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A basic rule of Jewish ethics is the emulation of God's ways. In the words of the Talmud, "Just as He is merciful, so shall you be merciful" (Tractate Sotah 14a). Therefore compassion for all creatures is not only God's business; it is everyone’s. Moreover, rabbinic tradition describes God's mercy as above all other divine attributes. Thus, compassion must not be reckoned as one good trait among others; rather, it is central to the entire Jewish approach to life.

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