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May one love a non-Jew? Not romantically in the sense of marriage, but rather in the sense that one loves a friend or family. May a Jew love his Gentile father, for example? May a baal teshuvah continue to love his non-Jewish friends?

I realize the question sounds a bit ridiculous, but it is sources like those cited here that lead me to seek a clear answer.

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6 Answers 6

up vote 12 down vote accepted

The No'am Elimelech on parshas Vayishlach writes:

והצדיק גם כן אוהב את השם ואת כל אדם בעולם, ועל דרך שאמר רבי יוחנן (ברכות יז): מעולם לא הקדימני אדם שלום בשוק, אפילו נכרי

A tzadik also loves Hashem and every person in the whole world, as is said about Rabbi Yochanan that he would great every person in the market with Shalom..even non Jews.

Undoubtedly the quote from Rav Chayim Vital that Hacham Gabriel brought factored directly or indirectly into the the No'am Elimelech's presentation: "ויאהב את כל הבריות אפילו גויים"..."and he loves every living being, even a non-Jew." which is listed as the opposite of the trait of hatred which he says prevents one from cleaving to G-d.

So while there are very real concept of hating the wicked, which can apply to a Jew or a non-Jew in theory and may not be entirely mutually exclusive with an obligation to love, it is very clear that one is playing with fire since hatred is such negative middah (character trait).

With that in mind it is necessary to recall the words of the Holy Divrei Chaim of Sanz, "First although the poskim have made clear to us that the prohibition against following in the ways of the gentiles, the intention is not, G-d forbid, to belittle the honor of the other nations; for, on the contrary, we are strictly enjoined to honor the nations, both the rulers and the general populace. Even concerning the nation whose yoke rested the most heavily on our necks--that is, the Egyptionas, who imposed a crule servitde upon us -- nevertheless, after the Creator, Blessed be He, took us from there, and we were at the height of exaltation, without fear of any human being, He commanded us, blessed be His name Do not abominate and Egyptian (לא תתעב מצרי; Deuteronomy 23:8), and instructed us not to belittle their honor because in spite of all, we did derive benefit from thir country. All the more so, then, are we obligated to show honor to those countries in the shad of whose protection we rest, and where Hashem, Blessed be He, has caused us to find favor in their eyes, so that they have eased their yoke upon us....." (Divrei Chaim YD 178a, translated in The Sanzer Rav and His Dynasty, Artscroll).

[Finally is should be noted that the entire premise of the post cited in the question has been disproved by the quote from Hacham Gabriel, since the source of the Tanya vis a vi the metaphysical sources of non-Jewish souls has been shown to state one must love gentiles.]

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Rabbi Haim Vital (Sefer Shaare Kedusha 1:5) writes that one should love gentiles.

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Excellent Source!! I wish I could up vote more than once! –  Yirmeyahu Feb 16 '12 at 5:18
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it's actually Shaare Kedusha 1:5 - "be joyful, even during times of suffering, love all people even gentiles, don't be jealous for anything because like the shadow of the day is our time on the land, hate and call vanity all matters of this world, and eat bread with salt, etc. (a reference to Pirkei Avos 6:4), don't desire anything of the vanities of this world, and run away with all your strength from serara (dominion over others) which buries its possesor." –  ray Feb 12 '13 at 18:25
    
@R.Sebag I actually went over it and saw that a few months ago but forgot to change it. Thank you for the reminder. –  Hacham Gabriel Feb 12 '13 at 23:27
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this source can be interpreted as mida chasidut not chiyuv like much of the context as he is telling people how to prepare oneself to reach the level of ruach hakodesh, see the intro to the book: dafyomireview.com/shaarei_kedusha.php –  ray Jun 3 '13 at 6:52
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Let's be very clear here. All human beings are created "Btzelem Elokim". Every human being must be loved, just as Gd must be loved. As it says "Veyahavta"

The gemora states clearly that the Torah begins with the story of Adam, so that no person may say to another person that they have better ancestors.

