Parshas Achrei Mos - Kedoshim


“Love your neighbor as yourself, I am Hashem” (19:18)

   Our main mission is to fill ourselves with love for our fellow man. Only through loving others can a person receive the light of the Torah and the light of the Rebbe. Loving others is the first condition for having one's prayers answered. First a person has to love others with all his heart and soul. Everyone should be willing to give his life for another, to give everything that he has to another, to give his soul, his body, his money, his time, his energy, and his mind to his friend. Only then will a person merit having a holy mind and heart.
   If there is any kind of separation between one person and another, then right away one's prayers are not accepted. This is what Haman said to Achashveirosh: “There is a certain nation, divided and dispersed among the nations” (Esther 3:8)—they are completely divided! Even if they will scream and pray, their prayers will not be accepted. This is why Esther said to Mordechai, “Go and gather together all the Jews”—you need to assemble them and unify them—they must stand together!
   If a person will feel unity with each and every Jew, if he will be prepared to cancel himself before everyone, if he will feel love for everyone, and will believe that each and every Jew is more of a tzaddik than he is, then he will merit having all his sins forgiven. As the Yehudi HaKadosh said, when two people are sitting and drinking a cup of tea and each one believes that the other is better than he is, and he feels embarrassed in front of the other person, and he feels awe for the other person, then immediately all his sins are forgiven.
   How does a person come to love others? Only through submission, only if each person will give in to the other, only then can he love the other person. The Land of Israel is also called “the land of Canaan” which comes from the world “hachnaah”—submission. It is a land which fosters the trait of submission. Just as the Rebbe says in Shivchei HaRan, the land of Canaan facilitates submission. In order to have his prayers accepted, a person needs to always give in to others. If people don’t submit to one another, then their prayers are not accepted.
   There is nothing worse than senseless hatred. The Beis HaMikdash was destroyed because of the sin of senseless hatred, despite the fact that the people learned Torah and behaved correctly in every other way. Therefore we are duty bound to be continually increasing our unconditional love for everyone. This means that a person shouldn’t offend anyone, yell at anyone, or libel anyone, and he should always feel subservient to every Jew. It is written in the Igeres HaRamban, that when a person speaks with someone, he needs to feel ashamed in front of him, to be in awe of him, and to feel embarrassment and fear from each and every person, from each and every Jew. What is this fear? He should fear that he might insult him or offend him—perhaps I will say something that will insult him.
   A person’s main test is in loving others and most of a person’s prayers need to be about loving others, that he should love his friends, and indeed each and every person he meets with all his heart and soul, with mesirus nefesh. Loving other people is a matter of mesirus nefesh—it’s not so easy! Everyone has mishaps and misunderstandings with others, and he needs to know that it’s all nonsense—the other person is not really guilty of anything. When people knock him down, or offend him or make him suffer, he should respond by loving the person who did this to him, loving him in his heart, and not holding anything against him. Just the opposite! He should have mercy on his friend and appreciate that he is just in a bad mood, that some foolishness has taken a hold of him, and his heart bursts with mercy for this friend. He is full of mercy for him. This is called ahavas chaveirim (loving others). As is the case with David and Shaul. Shaul was pursuing David and wanted to kill him, to murder him, but David acted in the exact opposite way—he couldn’t love him enough. He loved him with a deep and profound love, because David HaMelech knew that it was really just that a kind of craziness had taken a hold of Shaul—some stupidity had gotten into him. The main test is that when someone is opposing you, that you have to keep on loving him with a deep and profound love. After all, this person still prays and puts on tefillin and goes to Uman. He learns Torah, and gets up for Chatzos—he has a limitless number of pearls and diamonds inside him. So for a bit of stupidity I should reject him, chas v’shalom?  
   There are 600,000 letters in the Torah relating to the 600,000 Jewish souls. Every letter in the Torah is associated with a soul. If there is no brotherly love and a person doesn’t love each and every Jew with his heart and soul, then he cannot receive Torah. The moment that we love one another, then each person awakens the other. He is awakened from the other person’s good point. One person gives a lot of tzedaka—another prays for a long time. Every Jew has a good point; there is no Jew that is not a tzaddik inside, in the depths of his soul. Everyone has a spark of holiness. We need to connect ourselves to all these sparks in every Jew, just as the Ben Ish Chai says—there is no person that doesn’t have his hour. Even the biggest evildoer has real thoughts of teshuva. The moment that a person speaks against another, then he can no longer receive from that person’s good point.
   Everybody is always screaming, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Everybody is always screaming out, “I love everybody.” The more that a person says that he loves everyone, the truth is, the more he actually hates everyone. The more he speaks about loving others, the more he shows that he is full of hatred for others, because the further a person is from this mitzvah of “Loving your brother as yourself” the more he talks about it. This mitzvah is the hardest mitzvah to fulfill, because a person is an egotist—he wants to have the best food prepared for him, that people should speak nicely to him at home, that everyone should honor him and bow down to him—everyone should kiss the dust of his feet.
   Do you want to start fulfilling “Love your brother as yourself”? First of all, fulfill “Do not do unto others what is hateful to you” (Shabbos 31a). Whatever you hate for people to do to you, don’t do to other people. This is easier than loving your brother. Before they tell you to keep “Love your brother as yourself” they tell you that whatever you hate, don’t do to someone else. You don’t love to be offended, so don’t offend others! You don’t love it when people speak unfavorably about you, so don’t do it yourself! You want your family to honor you, treat them with honor! Don’t behave improperly to others and they will not behave improperly to you!
In truth, the keeping of the mitzvah of “Love your neighbor as yourself” is something that is hidden inside the heart. It is written, “Love your neighbor as yourself—I am Hashem.” You say you love others, that you give in to others. Who knows if you really love the other person or not? “I am Hashem.” Only Hashem knows if you really love other people!

