Today’s Aliyah

Dvar Torah for Kedoshim 4th Aliyah

The Torah instructs us to “love your neighbor as yourself” (19:18), and then several pesukim later, in its discussion of strangers, specifies to love him (convert) as yourself (19:34). What does the Torah accomplish by singling out converts? It is ostensibly the same requirement.

Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky suggests that there is an added obligation specific to converts. While loving your neighbor is an inherent obligation, loving a convert is a moral obligation. The difference is subtle but significant in that it accounts for an appreciation for others’ struggles. The message inherent in this added edict is to not only accept others for who they are and where they are on their journey of improvement but also be mindful of what it must have taken for them to get there.