25 Woe to you who are well satisfied with food now, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. 26 Woe to you when all people speak well of you, for their ancestors did the same things to the false prophets. 27 “But I say to you who are listening: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 To the person who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other as well, and from the person who takes away your coat, do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and do not ask for your possessions back from the person who takes them away.
Avot D'Rabbi Natan 23Mishnah
Ben Zoma would say: Who is wise? One who learns from every person, as it says (Psalms 119:99), “From all my teachers I gained insight.”<br>Who is the humblest of all? One who is humble like Moses our teacher, as it says (Numbers 12:33), “And the man Moses was exceedingly humble.”Who is the richest of all? One who is happy with what he has, as it says (Psalms 128:1), “You will eat from the work of your hands, and you will be happy and prosperous.”<br>Who is the strongest of all? One who is able to conquer his desire, as it says (Proverbs 16:32), “Better to be forbearing than mighty, to have self-control than to conquer a city.” And one who conquers his desire is considered as if he had conquered a city full of warriors, as it says (Proverbs 21:22), “One wise man prevailed over a city of warriors.” The true warriors are warriors in Torah, as it says (Psalms 103:20), “Mighty warriors do His bidding.” Some say these are the angels who serve God, as it says (ibid.), “Bless the Eternal, His angels, [mighty warriors.]” And some say: One who can turn an enemy into his friend.
Notes and References
"... The point is well-taken that the Rabbis and early Christians both have a counterbalancing principle that one may love and help the enemy. The Torah commands, “When you encounter your enemy's ox or donkey lost, return it to them. When you see the donkey of your enemy lying [collapsed] under its/his burden, if you would [wish to] stop and refrain from helping it/him, you must nevertheless help [raise it] with him.” (Exodus 23:4-5). As in the parable of the Good Samaritan the test of enmity occurs on the road when there is no one else to help. In the Torah the enemy is an ethnic brother but one's personal foe. The Rabbis suggest pragmatically that by conquering your impulse to take vengeance the enemy may even be transformed into your ally by your unexpected act of kindness ("Who is a hero? One who turns an enemy into a friend"- Avot D'Rabbi Natan 23). One holds out hope for the enemy to change which is a sign of concern for the other, but one also overcomes one's negative trait of vengeance and grudge-bearing. Associated with the commandment not to hate one's brother and to love one's fellow is the prohibition on bearing grudges and taking vengeance (Leviticus 19:17-18). If the enemy is not only a personal foe but a morally-delinquent fellow Jew, then one may show love by seeking their repentance (b. Berakhot 10a) ... Even national enemies are not to be abhorred forever, rather one recalls better days: You shall abhor an Egyptian for you were a stranger in their land (Deuteronomy 23:8). But Jesus does not merely forbid hate and commend one-sided offers of aid. He insists on a paradoxical reversal of feelings: “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28) ..."
Zion, Noam For the Love of God: Comparative Religious Motivations for Giving (p. 90) Zion Holiday Publications, 2013
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