Matthew 25:41

New Testament

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels! 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. 43 I was a stranger and you did not receive me as a guest, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they too will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not give you whatever you needed?’ 45 Then he will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for me.’ 46 And these will depart into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Nedarim 40a

Babylonian Talmud

Rav said: Anyone who visits the ill is spared from the judgment of Gehenna, as it is stated: “Happy is he that considers the poor; the Lord will deliver him in the day of evil” (Psalms 41:2). In this verse, the term poor [dal] means nothing other than ill, as it is stated in the prayer of Hezekiah when he was ill: “He will cut me off from the illness [middalla]” (Isaiah 38:12). Alternatively, it may be derived from this verse in which Jonadab asked his sick friend Amnon, son of King David: “Why, son of the king, are you so sick [dal] from morning to morning?” (II Samuel 13:4). And the term evil means nothing other than Gehenna, as it is stated: “The Lord made everything for His own purpose, and even the wicked for the day of evil” (Proverbs 16:4), and the ultimate punishment of the evildoer is Gehenna.

 Notes and References

"... Jesus pushed farther and challenged the conventional criteria of righteousness. Those standing on the right, who would enjoy eternal life in God's kingdom, were blessed because they alleviated the distress of people in need. They fed the hungry, slaked the thirst of the parched, befriended the stranger, provided garments to the poor, cared for people who were ill, and assisted those in prison. These acts expressed explicitly what the sages called g'milut khasadim - 'deeds of lovingkindness.' According to Simeon, 'The world is sustained by three things: by Torah, by Temple worship and by deeds of lovingkindness.' All six acts were encouraged in Jewish literature. Neglecting them was tantamount to apostasy. 'Hospitality to wayfarers is more important than welcoming the shekhina.' 'A person who neglects to visit the sick is like one who sheds blood.' And a passage that echoed the statement of Jesus in our parable: 'My children,' God said to Israel, 'whenever you give food to the poor, I impute it to you as though you gave Me food.' Jesus knew sick people the Pharisees never visited, poor people the sages never noticed, and prisoners the lawyers ignored. For Jesus, such persistent neglect on the part of many of the leaders and teachers of Israel was a clear indication that they didn't care. The anguish and suffering of the poor and disadvantaged didn't move them. He felt they were heartless and lacked compassion. They would be surprised, Jesus warned, when they found themselves on the left side, doomed to destruction ..."

Stern, Frank A Rabbi Looks at Jesus’ Parables (pp. 251-252) Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2006

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