Love your fellow as yourself: Feasible? - Achare Mot - Kedoshim

Thursday, 30 April, 2020 - 8:14 am

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Dedicated in the memory of the father of my friend Moussy, the friend of my father and Chabad emissary in Hanover, Germany – Rabbi Binyamin ben Menachem Mendel Wolf, who passed away last Shabbat at the age of 43. His loving smile and care for each and every one will be deeply missed by his community and around the world.

Based on an article of Rabbi Yossi Goldman

As Yom Kipur was approaching, two people decided to reconcile. At the end of their conversation, one told the other: “I wish you exactly what you are wishing me!”. The other man answered: “oh, you‘re starting again?”.

The weekly Torah portion Achare Mot – Kedoshim contains one of the hardest, most important and much discussed Mitzvot: “Love thy fellow as thyself”. Seriously? How can I love other fellows, including those who annoy me, in the way I love myself? Is it possible?

Some of our Sages explain that the Torah’s commandment does not refer to the feeling but to the action: we need to act towards every other fellow as if we love him, to help him, to talk nicely to him etc. Through the actions, the feeling will come eventually.

The Tanya, the basic book of Chabad, explains that if we will to focus on the spiritual part of the others, we will be able to truly love them. Essentially, the reasons why we don’t like someone come from our material preferences. We either approve or disapprove his/her appearance, words or behavior. But all these do not constitute the essence of the person.

What matters most is the spiritual. The real person is not the body but the soul. This soul may have a strange nose or an annoying habit, but the soul is pure and good. Some people have buried their soul with layers of fancy clothes or vulgar behaviors, but everybody possess it inside themselves. And no one can claim that his soul is better than the other’s.

If we focus on the soul of the person, we’ll be able to stop allowing his or her external faults from angering us. Inside – he/she is good. Looking inside to the essence of people, loving and believing they’re truly good, will help them reveal their goodness and prove that we were right in trusting him.

Let’s try it! Let’s be more generous, a little more patient and forgiving. We may well be surprised at how lovable some people can be.

There’s nothing that satisfies G-d more than seeing His children united. When are all together as brothers, G-d gives us His best blessings. In the merit of our love and unity, He will bring us Mashiach and the final Redemption very soon!

Shabbat Shalom!


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