How To Love Your Fellow Jew

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The Mitzvah Of Ahavas Yisroel According To Chassidus

A Paraphrased Translation

Dedication

This Book is dedicated to my dear friend Yossi Mlyinsky and his wife and children (Natali – Aharon, Eli, Gavriel, Shterna Sara, Dovi, Alex, and Mimi.)

Yossi exemplifies Ahavas Yisroel!

May G-d grant all of your heart’s desire for the good – and Mainly The Complete And Infinite Redemption.

introduction

The following translation of an exposition collecting everything Chassidus (Chabad) teaches on Ahavas Yisroel (up to this publication in 1971) collected under the instruction of The Rebbe, by His Chief “Writer,” Reb Yoel Kahan OB”M.

The Rebbe instructed (thanks Rabbi Micoel Selgison for this) the composition of Sefer Ha-erchin in 5723 (1963)

“Sefer Ha-erchin” “the Chassidic Encyclopedia” masterfully weaves the numerous quotes – “Torah is rich (broad ) in one location and poor (scant) in another…” (as such only by collecting and integrating everything, can one fully comprehend and be inspired by the numerous inexhaustible details and nuances).

Contents

1. The Essence of the Mitzvah                                                                                              

2. The Ability To Have This Unconditional Love (Contemplations)                               

3. THE PREREQUISITES                                                                                                                                

4.  Ahavas Yisroel Must Also Be Due To The Qualities Of One’s Fellow     

5. Ahavas Yisroel – Unlimited                                                                                               

6. The Connection of Ahavas Yisroel To Love of The Torah and God                           

7. The Energy From God As A Result of Ahavas Yisroel                                                  

8. Ahavas Yisroel is the foundation of the entire Torah                                                 

9. A Fundamental Principle – Especially In Chassidus                                                     

10. A preparation to Matan Torah (The Giving Of The Torah)                                      

11. Ahavas Yisroel is a preparation to Prayer                                                                   

12. A Preparation For The Mishkan                                                                                    

1. The Essence of the Mitzvah

The Mitzvah of Ahavas Yisroel is to unconditionally love every single Jew (not only due to their worthiness… whether intellectual or emotional qualities) but simply “as they are a Jew” – what makes a Jew a Jew, is their Jewish soul.

AS

This love must match and be the same type of love one has for oneself, as the verse states: “Love your fellow Jew, AS yourself.” Literally as you love yourself. 

UNCONDITIONAL

Just as one’s self-love needs no logical reason (it is an infinite internal love (not based on a logical reason…) similarly one’s love for their fellow Jew (must be.)

THE TEST

If the concerns of your fellow Jew are less important to you as your (or your child’s) concerns, this is sign that one’s love is incomplete.

LOVE YOUR FELLOW, MORE THAN YOURSELF

In actual fact the concerns of your fellow should be more important to you than your own – and likewise their suffering should be more painful to you, than your own.

The reason for this is, as when it comes to oneself, one can see a spiritual justification (for one’s difficulties…) but never (should one justify this by) another.

(As the true explanation of “Love your fellow Jew as yourself” is not to love another as you love yourself…  but in fact, to love yourself, as you should love another.)

CONTEMPLATION

In order to reach such a strong love a person needs contemplation (that evokes this level of love.)

This contemplation is not the cuase of the love, rather evokes the natural love (within our hearts) which transcends logic(al reasoning.)

FROM HIDDEN TO REVEALED

In actual fact, the love one Jew has for another is a Jewish instinct (similar to the love between brothers or the love of a father to his son.)  This love is embedded in the soul (Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama (soul-parts…)) of every Jew.

Our entire Avoidah (job… (spiritual work/effort…) is to reveal (our innate love, to be fully felt.)

2. The Ability To Have This Unconditional Love (Contemplations)

The ability to achieve an unconditional love for every Jew is as in truth, it is an intrinsic love.

AS YOU LOVE GOD

1. The first type of Intrinsic Love – this is because every Jew has an intrinsic and eternal love for God, and thereby by extension for one’s fellow Jew (as one naturally love’s the love of their beloved (for example, if you love a person, you love their children – and Jews are God’s children.)

ONE SOUL

2. Every Jew actually is a part of a single being.

Every Jewish soul comes from the soul of Adam.

