(יז) לֹ֣א תַטֶּ֔ה מִשְׁפַּ֖ט גֵּ֣ר יָת֑וֹם וְלֹ֣א תַחֲבֹ֔ל בֶּ֖גֶד אַלְמָנָֽה׃ (יח) וְזָכַרְתָּ֗ כִּ֣י עֶ֤בֶד הָיִ֙יתָ֙ בְּמִצְרַ֔יִם וַֽיִּפְדְּךָ֛ ה' אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ מִשָּׁ֑ם עַל־כֵּ֞ן אָנֹכִ֤י מְצַוְּךָ֙ לַעֲשׂ֔וֹת אֶת־הַדָּבָ֖ר הַזֶּֽה׃ (ס) (יט) כִּ֣י תִקְצֹר֩ קְצִֽירְךָ֨ בְשָׂדֶ֜ךָ וְשָֽׁכַחְתָּ֧ עֹ֣מֶר בַּשָּׂדֶ֗ה לֹ֤א תָשׁוּב֙ לְקַחְתּ֔וֹ לַגֵּ֛ר לַיָּת֥וֹם וְלָאַלְמָנָ֖ה יִהְיֶ֑ה לְמַ֤עַן יְבָרֶכְךָ֙ ה' אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ בְּכֹ֖ל מַעֲשֵׂ֥ה יָדֶֽיךָ׃
(17) You shall not subvert the rights of the stranger or the fatherless; you shall not take a widow's garment in pawn. (18) Remember that you were a slave in Egypt and that the Lord your God redeemed you from there; therefore do I enjoin you to observe this commandment. (19) When you reap the harvest in your field and overlook a sheaf in the field, do not turn back to get it; it shall go to the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow--in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all your undertakings. (JPS)
(י) חַיָּב אָדָם לְהִזָּהֵר בִּיתוֹמִים וְאַלְמָנוֹת מִפְּנֵי שֶׁנַּפְשָׁן שְׁפָלָה לִמְאֹד וְרוּחָם נְמוּכָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֵן בַּעֲלֵי מָמוֹן. אֲפִלּוּ אַלְמָנָתוֹ שֶׁל מֶלֶךְ וִיתוֹמָיו מֻזְהָרִים אָנוּ עֲלֵיהֶן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כב כא) "כָּל אַלְמָנָה וְיָתוֹם לֹא תְעַנּוּן". וְהֵיאַךְ נוֹהֲגִין עִמָּהֶן. לֹא יְדַבֵּר אֲלֵיהֶם אֶלָּא רַכּוֹת. וְלֹא יִנְהֹג בָּהֶן אֶלָּא מִנְהַג כָּבוֹד. וְלֹא יַכְאִיב גּוּפָם בַּעֲבוֹדָה וְלִבָּם בִּדְבָרִים קָשִׁים. וְיָחוּס עַל מָמוֹנָם יוֹתֵר מִמָּמוֹן עַצְמוֹ. כָּל הַמַּקְנִיטָן אוֹ מַכְעִיסָן אוֹ הִכְאִיב לָהֶן אוֹ רָדָה בָּהֶן אוֹ אִבֵּד מָמוֹנָן הֲרֵי זֶה עוֹבֵר בְּלֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה וְכָל שֶׁכֵּן הַמַּכֶּה אוֹתָם אוֹ הַמְקַלְּלָן. וְלָאו זֶה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין לוֹקִין עָלָיו הֲרֵי עָנְשׁוֹ מְפֹרָשׁ בַּתּוֹרָה (שמות כב כג) "וְחָרָה אַפִּי וְהָרַגְתִּי אֶתְכֶם בֶּחָרֶב". בְּרִית כָּרַת לָהֶן מִי שֶׁאָמַר וְהָיָה הָעוֹלָם שֶׁכָּל זְמַן שֶׁהֵם צוֹעֲקִים מֵחָמָס הֵם נַעֲנִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כב כב) "כִּי אִם צָעֹק יִצְעַק אֵלַי שָׁמֹעַ אֶשְׁמַע צַעֲקָתוֹ". בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בִּזְמַן שֶׁעִנָּה אוֹתָן לְצֹרֶךְ עַצְמוֹ. אֲבָל עִנָּה אוֹתָם הָרַב כְּדֵי לְלַמְּדָן תּוֹרָה אוֹ אֻמָּנוּת אוֹ לְהוֹלִיכָן בְּדֶרֶךְ יְשָׁרָה הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר. וְאַף עַל פִּי כֵן לֹא יִנְהֹג בָּהֶן מִנְהַג כָּל אָדָם אֶלָּא יַעֲשֶׂה לָהֶם הֶפְרֵשׁ וִינַהֲלֵם בְּנַחַת וּבְרַחֲמִים גְּדוֹלִים וְכָבוֹד שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (משלי כב כג) "כִּי ה' יָרִיב רִיבָם". אֶחָד יָתוֹם מֵאָב וְאֶחָד יָתוֹם מֵאֵם. וְעַד אֵימָתַי נִקְרָאִים יְתוֹמִים לְעִנְיָן זֶה. עַד שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיוּ צְרִיכִין לְאָדָם גָּדוֹל לְהִסָּמֵךְ עָלָיו וּלְאָמְנָן וּלְהִטָּפֵל בָּהֶן אֶלָּא יִהְיֶה עוֹשֶׂה כָּל צָרְכֵי עַצְמוֹ לְעַצְמוֹ כִּשְׁאָר כָּל הַגְּדוֹלִים:
(10) A man is obliged to watch out for orphans and widows, for their soul is very lowly, and their spirit humble even though they be wealthy in money, even though they be the widow and orphans of a king, we are charged concerning them, for it is said: "Ye shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child" (Ex. 22.22.). What, then, are the rules of conduct toward them? One must not speak to them save in soft words; not to treat them in any way, save in an honorable way; not to pain their body with labor, nor their heart with hard words; to be careful with their money more than with the money of one's own self. He who worries them, or vexes them, or pains them, or masters them, or causes the loss of their money, violates a prohibitive commandment, needless to mention one who smites them or curses them. This prohibitive commandment, notwithstanding that the punishment of flogging is not inflicted for its violation, behold, the punishment therefor is plainly stated in the Torah: "My wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword" (Ibid. 22.23). Moreover, He Who spoke and called the universe into being, made a covenant with them, that whenever they will cry out against violence, they shall be answered, even as it is said: "For