12 Rejoice and be glad because your reward is great in heaven, for they persecuted the prophets before you in the same way. 13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its flavor, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled on by people! 14 You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 People do not light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good deeds and give honor to your Father in heaven.
Bava Batra 4aBabylonian Talmud
Herod said to him: I am he. Had I known that the Sages were so cautious I would not have killed them. Now, what is that man’s remedy, i.e., what can I do to repent for my sinful actions? Bava ben Buta said to him: He who extinguished the light of the world by killing the Torah Sages, as it is written: “For the mitzva is a lamp, and the Torah is light” (Proverbs 6:23), should go and occupy himself with the light of the world, the Temple, as it is written with regard to the Temple: “And all the nations shall flow [venaharu] unto it” (Isaiah 2:2), the word venaharu alluding to light [nehora]. There are those who say that this is what he said to him: He who blinded the eye of the world, as it is written in reference to the Sages: “And if it be committed through ignorance by the eyes of the congregation” (Numbers 15:24), should go and occupy himself with the eye of the world, the Temple, as it is written: “I will desecrate my Temple, the pride of your strength, the delight of your eyes” (Ezekiel 24:21).
Notes and References
"... You are the light of the world—verses 14 and 15 open our eyes to understand why Yeshua repeats the penalty twice in the statement, “to be cast outside, and it becomes something for sons of men to trample.” For they have a greater responsibility, and their conduct must be an example to others, thus demonstrating the correct path to all creatures and illuminating it for them. And we find in Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 54b: “Anyone who is able to forbid the people of his house from transgressing and does not is seized on account of the them; if he can forbid the people of the town from transgressing and does not, he is seized on account of them; if he can forbid all the world from transgressing and does not, he is seized on account of the whole world.” (Interestingly, Rashi in “on account of the whole world,” notes: “In all of Israel like a king or prince who can rebuke him and he will conform.” Soloveitchik leads the reader to believe that it is a more universal claim. In fact, Rashi’s reading of this passage that Soloveitchik uses to support Matthew 5:14 would support Soloveitchik’s basic premise that Jesus was preaching exclusively to Israel) Therefore, this is what Yeshua means: you are the light of the world, lighting up the whole world and teaching them the good and correct path, and it is incumbent upon you to forbid them from transgressing. And if - God forbid - they depart from the good path, you will be seized on their account not just because of this but for an even greater evil that you did - through your evil deeds, you will have caused them to go down their evil paths. Thus, you will only be worthy to be thrown out and trampled by men ..."
Soloveitchik, Elijah Zvi The Bible, the Talmud, and the New Testament: Elijah Zvi Soloveitchik’s Commentary to the Gospels (p. 103) University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019