Like DNA… every single child contains the DNA of the Parent; so in every Jew, is every other Jew.

ONE

3. Every Soul, based on the highest source of all souls (namely God) are a single entity (for God is a Single Being).

It is known, even when something that is intrinsically one subdivides (imagine a drop of water…) each part contains the entire whole.

As such, Loving your fellow Jew, is not loving another… but truly loving yourself! (As in the source – God – you and s/he are literally the same.)

3. THE PREREQUISITES

DESPISE THE BODY – LOVE THE SOUL

The only way to achieve unconditional love is if what matters most to you is your soul (this is your identity/pride. –  Your Unbelievable Infinite Godly Soul! – The essence of your soul/life).

If a person is primarily (identifies) with their body (their physical self…) this hinders the ability to love another unconditionally (for as the body’s desires, say for looks, money, power etc. are what predominates in this person,) therefore their love for others is based on this limitation (…only if they have these “qualities.”)

Only a person who truly despises (the vanity (worthless desires) of the body) and what matters to them is their Divine soul (and her “Holy Worthwhile Desires!”) therefore such a person can reach true unconditional love!   An intrinsic love (as mentioned.)

SOUL/SOLE PLEASURE

[For this reason, Ahavas Yisroel is similar to Circumcision. The idea of the foreskin (that is circumcised) is “attachment to physical pleasure.”   And the idea of Mila (Circumcision) is ridding oneself of physical lust – (that all matters of this world – one’s need for them are only necessities (not one’s pleasure/aim).

Also one should be desirous of attachment to God.  

As unconditional-love comes from the fact that worldly pleasures are not important – as such, it is similar to the idea of circumcision.]

ONLY BY RIDDING EGO>>>

Additionally even a person whose main aim is their
Soul(‘s pleasure) but if their ego is intact (present in this desire) – despite the fact that this is a Soul desire – they also cannot have true intrinsic Ahavas Yisroel.

SOUL REVELATION

Only by entirely annihilating one’s entire ego (self-importance!) does one’s intrinsic Divine soul become revealed – which (as mentioned) is A Single Being Which All Of Israel Are One In.

Based on the revelation of the Essence of the Soul (where there is no division, separation, higher/lower…) one achieves true Ahavas Yisroel. (It is worthwhile to mention, the famous last Maamer of the Rebbe, “Ve-atah Tetzaveh,” the Rebbe reveals a “meditation” to reveal one’s soul, namely, that “When Moshiach comes, we will SEE Godliness.”)

SOUL REVELATION

Though Ahavas Yisroel is only possible through the true revelation of one’s Soul, nonetheless the act of Ahavas Yisroel reveals one’s soul.

As one considers oneself part of the entire Jewish people – not an individual (who is separate) this reveals the Divine soul.

4.  Ahavas Yisroel Must Also Be Due To The Qualities Of One’s Fellow

Ahavas Yisroel should not be limited to only be based on the intrinsic connection (between Jews…) but also based on the specific qualities (in one’s fellow – a reason based love.) 

To this there are two aspects:

SOUL QUALITIES

# 1. Based on the greatness of the soul:
a. No one can fathom how great is the intrinsic qualities of the soul.

b. Even a person who considers their soul to be the level of head (leader) relative to their fellow Jew – nonetheless their fellow has certain qualities that they don’t have.  And the only way for you to be complete is through learning from (and copying) these qualities. (Even the physical head is completed by the physical feet – which can take the head to its desired location.)

LOVE, QUALITIES

# 2. Based on the revealed qualities:

For example, the love one should have to simple Jews who excel in character traits such as simple pure faith in God and His Torah – similarly love for Torah scholars, that though it states “The greater a person is, the greater their Yetzer Hara” nonetheless they are righteous.

(One should also love a Torah scholar for their quality of Torah.)

Every single Jew has a great reason (quality in them) to love them. (If we cannot see the qualities in another, it is not that it is not present, rather something is wrong with our eyes/vision (which can be biased, due to jealousy for example.)

5. Ahavas Yisroel – Unlimited

Ahavas Yisroel must be beyond any limitations!

CONSUMED

#1. This means – lack of limitation in how involved one is.
That one should be completely consumed with finding ways of helping one’s fellow (just like a business person continuously  is thinking how to improve his business….)