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All human beings are created "Btzelem Elokim". Not everybody agrees with it, e.g daatemet.org.il/articles/article.cfm?article_id=119&lang=he –  malenkiy_scot Feb 16 '12 at 8:16
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And they are wrong. Furthermore that website is full of statements which are taken out of context (i.e. their sugyot), and appears to be full of ignorance. –  avi Feb 16 '12 at 8:23
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If someone has to lie to prove their point, then there isn't a point to be made :) –  avi Feb 16 '12 at 9:41
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I disagree that it's lying. The arguments are by no means black and white and largely depend on your hashkafa. And in this case the hashkafa is largely determined by your environment. Living among the gentiles in the 21st century America is not at all the same as living in the pale of settlement in the 18th. And some people still mentally live in the 18th century shtetl. Which, in my opinion, has some advantages to Jews as a whole, because who knows what the future holds for us. –  malenkiy_scot Feb 16 '12 at 10:10
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No, it is lying. The fact that I treat my parents and siblings better than I treat other Jews, does not mean that Other Jews were not created in the Image of Gd, and does not mean I don't have to love them. Chal V'Chomer the rest of humanity, where we are told explicitly that they are created in Gd's image. –  avi Feb 16 '12 at 10:15
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One must love everyone, even non-Jews but at the same time one MUST hate evil - but just not the evildoers, otherwise one will become corrupted.

this a delicate balance and it is very well explained in this sermon from Rabbi Louis Isaac Rabinowitz zt'l the former chief rabbi of South africa: (one of my all-time favorites)

http://dafyomireview.com/article.php?docid=396

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"but just not the evildoers, otherwise one will become corrupted." I disagree with your interpretation of the cited book excerpt; e.g. see the last three paragraphs of the excerpt. It's possible he meant to distinguish between different degrees or types of evil. For example an ordinary sinner may be different than the kind of extremely evil person referred to in T'hillim 139:19-22. (There may be an opinion that one should never hate any person ever, but R' Rabinowitz did not seem to take that position). Also to clarify, I don't argue with the first six or seven words of your post. –  Fred Mar 10 '13 at 18:16
    
i was explaining it as a follow up to the previous answer from sharei kedusha –  ray Jun 3 '13 at 7:38
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See the sources on pages 6 through 10 in this book, Compassion for Humanity in the Jewish Tradition by R' Dovid Sears, which can be read for free here:

http://books.google.com/books?id=A9rYWqYYh2QC&pg=PA6&dq=%22neighbor+means+that+we+should+love+all%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=JYcaUZimL-T8yAG3hYHgDw&ved=0CDYQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%22neighbor%20means%20that%20we%20should%20love%20all%22&f=false

Several of these quotes discuss loving non-Jews.

The quotes include the following, among others:

1) a beautiful quote from Sefer HaBris II: 13 which argues that one should love all humanity,

2) a second quote from the same chapter of the same work attempting to prove that the commandment to love one's neighbor applies to all people,

3) an anecdote indicating that the famed chassidic rabbi Pinchas of Koretz was very pleased with the teaching of Sefer HaBris that we should love all people,

4) a longer version of the quote by R' Chaim Vital mentioned in another answer,

5) a quote from the Maharal of Prague about how we should love all creatures,

6) an extended quote from Rav Kook about how we should love all creatures and all humanity.

7) a quote from Ramak's Tomer Devorah, ch. 3, about how we should help and pray for and have compassion on all creatures.

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This might be better as a comment to the answer you're referring to. Alternatively, if you summarize what is said, that can stand as its own answer. –  Charles Koppelman Feb 12 '13 at 18:20
    
I'm going to convert to a comment to Yirmeyahu's answer, as it is currently a link only answer and convertable anyway. Kordovero, if you decide to you can summarize the contents of the link and post it as its own answer, whereby the comment can be deleted. –  Double AA Feb 12 '13 at 18:22
    
Thank you for your edits. I've undeleted this post. –  Double AA Feb 12 '13 at 18:38
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of course you should. there is never too much love in the world. if being involved with mitzvas and learning Torah doesn't produce caring about others and being kind then something is severely wrong. One thing to take into consideration as a baal teshuvah is who are friends were before becoming involved with Judaism and their influence on us now. While you should never be mean to them your interaction with them will be different. kosher food, shabbos, not being involved with the same activities as before, respectfully as declining invitations to events within churches and other foreign religious places of worship. There also may be friends previously had who would be best to distance yourself from if they happen to be involved in negative behavior or will have a negative impact on your growth as a spiritualy connected person. One must always honor their parents but of course doesn't require one to fulfill their wishes if doing so is contrary to Jewish law. Love for another doesn't mean giving up one's own identity but finding common ground on which to communicate. So yes one should love others but understand who I am and how I must must conduct myself within Jewish law.

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