|Understanding Torah Society - part 9 - Brother's Keeper
B'reshit (Genesis) 4:9
And YHWH said to Qayin, "Where is Abel thy brother?" And he said, "I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?"
Context is always important in gaining a true understanding of any passage of Scripture. It seems particularly true when looking into the passage just above. Qayin (Cain) had become jealous and angry with his brother Abel. As a result, Qayin killed his brother. Both Qayin as well as YHWH knew what Qayin had done. The question which YHWH asks Qayin is based upon that knowledge. Not only is the question based upon that knowledge, but Qayin's answer is as well.
What YHWH was confronting Qayin with was the safety and well-being of Abel. When YHWH asks where Abel was, YHWH already knew he was dead. What YHWH is actually asking Qayin, Is your brother safe and well? Of course, he was not. But what is even more telling is Qayin's answer, that he was not responsible for the safety and well-being of his brother. However, this is not what Scripture teaches. What Scripture teaches is that a person is indeed his brother's keeper, i.e., that each person is charged with the safety and well-being of every other person in a society based upon Torah. No person is to kill his brother-not physically or with words.
Matithyah (Matthew) 5:21-22
21 "You have heard that it was said to them of old time, 'You shall not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment;'
22 but I say unto you, that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother, 'Raca,' shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, 'You fool,' shall be in danger of the hell of fire."
The Aramaic word "raca" literally means "spit". Thus, to either spit upon another or to say that one spits upon another incurs judgment upon oneself. This, according to Mashiach Yeshua, is equal to taking a person's life. It is wrong to take a person's life either physically or metaphorically in a Torah society.
Vayyiqra (Leviticus) 19:18
"You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people; but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am YHWH.
Yeshua taught us that this commandment and principle was the second greatest commandment, second only to loving YHWH our Elohim with all one's being. We are commanded to be our brother's keeper. In fact, it is the doing of the second greatest commandment which proves that one is keeping the first greatest commandment to love YHWH our Elohim with all one's being. The problems seem to arise when one does not properly understand exactly what it means to be his "brother's keeper."
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