Dvar for Kedoshim (Leviticus 19:1-20:27)
The Torah describes forbidden relations with the Hebrew word “chessed,” (translated as kindness), which Rashi explains is also the Aramaic word for disgraceful (20:17). Why does the Torah deviate to Aramaic when describing illicit relationships and use a word that has an opposite meaning in Hebrew?
Rav Yochana Zweig explains that Aramaic is a language of perspective and that both languages’ translations of the word chessed describe the acts of giving and receiving, but from opposite perspectives. While the giver may feel like they are being kind, the receiver may feel shame for relying on others. This sensitivity to others’ perspectives especially applies to relationships, which is perhaps why the variance is exacted here. It can sometimes feel like in relationships we speak different languages, but understanding the other perspective is the first step in strengthening them.