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    Knowing it 36 times

    number 3636 times the Torah warns us against mistreating the stranger, for we were strangers in the land of Egypt (Ex. 22:20 etc.).

    There is a temptation to say: “We are the ones who are normative; you are a stranger, you are different, therefore you are inferior”. Hardly anyone can resist the temptation. The other person has a different look, a different background, a different opinion. They support a different party, a different faction, a different team. There’s something wrong with them!

    Even within our own group there are those who are different and thus automatically inferior. “Be like us and we will tolerate you”, that is our message.

    We ought to know how unpleasant it is to be the one who is different, to be the ones who, as the Torah says, “were strangers in the land of Egypt”. If we need to be reminded 36 times it is because the message takes so long to sink in.

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