LOVE “MEDITATIONS”

One’s preoccupation must be
a. with inspiring within oneself a love for one’s fellow Jew / a person must constantly inspire within themselves a feeling of love for one’s fellow Jew.

SEE GOOD

This includes to see all fellow Jews positively, no matter what they’ve done – and to consider (contemplate) their great qualities. (This in fact is the meaning of the Mitzvah, “To Love Your Fellow Jew…” to place in your heart, love for your fellow Jew.)

SEE NO EVIL

If by any chance seeing another’s negative enters one’s mind, one must banish this thought literally as if it is thought of Idolatry! 

(As is known “Loshon Hara” (speaking negatively – highlighting another’s negativity…) is compared to the three horrid sins of Idolatry, Murder, and Adultery – now if this is the case when it comes to speech…  as is well-known, the thoughts one has (which creates one’s attitude – worldview…) are far more critical (both for the positive or negative) than one’s speech. Hence banishing negative perceptions is the essence of Ahavas Yisroel.)

Furthermore it is also highly likely, that the evil one senses in another is one’s own (as is know the teaching of the Baal Shem Tov, “Your fellow is your mirror – when there is dirt on your own face, you see dirt on another’s.”)

As such, instead of judging the other negatively, one should realize it is their own evil (they are seeing – but due to self-love, one sees not their own faults.)

MAKE FRIENDS

b. One should always try to have more friends.

INSPIRE AHAVAS YISROEL

c. One should use every opportunity (such as Shabbos meals etc.) to inspire one’s family and friends with stories demonstrating (good character traits of) Ahavas Yisroel.

JUST DO IT

#2 We are commanded to constantly try to help a fellow Jew, whether physically or spiritually.  (This must be like a servant – that one subjugates themselves to do a favor.)

If (G-d forbid) news of something negative about another has come to one’s attention – whether they are suffering physically or spiritually – one must do everything in their power to help, without considering if this is “my duty.”

Even if there is only a slight chance of success, one must do everything possible, as the suffering of another must reach the core of one’s soul, and in one’s soul-core, there are no considerations (…just as if one is in pain, one doesn’t think if they are worthy of not being in pain.)

BEYOND RATIONALE

One should be so concerned about another’s suffering, that one acts even without thinking.

Not only must one do whatever one can to help another – in fact, one must be ready to give their life to help another (even a fellow Jew one never met.)

The reason for this is that “Love of a fellow Jew” is just like “Love for God.”   As such it must permeate not only all of one’s heart and soul, but one’s very essence. (“Bichol Me-odecha.”)

ALL YOUR HEART / MIGHT

(“With All Your Heart” Ahavas Yisroel means: When two jews meet they must know that this is not just their bodies meeting, but their souls – and every single level of their intrinsically high spirits are connecting.
When one considers this, ones “HELLO!” is filled with passion.

“With All Your Might” Ahavas Yisroel means: One is ready to give their life for their fellow Jew.)    

CAUSING ANOTHER TO BE LOVED/RESPECTED

Love for your fellow Jew (not only means helping another) but that the other should be beloved (respected – loved) due to you.
This is similar to the Mitzvah that Love for God means that others should – due to your influence – love God.

HOW TO DRAW A JEW CLOSER

A person’s affairs are divided into physical (body) and spiritual (soul):

Physically, a person should not worry that someone say, may steal their livelihood (for if in any event one’s body (physical pleasures) are despicable to them – so they worry not about a loss.)

One must connect spiritually with every Jew (and never consider oneself too lofty “to descend…”)

Firstly as the soul and spirit of your fellow Jew as it is within God may be far greater than yours, and additionally within the essence of God you and your fellow (irrespective of your current “standings”) are literally one (so how can you look askance….?! as one looks not askance at themselves!)

As such one must make every effort to help their fellow Jew both physically and spiritually, and as the Baal Shem Tov taught “A soul may come into this world – living seventy eighty years – just to do a single favor to another – whether physical and certainly spiritual.”

***

GREAT FOR DRAWING CLOSER TO GOD

Helping a fellow Jew physically – besides the fact that it is the Mitzvah of Ahavas Yisroel – also is beneficial in drawing them closer to God.

