The famous Pasuk of “Viahafta Lireacha Kamocha…” (19:18) is found in this week’s Parsha. There are many interpretations of this Pasuk because the literal translation of “Love your neighbor just as much as yourself” can be very confusing. However, what exactly does this Pasuk mean? According to the Baal Shem Tov, this Pasuk is the basis for fulfilling all the Mitzvot that pertain to mankind. He says that if one is able to look at another person as a man who has faults just like one’s self, then ultimately one will not have grudges against other people, as stated in the previous Pasuk.
Rav Chaim Vital, a great Kabbalist, said on this Pasuk: “See how great is the power of love among mankind! When two people sincerely love each other, Hakadosh Baruch Hu reigns His Divine presence between them.” There is a very interesting proof for this comment of Rav Vital. The word “Ahava” in Gematria equals thirteen. When there is a mutual love between two people the number thirteen is doubled which equals twenty-six. Similarly, the letters of Hashem’s name, Yud-K-Vav-K, equals 26. This shows the importance of the mitzvah of “Viahafta Lireacha Kamocha.”
These two explanations of this very famous Pasuk can teach us that if everyone takes this Mitzvah seriously, then the Shechinah of Hashem will rest upon all of Bnei Yisrael and ultimately present us with the Mashiach.