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Fellow feeling, the emotion of caring concern; in post-biblical Hebrew rahamanut, interestingly from the word rehem, ‘womb’, originating in the idea of either motherly love or sibling love (coming from the same womb); in biblical Hebrew rahamim.

In Jewish teaching compassion is among the highest of virtues, as its opposite, cruelty, is among the worst of vices. The prophet Jeremiah speaks of the people from the north country who ‘lay hold on bow and spear, they are cruel, and have no compassion’ (Jeremiah 6: 23). The people of Amalek, in particular, are singled out in the Jewish tradition as perpetrators of wanton cruelty and an uncompassionate Jew is called an Amalekite.

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies.

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