For when one feels indebted to another…

This in fact is a mechanism to draw Jew’s closer to God, Torah and Mitzvos, by helping them unconditionally physically.

Even if one needs to rebuke another, even about very serious matters – first you should physically help them – for only then will your words matter (to them.)

(Though one must be ready to sacrifice their life to help anther, but in the mechanism of helping another, one must use only kindness.)

TO EVERY JEW

Ahavas Yisroel is to every single Jew – even if they are on the other side of the world, and even if one has never met the person (for as we are talking about an intrinsic love – it applies to everyone unconditionally.)

Not only must one love a simple Jew unconditionally, but even a completely wicked Jew – just as one loves a completely righteous.

LOVE EVEN THE WICKED

The reason for this is, because one’s love for one’s fellow is intrinsic (and in the intrinsic-love, the behavior of the other is not the factor.) This is just like the love one has for oneself – despite one’s faults…  One’s self-love causes that one’s faults are not conditions (of love) and similarly must one love one’s fellow Jew.

PRIMARY LOVE

This is the meaning of what Hillel said to the Convert: (Ahavas Yisreol means) “What you wish not others to do to you – to them do not.” 

In other words just as one cannot see one’s own faults (namely that they should seem so bad that one therefore is “unlovable” – which is why when another criticizes you, a person becomes vexed (for in essence they are saying that the faults make the person “irredeemable”/unlovable….) As one’s love for oneself is their primary reality (this prevents one’s faults from being overwhelming….) Similarly must our love for our fellow be (that our love is the primary emotion – causing that their faults do not seem to us, to be major issues.)

ONLY LOVINGLY

This that it states in the Talmud that “one who transgresses, it is a Mitzvah to hate them” – this only applies to a colleague who one has rebuked (nicely… but is insistent on sinning.) However one who is not one’s Torah study partner, one must love them unconditionally, and only with love see if one can bring them closer to God (Torah and Mitzvos.)

LOVINGLY ENCOURAGE

Love for a fellow Jew applies to every Jew – even a Jew who (perhaps (conceptually)) contains zero qualities…. – even if he acts like an animal…. and his only quality is that He is God’s creation.  The Mitzvah to try to draw all Jews close to Torah, includes them!

Even one who claims to be an atheist, should be lovingly brought to the Torah, and we know there is a rule, that “Every effort to increase Torah and Mitzvos works” (at least sometime in the future.)

Even one who is filled with Torah but lacks fear of God, one should lovingly encourage them to Avodas Hashem (Chassidic efforts in “Fear of God.”)

For through one’s love for them this will spark the essence of their soul, whereby their innate Fear of God will awaken.

Even if one’s efforts in drawing another closer to Judaism are unsuccessful, the Mitzvah of Loving one’s fellow Jew, has been fulfilled.

LOVE & COMPASSION….

Furthermore, even those who are one’s Torah colleagues (whom as mentioned before, if they refuse to change…) one should hate them… they should also be loved.

For a person’s evil is only from the evil side in a person, but every person has (at least subconsciously) a Divine soul which must be loved.

Furthermore one must feel very bad (compassion) for this Divine soul (which is being imprisoned through (within) the evil of this individual, and as is known, compassion eradicates anger (hate.  In other words, even if one is cognizant of another’s genuine evil, one should rather feel sorry for them, as their Divine soul is “tortured” / imprisoned in their evil.)

ALWAYS LOVE

Even complete heretics upon whom King David said, “I have a consummate hatred toward them” one must lovingly draw them closer to God (Torah and Mitzvos) for as the verse states “May the sins – not the sinners – end.”

EVERYONE IS SPECIAL

Additionally in our generation the vast majority of sin(ners) are not malicious… rather they simply have no Jewish education (which would cuase that the only type of association must be to lovingly to try to assist them).

Furthermore the main concept of denying God and believing in God is within a person’s heart – and as no-one can truly tell the belief of another… – And it can very well be, that even a person who is sinning, they can simultaneously believe (just as many people may believe in eating healthy, but feel challenged.)

Furthermore there is a rule, “Always judge another favorably.” 

For this reason the Rebbes lovingly drew close all Jews.

BE GOOD!

A person who “righteously“ harms another (not only errs in Jewish law) the real motivation is either a bias (for example, the person insulted or harmed them)… or the person is simply evil (jealous / malicious.)

