The Love That’s Due to Every Jew

There are no coincidences. In Rabbi Welcher’s Shabbos drasha he brought down the The Midrash (Bereishis Rabba 24:7) which relates:

Rabbi Akiva said, “Love your neighbor as yourself – this is a great rule in Torah.” Ben Azzai said, “This is the book of the generations of man … in the image of God was man fashioned” is a greater rule, for one should not say, ‘Since I was shamed, so, too, should my friend be shamed with me. Since I was cursed, so, too, let my friend be cursed with me.’ “

Rabbi Welcher pointed out that although “Love your neighbor as yourself” is a great principal, there is an aspect of self focus implied in the words “as yourself”. Ben Azzai goes further and says that our love of our neighbor is based on the fact that he was fashioned in the image of G-d regardless of our personal view.

Later on Shabbos day I was learning Pirkei Avos with my son, which we are going through for his Bar Mitvah, and we came to Mishna 1.7:

Nittai of Arbel said, distance yourself from a bad neighbor, do not befriend a wicked person, and do not despair of punishment.

And then we learned the famous story from the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Brachot 10a:

There were once some thugs in the neighbourhood of Rabbi Meir who caused him great distress. He accordingly prayed that they should die. His wife Beruriah said to him, “How can you think that such a prayer should be permitted, considering it is written, ‘Let sins [chatta‘im] cease’. Is it written ‘Let sinners [chot’im] cease!? [No] it is written sins [chatta‘im]! Furthermore, look at the end of the verse ‘and let wicked men be no more.’ Since the sins will cease, there will be no more wicked people! Rather pray for them that they should repent, and there will be no more wicked people.” He did pray for them and they repented.

Given some of the discussions in the previous week on Beyond BT, I thought it was interesting that these were some of the teachings that I came across on Shabbos. I’ll leave it for everyone to connect the dots themselves, but one thing is for certain, there are no coicidences.

9 comments on “The Love That’s Due to Every Jew

  1. To Bob Miller,

    I disagree. I feel the article was very positive. The author even stressed that other approaches are just as valid. The point of the article is to educate others who may have a misunderstanding with the Chabad approach to reaching out.

    As Mark pointed out, we should focus on the good in different approaches and not focus on their deficiences.

    To David G., Yasher Koach! May we all merit to see Moshiach speedily in our days.

  2. michal

    I heard an interesting point from a Rabbi in New York which I would like to add onto.
    He said that one of the positive results of G-d’s destroying the Beis HaMikdash is that we have fewer mitzvahs to keep so we are less accountable when we don’t keep them.

    I think G-d’s benevolence can also be seen regarding the ten lost tribes. Each tribe was considered a nation by themselves with their own characteristics. Add to the pot that Jews are independent thinkers and strong willed (Weisman said he is a president of three million presidents). Imagine making peace in exile with such an assortment of people.

    May we merit a peaceful ingathering of all the exiles, including the ten lost tribes who are speckled among us, soon in our days.

  3. In a utopian create your own approach mix society ,everyone would pick and choose from the positive traits of the different paths/approaches and integrate those concepts into the path they’ve chosen.(or create a new one ) . That concept though seems to be popular among individuals on a higher spiritual level and less narrow minded and winded perspective. Often times , individuals are under the erroneous impression that theyve been chosen to represent supercilious in the dicitionary. “love your neighbor as yourself” can change that. Actual integration may result in attaining the coveted Ms/Mr Congeniality award among other positive traits .

  4. I was kinda hoping we would be more open to seeing the good in different approaches and learning from them rather that focusing on what we perceive as deficiencies.

  5. The trouble last week was brought on by posting an article that contrasted one approach to outreach/kiruv with another approach, seeming to put the other approach in a negative light. Controversy then flowed naturally from this.

    The controversy was not necessarily bad if it will lead to better screening of future articles.

  6. message to Jaled Topaz regarding the comment, “Why are there so many paths,….”:

    There were twelve tribes before G-d destroyed the first Bais Hamikdash. Each tribe had their own paths to connect with G-d and their own minhagim. And their was shalom between all the tribes. So why did He destroy the first Beis Hamikdash? Not because of sinas chinam(hatred). All the tribes were united. And because the tribes were so united the first Beit Hamikdash stood for over 300 years before it was destroyed. This should teach us how important it is to have ahavas yisroel. We should love every Jew, no matter what path a Jew chooses to connect with G-d.

    G-d loves every Jew, and we should try to emulate G-d by trying to reach out to all Jews no matter what their background. Be it frum or non-frum whether you are Chassidish, Yeshivish, etc. Have a Gut YomTov!

    To Mark and David, Yasher Koach on your website.
    Have a Chag Sameach!

  7. B”H

    The Admor Tzemach Tzedek, the grandson of the Alte Rebbe [Baal HaTanya] and the 3rd of the Chabad Rebbeim, in his sefer Derek Mitzvosecha under the maamar/discourse entitled “Ahavas Yisroel” – gives a beautiful analogy for the concept of Ahavas Yisroel:

    To paraphrase:

    How does a pearl get created? A grain of sand enters into an oyster. This grain of sand is a source of irritation to the soft lining of oyster. The oyster then secretes fluids which wash over the grain of sand – layer after layer is formed until the source of the irritation literally turns into a pearl!

    Don’t we all have sources of irritations i.e. have our own personal shortcomings? Yet how do we treat them? We love them over and love them over until these shortcomings become veritable pearls or mitvas in our own eyes!

    This, the Tzemach Tzedek says is how we should treat our fellow Jew – we should apply the same treatment of loving over and loving over any shortcoming(s) that we perceive regarding a fellow Jew and create a pearl out of it i.e. find some sort of merit on their behalf [via being l’don l’chof zechus, giving the benefit of the doubt, etc.]!

    The stories of the famous Rabbi Levi of Berditchev are replete with such examples…..

  8. “love your neighbor as yourself” is a great universal slogan that should be integrated into ones daily focus objective.Aside from promoting and encouraging altruism by default , it is also a great OTC antidote for severe cases of Superiority Complex Syndrome.On a global level there really is no need for comparing and contrasting different routes and paths ie: the proven success rates ,failures, track records, ineffeciencies, false advertising and supposed shortcomings unless your in the market for a path/work as a path fixer and maintainer or work for a pharmaceutical company researching the neuronal circuity system and brain wave action of a Superiority Complex Syndrome afflicted brain .”different spiritual strokes for different regular folks” . “whatever floats your sinking raft” ……
    On the local level if you think about it, there really is no need for proving,documenting ,arguing ,bashing ,boasting and broadcasting that your specific Path /Outlook /Brain/Life/ level of adherence to halacha /perspective on relationships are way superior and lack any sort of inconsistencies.If everyone would just maintain the focus (pirkei avos is your ritalin ) reality would be a friendlier and more unified place to live . And an all encompassing Unity would not just be a fleeting pipe dream reserved for the lakeside dreamers and smokers .Questions to consider,why does the phenomenon of fifteen synogogues in a fifteen house radius exist .Why r there so many paths, cant there be some sort of crossbreeding or combining of spiritual bartenders/ingredients and followers for a better mixed life drink.

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