04 July 2012


Michelangelo painting Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Genesis 2:9 And out of the ground made the L-rd G'd to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden and the tree of knowledge of good and evilGenesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

"And know that there is more encompassed in the words “to do,” for the six days of creation are akin to the days of the existence of the world." [AJWS translation]

According to Ramban, the creation of the world is not completed, but in the continual process of creation.

What is it about Good and about Evil? It is said in the name of the house of Rabbi Yanai, one who give a poor person a small amount of money in public, for it happened once that Rabbi Yanai saw a certain man give some money to a poor person in public, it is better that he not give him than that he gives him now and disgraces him. The house of Rabbi Shiloh says, one who gives charity to a woman privately brings her into suspicion. [AJWS translation]

PSALMS 34:12-20
Come, children, listen to me; I will teach you what it is to fear G'd. Who is the man who is eager for life, who desires years of good fortune? Guard your tongue from evil, your lips from deceitful speech. Shun evil and do good, seek amity and pursue it. The eyes of G'd are on the righteous, G-d's ears attentive to their cry. The face of G'd is set against evildoers, to erase their names from the earth. They cry out, and G'd hears, and saves them from all their troubles. G'd is close to the brokenhearted; G'd delivers those crushed in spirit. Though the misfortunes of the righteous be many, G'd will save him from them all. [JPS translation]

If one observes that another committed a sin or walks in a way that is not good, it is the person’s duty to bring the erring one back to the right path and point out that he/she is wronging him/herself by this evil course, as it is said, “You shall surely rebuke your neighbor” (Leviticus 19:17). One who rebukes another, whether for offenses against the one who rebukes him/herself or for sins against G'd, should administer the rebuke in private, speak to the offender gently and tenderly, and point out that the rebuke is offered for the wrongdoer’s own good, to secure for the other life in the World to Come. If the person accepts the rebuke, well and good. If not, the person should be rebuked a second, and a third time. And so one is bound to continue the admonitions, until the sinner assaults the admonisher and says, “I refuse to listen.” Whoever is in a position to prevent wrongdoing and does not do so is responsible for the iniquity of all the wrongdoers whom that person might have restrained.

MISHNA AVOT 5:13 - There are four types of charity givers:
- One who wishes to give, but that others should not give: their eye is evil towards that which belongs to others.
- One who wishes that others should give, but that they themselves should not give: their eye is evil towards that which is their own.
- One who desires that they themselves should give, and that others should give: they are pious.
- One who desires that they themselves should not give and that others too should not give: they are wicked. [translation by USCJ, edited for gender neutrality]

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