As such one can never be certain that one’s motive in harming is pure, but one can be certain that doing good is.

6. The Connection of Ahavas Yisroel To Love of The Torah and God

In Truth “Love For God, For The Torah, and a Fellow Jew” are all one.

As it is in truth a single reality, therefore in each of these three loves, the other two loves are found.

As such:

a) Ahavas Yisroel teaches us about love for God – for one who lacks Ahavas Yisroel, their love for God is also temporary.  As a person who loves a father, would certainly love his children.

b) Within Ahavas Yisroel (itself) is love for God, for the intrinsic part of every Jew is God.  Hence in essence, loving the Jew is loving God. 

c) It is a conduit to loving God, for through loving a fellow Jew  we end up loving God (and the Torah.)

AHAVAS YISROEL LEADS TO AHAVAS HASHEM (LOVE FOR GOD)

One who places effort to increase their Ahavas Yisroel, merits a higher form of love for God.

HELPING THOSE WHO ONLY HAVE AHAVAS YISROEL

When you see person who only has Ahavas Yisroel, one must do everything in one’s ability to draw them also to a love for God, and the Torah.

And furthermore, that one’s Ahavas Yisroel should be to encourage them not only to help their fellow Jews physically, but also spiritually – drawing them closer to Torah and Mitzvos.

GREATEST

Of these three loves – For God, Torah, and a Fellow Jew – the greatest is for the Fellow Jew! – for all three loves are contained within it.

LOVING FELLOW JEW EVEN GREATER THAN LOVING GOD

It is far greater, Loving a Fellow Jew, than even Loving God, for the verse clearly states “I Love You, Says God.” – Hence one is loving whom God loves.

THE SEQUENCE OF LOVE

The correct approach (to inculcating these three fundamental Loves, is first) Ahavas Yisroel… then Love for the Torah… and then Love for God.

THE THREE PILLARS

These three loves correspond to the three pillars which the world stands (is built ) on – Ahavas Yisroel corresponds to Kindness (Gemilus Chassadim.) Love for the Torah corresponds to Torah.  And Love for God corresponds to Prayer.

7. The Energy From God As A Result of Ahavas Yisroel

There are many aspects of the reciprocal reward/energy Ahavas Yisroel elicits from on High:

UNITY WITH GOD

1. It draws down and unifies the Infinite Light Of God (God) within the spirit of the Jewish people (also called the Shechina – as the Shechina is the source of the Jewish souls.)

When Jews are united, then the One God in them resides.

(But if God-forbid there is division {namely people consider themselves separate… {“What is mine is mine, and what is yours is yours…”} this causes that God doesn’t within them dwell – for a King doesn’t dwell in “a broken up palace.”)

EVOKES GOD’S LOVE

 2. When Jews are united this causes that God ignores any misdeeds.

For through Ahavas Yisroel (as mentioned…) this causes God to dwell within them and (as mentioned) a person doesn’t see their own faults.

(If one causes division, this causes that God can see (get upset) by their faults, and especially the person that caused the division.)

AHAVAS YISROEL CUASES DIVINE BLESSINGS

3. Ahavas Yisroel causes that God should do the will of the Jewish people.

A father who sees his children acting benevolently and in fact caring about the other more than themselves motivates his desire to bestow all good to them.

DIVINE REACTIONS

a) As such, the loving blessings (Jews bestow on each other during gatherings / Farbrengens…) cause God’s blessings (in fact even more than the prayers of the Angel Michoel.)

b) The sigh of a Jew over the suffering of a fellow Jew shatters any type of negative decree, and the joy a Jew feels for his fellow’s joy is more precious to God than even the prayers of Rabbi Yishmoel the Cohen Gadoil on Yom Kippur in the Kodesh Hakadoshim (Holy of Holies.)

4. The benefit from God to the person who loves.

a) When you love a fellow Jew, God loves you.

b) When you help a fellow Jew, God helps you.

c) When you draw a Jew closer to Torah and Mitzvos, God draws you too.

d) In reward for helping a fellow Jew – and every Jew is as God states, “I love you, says God” – a love greater even than the love of parents to their only child! – so God rewards much more!

