Who is My Neighbor

     So, just who is my neighbor? I ask because one of the things I learned growing up was the saying "Love your neighbor as yourself". It is really easy to think of your neighbor as only those people in your area, but is that what is really meant? And, what does it mean to love your neighbor? Certainly not romantic or familial love. I believe that this means wishing the best for everyone, whoever they are, whatever their circumstances; although this admittedly becomes hard in some instances.
     I think these questions are especially important at a time like this, when so many people are stressed, so many are in need. Is the undocumented worker who is out of work, whose children are hungry but who is ineligible for assistance my neighbor? I think so. I just mailed a small amount of money to a woman who is buying grocery store gift cards to help them out. (And, let's be clear here, unless they are living under a bridge, paid cash under the table and only acquire what they need out of dumpsters, the undocumented do pay taxes, including income and FICA taxes.) Who else is my neighbor? Is it the stranger? Judaism has a strong emphasis on welcoming the stranger because Jews were once strangers in
Egypt. Is it the homeless person sleeping on the street?
    And, surely, love of neighbor includes having compassion for others. Trying to see the full circumstances in which someone is in. It can be hard to do this. I fail at this, probably more regularly than I would like to admit. But, working on having compassion, making it the first place to go in thought and feeling is where I would like to be in my life. I know that the next step, once I accomplish this is that other thorny issue, loving the enemy. Oh boy. That's a real toughie.
     What do you think about all this?

The first photograph is by Park Dasol and the second is by Nina Strehl. I found them on unsplash.com. The third image is from my book, Opening the Heart: Meditations on How to Be. Please click here if you would like to know more about me, my services and my book.