I am an Italian son of Noah.

How does the majority Jewish tradition interpret the figure of "your enemy" mentioned in Exodus 23:4-5?

"If you come upon your enemy's bull or his stray donkey, you shall surely return it to him. If you see your enemy's donkey lying under its burden would you refrain from helping him? You shall surely help along with him".

If I remember correctly, in the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch of Rabbi Shlomo Ganzfried "your enemy" is identified in the person towards whom you have such a deep resentment that you do not speak to him for three consecutive days; in some passages of the Talmud, if I am not mistaken, the enemy in question is identified with the idolater. Can you help me to understand better?


Artscroll's commentary explains

Under ordinary circumstances it is forbidden to hate a fellow Jew (Vayikra 19:17). Therefore the Sages explain that the verse speaks about someone whom it is permitted to hate, meaning someone who persists in committing sins despite warnings that he refrain from doing so. Such a person should be hated until he repents. Nevertheless the Torah commands that he be helped under circumstances described in these verses (Rambam, Hil Rotzeach 13:13). Furthermore if one finds both his good friend and this hated person in the same predicament, he must first go to the assistance of the hated one, in order to subdue the evil inclination that encourages one to let an enemy suffer (Bava Metzia 32b-33a).

As the Rambam explains further "the enemy mentioned in the Torah is of Jewish origin and not a foreign enemy".

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