Matthew 5:48

New Testament

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be like your Father in heaven, since he causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don’t they? 47 And if you only greet your brothers, what more do you do? Even the Gentiles do the same, don’t they? 48 So then, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Shabbat 133b

Babylonian Talmud

Abba Shaul says: Ve’anveihu should be interpreted as if it were written in two words: Ani vaHu, me and Him [God]. Be similar, as it were, to Him, the Almighty: Just as He is compassionate and merciful, so too should you be compassionate and merciful. In any case, there is no proof from Rabbi Yishmael’s statement with regard to the Paschal lamb that he would say the same with regard to circumcision, as in that case, he might agree that fulfilling the mitzva beautifully justifies overriding Shabbat.

 Notes and References

"... Further illustration that the Talmud is concerned not with discrete actions alone but with how the actions are tied to the person's character can be seen, for example in the use of the legal terms (impurity) and (purity) when not literally relevant as metaphors for the effects of sin, suggesting something inherent in the person rather than the deed. When Nahmanides interpreted 'you shall be holy' as an ethical exhortation, he was expanding upon rabbinic materials, not inventing a new interpretation. (Interestingly, Matthew 5:48 rewrites this verse as 'So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect' ... The NAB also notes that Luke 6:36, the parallel to Matthew 5:48, reads 'Be merciful, just as (also) your Father is merciful.' The term translated 'perfect' is teleios, which like Aristotle's telos means an endpoint. Keenan explains that 'telios', refers to an end point, a point of completion or fulfillment. The word basically means that we are called to be as complete as God is) ..."

Nelkin, Dov Adam Recovering Jewish Virtue Ethics (p. 169) University of Virginia, 2004

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