Realistic Love by Uri Miller


       In this weeks Parsha, there are many essential Mitsvot, but one Mitzvah seems to illuminate itself upon the Klaph, the mitzvah of ואהבת לרעך כמוך.  The Chachamim base many halachic principles on this commandment which teach us to have greater sensitivity for all.  For example, the least painful death is used for capital offenders (Kesubos 73b, Sanhedrin 54a). Another example, is the halacha that a husband may not place his wife in situations that might make her distasteful to him (Kiddushin 14a).  The celebrated Gemara in Shabbat 13a relates that a non-jew approached Hillel and said to him "If you teach me the entire Torah while I stand on one foot, I will convert."  Hillel agreed and told him "If you dislike something, do not do it to your friend.  This in itself is the entire Torah.  The rest is commentary, go study it."  Since Hillel was referring to the mitzvah ofואהבת לרעך כמוך .  Why didn't he just say those words?  Rabbi Yeruchem Levovitz resolves, that this is to teach us a profound lesson.  From the phrase "Love your fellow man" one might think that as long as one feels sympathy or the emotion of love towards others one fulfill this commandment.  But the truth is that just feeling love alone is insufficient.  Rather this love must encourage and motivate us to do positive things for others and to refrain form any actions or words that could cause anyone pain or affliction.  The Torah definitely insists on feeling deep love for others in our hearts.  But even greater than that, our behavior towards others must manifest this love.  Therefore, Hillel explained to this man that a basic Torah principle is that the same commandment which requires us to have a positive feeling for others also requires us to behave in an elevated manner in our daily encounters with them.

            The great Chazon Ish would listen with extreme patience to anyone who came to him.  This was an astounding feat since people would come to him at all hours of the day and night.  A relative of the Chazon Ish was amazed at how he was able to listen to a certain person who spoke in a very loud and annoying tone of voice.  The Chazon Ish replied " A person who owns a mill is used to the voice of the mill, if the mill would stop it would give him a headache.  This is a fine example of how to fulfill the Mitzva of ואהבת לרעך כמוך.

            The Ramban (ויקרא יט:יז) explains that the Torah does not demand us to literally feel the same love for others as we feel for ourselves.  The Ramban proves this from the Halacha that if ones life is in danger, his life comes before someone else's life (Baba Metzia 26a).  Rather, Hashem requires that we should want others to have the same degree of success and prosperity that we want for ourselves and that we treat others with the maximal respect and consideration.  It is of human nature to sometimes say that we want favorable things to happen to others, but they should not be as successful as we are.  The Torah tells us to eliminate such petty thoughts from our mind.  We must condition ourselves to want others to have same and equal success as we want for ourselves.

            The Alter of Slobdka said, that the commandment is to love others כמוך - as you love yourself.  Just as one loves himself without looking for reasons, so to one should love others, even without reasons."  If we fulfill this Mitzva properly, we can reach great spiritual heights, as Rashi states זה כלל גדול בתורה (it is a major principle of the Torah).  This Mitzva is a pillar of an appropriate Torah lifestyle.

The Recitation of Tachanun by Rabbi Michael Taubes

How Could They??? by Daniel Deutsch