SPIRITUAL REWARD

5. Through having Mesirus Nefesh (complete commitment) to helping your fellow Jew, you merit the revelation of the essence of your Divine soul, even more than the deepest knowledge and service of God.

(One who lacks Ahavas Yisroel cannot necessarily achieve this level.)

6. Ahavas Yisroel will bring Moshiach.

The reason for exile was groundless (causeless) hate, as such the rectification and cuase of redemption is causeless love – a love for every single Jew, even if one can see in them not a single quality.

8. Ahavas Yisroel is the foundation of the entire Torah:

Ahavas Yisroel is both the foundation and the general principle of the entire Torah.

(As such, one should be extremely careful in its performance, for a laxity in it may lead to a laxity in all other Mitzvos G-d forbid.  It actually must be the Mitzvah one does with the most effort.)

The first Mitzvah of the Torah “To have children” is the Mitzvah of Ahavas Yisroel – that there should be another Jew. 

The reasons that Ahavas Yisroel is the entire principle of Judaism is:

a) The principle of Judaism is causing that one should make that their soul is the predominant (desire in them, and not their body’s instincts.) And (as mentioned) Ahavas Yisroel depends on this principle.

b) The entire principle and basis of Judaism is to draw the Divine light into the souls of the Jewish people (the Yichud of Kudsha Brich-hu and His Shechina) and this occurs specifically through Ahavas Yisroel.

c) The entire foundation of the Torah is the Universe of Tikkun – the “space” of unity.

As such the Mitzvah, “To love your fellow Jew,” namely to feel that we are all parts of One – is this concept. 

AHAVAS YISROEL = JUDAISM

This is why regarding the Mitzvah of Ahavas Yisroel (Hillel said) “It is the entire Torah – the rest is its explanation:”

a) Every Mitzvah is only in order to reach a level that one is not debased and attached to physical pleasure… rather one’s sole desire is in God – and (as mentioned) this is the level of Ahavas Yisroel.

 b) The main unity of God and His Shechina occurs through Ahavas Yisroel – all other Mitzvos are like the explanation (a detail) of this Unity.

Namely a specific way this Unity manifests. Each Mitzvah is a different mechanism of this unity.

c) Through Ahavas Yisreol the general unity and integration of the universe of Tikkun occurs – all other Mitzvahs are specific unities (within Tikkun.)

9. A Fundamental Principle – Especially In Chassidus

ALL OVER CHASSIDUS

Ahavas Yisroel is one of the pillars of the teachings of Chassidus.

Wherever you look in Chassidus (and in Tanya) we find this virtue extolled and is the main teaching of the Alter Rebbe (the author of the Tanya).

In fact, the 32cnd Chapter (equivalent to “Lev” – Heart) is but about Ahavas Yisroel.

Therefore the very name Chossid denotes someone who sacrifices himself to help another.

A Chossid forgoes one’s personal benefit, just so another can (including if the benefit to the other is a “maybe…” while the personal loss is a definite.)

(Just to get an idea how deep runs the Mitzvah of Ahavas Yisroel by Chassidus: In the times of the Alter Rebbe, the love between Chassidim was deeper than the love between brothers (to the extent, Jews who were not Chassidim used to wish that the love of their brothers should be as deep as the love between Chassidim.)

Notwithstanding their great love, the Alter Rebbe expressed that their love didn’t even begin to reach the love which the Baal Shem Tov desires.) 

The Rebbes who of-course completely followed the path of Ahavas Yisroel, revealed some stories of their own Ahavas Yisroel, so it should be easier for us (see Basi Ligani 5751.)

***

The height of Ahavas Yisroel must be expressed by Chabad Chassidim.

The Alter Rebbe wrote that Ahavas Yisreol is “The gateway to God.”

***

From the reasons that by Chassidim Ahavas Yisroel is so emphasized:

DIVINE UNITY

1) The practical performance of a favor for a fellow Jew is the expression (of the idea of Chassidus) of the unity of heaven and earth.  (For another’s physical needs is your spirituality.)

This of-course is the Unity of God (“He is in all realms equally”) which is a foundation of Judaism.

MOSHIACH>

 2) Ahavas Yisroel will bring Moshiach! (As mentioned in the end of Chapter 7.)

Of-course the teaching of Chassidus (“When your wellsprings spread forth”) is a preparation to Moshiach as well.

