Rabbi David Paskin
What's Love Got To Do With It?
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From Rabbi David
Probably the most famous in the entire Torah is in this week's parsha, "Love your neighbor as yourself." In a beautiful commentary, HaKtav VeHaKabalah, from the 19th century, Yaakov Tzvi Mecklenburg, explains exactly what it means to love your neighbor:
That he love me truly without falsehood.
That he treat me with respect always, as the rabbis say: Honor of your friend should be like the reverence for your teacher.
That he ask my wellbeing always, because that's fitting for loving neighbors to be at peace and to ask of each other's wellbeing.
That he partake in my pain.
That he receive me with a smile when I come to his house.
That he judge me favorable.
That he voluntarily inconvenience himself for me.
That he loan me or gift me some money when I need it and that he not withhold from me any small request to borrow something.
That he not be arrogant towards me.
While we all know this teaching, I wonder sometimes if I am living up to it. Do I always treat others with full respect? Do I always judge others favorably? Am I always wearing a smile? Unfortunately - I know the answer is not always yes and that's why I love that this is a commandment. I cannot just say, "oh well - I'm not in the mood to be loving today." The Torah isn't interested in my mood - it is interested in my actions. And so when I am not "in the mood" to treat others with respect the Torah calls out to me to remind me that how I'm feeling shouldn't change the way I behave. I have a responsibility to love my neighbor regardless of my own emotions.
This is a difficult and powerful challenge the Torah puts upon us and one that would make our world a much more beautiful place.