if they cry at all unto Me, I will surely hear their cry" (Ibid. 22.22). But all these warnings are applicable when one afflicts them out of a selfish motive; but if the master who, in order to instruct them in the Torah, or teach them a trade, or lead them in a righteous path, does inflict punishment upon them when they are contrary, behold, such he may do. Nevertheless, he should not follow the rules of other people in dealing with them but conduct himself toward them differently, to lead them slowly, with great mercy and honorable consideration, even as it is said: "For the Lord will plead their cause" (Prov. 22.23). Whether it be a fatherless orphan or a motherless orphan, the treatment to be accorded to them must be identical. Now, until when are such called orphans for the purpose of the subject treated herein? Until they will have no need to lean upon a grown-up person to rear them and support them, but each one be able to take care of all his personal needs even as all other adults do.
(יז) מוּטָב לָאָדָם לְהַרְבּוֹת בְּמַתְּנוֹת אֶבְיוֹנִים מִלְּהַרְבּוֹת בִּסְעֻדָּתוֹ וּבְשִׁלּוּחַ מָנוֹת לְרֵעָיו. שֶׁאֵין שָׁם שִׂמְחָה גְּדוֹלָה וּמְפֹאָרָה אֶלָּא לְשַׂמֵּחַ לֵב עֲנִיִּים וִיתוֹמִים וְאַלְמָנוֹת וְגֵרִים. שֶׁהַמְשַׂמֵּחַ לֵב הָאֻמְלָלִים הָאֵלּוּ דּוֹמֶה לַשְּׁכִינָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה נז טו) "לְהַחֲיוֹת רוּחַ שְׁפָלִים וּלְהַחֲיוֹת לֵב נִדְכָּאִים":
(17) One should rather spend more money on gifts to the poor than on his Purim banquet and presents to his friends. No joy is greater and more glorious than the joy of gladdening the hearts of the poor, the orphans, the widows, and the strangers. He who gladdens the heart of these unhappy people imitates God, as it is written: "I am … to revive the spirit of the humble, and to put heart into the crushed" (Isaiah 57:15).
Loving the Stranger, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks (2008)
Dislike of the unlike is as old as mankind.This fact lies at the very heart of the Jewish experience. It is no coincidence that Judaism was born in two journeys away from the two greatest civilizations of the ancient world: Abraham’s from Mesopotamia, Moses’ and the Israelites’ from Pharaonic Egypt. The Torah is the world’s great protest against empires and imperialism. ... [their] most serious offense – for the prophets as well as the Mosaic books – was the use of power against the powerless: the widow, the orphan and, above all, the stranger.
To be a Jew is to be a stranger. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that this is why Abraham is commanded to leave land, home and father’s house; why, long before Joseph was born, Abraham was already told that his descendants would be “strangers in a land not their own”; why Moses had to suffer personal exile before assuming leadership of the people; why the Israelites underwent persecution before inheriting their own land; and why the Torah is so insistent that this experience – the retelling of the story on Pesach, along with the never-forgotten taste of the bread of affliction and the bitter herbs of slavery – should become a permanent part of their collective memory.
It is terrifying in retrospect to grasp how seriously the Torah took the phenomenon of xenophobia, hatred of the stranger. It is as if the Torah were saying with the utmost clarity: reason is insufficient. Sympathy is inadequate. Only the force of history and memory is strong enough to form a counterweight to hate.
Why should you not hate the stranger? – asks the Torah. Because you once stood where he stands now. You know the heart of the stranger because you were once a stranger in the land of Egypt. If you are human, so is he. If he is less than human, so are you. You must fight the hatred in your heart as I once fought the greatest ruler and the strongest empire in the ancient world on your behalf. I made you into the world’s archetypal strangers so that you would fight for the rights of strangers – for your own and those of others, wherever they are, whoever they are, whatever the color of their skin or the nature of their culture, because though they are not in your image – says G-d – they are nonetheless in Mine. There is only one reply strong enough to answer the question: Why should I not hate the stranger? Because the stranger is me.