BabylonianTalmud, Gittin 61a

 

תלמוד בבלי, גיטין סא.

Original Text:

ת"ר: מפרנסים עניי נכרים עם עניי ישראל, ומבקרין חולי נכרים עם חולי ישראל, וקוברין מתי נכרים עם מתי ישראל, מפני דרכי שלום.

Translation:

Our Rabbis taught: We sustain the non-Jewish poor with the Jewish poor, visit the non-Jewish sick with the Jewish sick, and bury the non-Jewish dead with the Jewish dead, for the sake of peace.
[AJWS translation]

Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. What does the "for the sake of peace" mean? Can we talk about peace as positive, not as self-serving?
2. How do we reconcile this text with the common tendency to care for our own first?

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Comments on this Text

Is there a difference between the rationale behind these two argumt
ments for assisting Jew and non-Jew alike? Is the motivation based
on the pursuit of peace? Justice? Truth? Something else?

To Maimonides, the Jewish obligation towards non-Jews, as expressed in
the value of darchei shalom, derives from the Biblical reminder that “God
is good to all, and His mercy is on all of His creations” (Yad, Laws of Kings,
10:12). Man ought to not discriminate, Maimonides implies, where God
does not discriminate.

Do you think the value of darchei shalom is useful in inter-group
relations? What are the limits to the value?

Does it diminish the value of these acts if they are done solely for
darchei shalom?

Do you think the value is driven by the minority status of Jews at the
time the value was framed?

Would the value have as much resonance where Jews are in the
majority, such as in Israel?