Jesus and Rabbi Hillel Explain Human Nature

Jeffrey Field
2 min readDec 31, 2023

Heading to Las Cruces City Council Tuesday for a third time. Here’s my speech.

Our inclination to extend a helping hand to others is a testament to our inherent goodness. This is a fundamental truth about human nature. It is also important to recognize our cognitive limitations in truly perceiving the vast tapestry of humanity that surrounds us. Restricted by nature, our mental scope often limits our ability to see more than a select few as fully human beings.

Centuries ago, Hillel the Elder, a revered Jewish scholar, tackled this very issue. He succinctly captured the essence of moral conduct in his famous saying: “That which is hateful to you, do not do unto your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is explanation, go and learn.”

In a similar vein, Jesus offered a compelling perspective to his followers. His message was clear and profound: “Truly, as you treat the least among you, so you treat me.” In essence, Jesus was challenging his followers to expand their circle of empathy. He urged them to understand that every person, regardless of their status or proximity to us, is as human as those we hold dear.

These teachings bring us to a vital realization: to truly grasp the reality that every individual is a person, just like ourselves, requires a powerful imagination. It is through this imaginative empathy that we can begin to understand the lessons imparted by Hillel and Jesus.

As we reflect on the events in Gaza, it is imperative that we challenge ourselves to see beyond our cognitive limitations. Let us strive to recognize the humanity in every person, regardless of the distance or differences that separate us. Only by doing so can we hope to foster a world where peace and understanding prevail over conflict and division.

In the words of Rabbi Hillel, “If I am not for myself, who will be? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?”

I urge this city council to pass a resolution in support of a general ceasefire between Israel and its enemies.
Thank you.

--

--

Jeffrey Field

It ain't what you think. Former newsman, car salesman, teacher. Everything is Thou, if you so allow it. You can find some of it at https://youtu.be/w6RtVjMDHzE