10. A preparation to Matan Torah (The Giving Of The Torah)

The preparation to Matan Torah was that all the Jews were united.

The reason for this is:

1) Ahavas Yisroel awakens the essence of one’s soul (as mentioned at the end of chapter 3.) And the giving of the Torah came from the Essence of God, to the essence of the Jew’s Soul.

2) The entire Torah was given for the specific purpose of creating peace and unity in the world (as such it is also the appropriate preparation for receiving the Torah.)

11. Ahavas Yisroel is a preparation to Prayer

It states in Jewish law, “One should say before Prayer (in the morning) “I Hereby take upon myself the Mitzvah ‘To love your fellow Jew as Oneself.’” This is the true idea of praying with a congregation.

There are many aspects in the connection of this prayer (meditation to include oneself with the prayers of all Jews) to Praying:

1) Ahavas Yisroel is the doorway to come and stand before God during prayer.

 2) It is a preparation for the humbling of the animal soul during prayer.  As Ahavas Yisroel is the rectification of the universe of Tohu (ego…) that it should exist like the universe of Tikkun (in other words, humble and with unity.)

Just as when one was sacrificing (in the Beis-Hamikdosh) a physical animal, one first had to rest one’s hands on the animal – which empowered it to be elevated spiritually through being sacrificed – similarly before praying. (Prayer of-course is compared to sacrificing.) Offering one’s animal soul (to God) means, through accepting the Mitzvah of Ahavas Yisroel, it has the capacity to elevate to God.

3) It is a preparation to spiritually elevate in prayer, as:

1) Every soul includes within it all other souls (as mentioned in the end of Chapter 2.)
If one God forbid hates a fellow Jew, he then separates from himself that part of his soul which is the other – as such this causes a person to be a “Baal Mum” (blemished sacrifice – animal which could not be offered, due to a physical deformity/incompleteness.)
Such a soul (person) cannot elevate to God (much like such a sacrifice can’t be offered.)
(As God includes everyone, so the Divine light can’t handle this blemished / lacking spirit.)

Only when one has Ahavas Yisreol – that one’s soul is healthy, as it includes within it all souls – hence it can elevate to God.

2) The whole goal of prayer is to reach the point Of Shema, “To love God with all your heart, soul, and might” and the doorway to loving God, is Ahavas Yisroel.

3) When we elevate spiritually to God during prayer, we must elevate even the lowest (if a person doesn’t elevate even others who relatively speaking are lower, then his own elevation is defective.)

It is for this reason, prior to Prayer a person must include their soul with every other Jew – including “the lowest” – even one whom one never saw (…on the other side of the world.)

 4) Ahavas Yisroel is a preparation to receive the spiritual revelations from above during prayer.

For one who does a favor to a fellow Jew with love: 1) All the gateways in Heaven to them are open. 2) One’s mind and heart opens up, to be able to receive the revelations.

5) In order for one’s prayer to be strong (permanent.)

For if one is separate from others (one is not in the “middle path” which is inclusive, but only in one “extreme” or the other) then the Chitzoinim (negative forces are able to draw from the energy.)

6) Ahavas Yisroel acts as a preparation for receiving the Divine blessings (elicited through prayer – as it causes God’s pleasure which causes His bestowal.)

12. A Preparation For The Mishkan:

The preparation for building the Mishkan was Ahavas Yisroel and Jewish unity.

As such 1) It was necessary for “Moses to gather all the Jewish people” that they should be a single community.

2) The actual building of the Mishkan was through Betzalel from the Tribe of Yehuda and Ahaliav From The Tribe of Dan – a conglomeration of the greatest, and the least of the Tribes.

The reason for this:

1) The purpose of the Mishkan was in order for God’s presence to dwell. Of-course God is a single entity.

As such it necessitated the Jewish people likewise to be one (both physically and spiritually.)

2) The entire purpose of the Mishkan was to elevate the lowest elements of this world, and turn them into containers for Divine spirituality – as such, the actual composition of the articles in the Mishkan were physical… – Gold, silver etc. (similar to prayer which is about elevating the lowest matter, as mentioned before the end of chapter 11.)

As such, even the lowest of the tribes has to be included in this (similar to prior to praying, we have to include oneself with even the “lowest” Jews, and elevate them through ones prayers.)