   Please, Master of the Universe, full of mercy, have mercy on us and help us to merit loving our fellow men. Let us merit to “love your neighbor as yourself” with all our hearts and souls, to act gracefully and to do acts of loving kindness. To love everyone with mesirus nefesh. “Hashem, set a guard to my mouth, keep watch over the doors of my lips” (Tehillim 141:3). Help me never to stumble in the words that come from my mouth, lest I speak undeservingly against my brothers and friends, on whose companionship my salvation depends. Please help me to merit before each prayer to bind myself to all the souls of your nation Israel, until the redeemer should come to Zion. Please help me to be worthy of burnishing the crown of the King of Kings, until the crown of the letters surround all things including all the nations of the world to penetrate their hearts and inspire them to convert, because Israel and the Torah and The Holy One are one, and when Israel becomes one nation, each person included in his friend, only then are they all integrated with the 13 Middos of Rachamim in unity.

B’Ohr Pnei HaMelech
   There are two ways to break through the evil and come close to the true purpose of life. The first way is of knowing: to know, to learn, to understand, to draw conclusions, to make a spiritual accounting, to check, and to see. This is essentially the “straight path.” The second path of coming close to the truth is just the opposite: it is “not knowing.” This is the moment that the point of truth is awakened within us that comes from the heart, which is the desire to pour out our hearts before our Father in Heaven, to become attached to HaKadosh Baruch Hu. This is the place of knowing that Hashem will never abandon us, of being connected to faith and the holy Torah and all the wonderful things that delight the soul, and of wanting to be drawn up into the upper worlds and be bound to Hashem. And all this is really a kind of circular path. In order to be happy, a person needs to overcome the Sitra Achra, the klippot, and the material nature of the body. This is because the body is always tired—it only wants to eat and drink and sleep, and it is full of greed and envy. All of these things bring a person to sadness. When we do all kinds of things to fulfill our bodily desires, we think that it will make us happy, but as soon as we become engrossed in these behaviors, it knocks us down. Why? Because we are cutting ourselves off. This is called detachment. When a person takes pleasure outside the realm of holiness he is cutting himself off. The secret is to be connected because anything other than connection is actually detachment. A person needs to hold on tight. A person is riding a bus, and the bus starts making all kinds of turns. He feels like he is starting to fall, so he grabs on tightly. If you were to ask someone how he managed to hold on all of his life? He would answer that all his life he held very tightly to the rope, never loosening his grip even for an instant. Rebbe Nasan said to Rabbeinu: hold on to me tightly. Though I am holding on to you, I want you also to give me your hand so that I won’t fall: hold on to me. If a person stops holding on even for just a moment, then he will be hit by the tremors of life and he will fall. He won’t call this another fall, because he won’t recognize it. Especially younger people whose lives are flowing along and everything seems wonderful, since they don’t have so much disappointment in their lives. But we see what happens in life—what happened to our parents and neighbors and all the history of Am Yisrael, whats happening in our own lives, and so on and so forth. We only know one thing: that a Jew doesn’t have so many alternatives available to him. He can only go one of two ways: either attachment or detachment. That’s it. How do we connect ourselves to the fire and rise upwards, since the soul itself is a burning fire, as opposed to investing our energies in earthly things? How are we to deal with the evil? There are two ways, one is through knowing and the other is just the opposite: through not knowing.  


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