"(62).