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  • Yehuda Pevzner

Active Love

This week’s Torah portion commands us on the Mitzvah of Ahavat Yisrael, “You shall love your fellow as yourself.” Ahavat Yisrael encompasses all forms of charity and kindness that we perform for others, whether in physical or spiritual matters.

When one engages in Ahavat Yisrael, one brings benefit not only to the other person but also to oneself. For example, when one gives charity to a poor person, the poor person benefits, but the giver benefits as well - G-d will repay his generosity many times over.

The same applies to one who has spiritual wealth - wisdom, insight, fine character. Sharing one’s inner gifts with others is a form of charity that benefits both the giver and the recipient.

When one engages in acts of kindness, there are two methods. One way is to wait for others to approach you, asking for help. The other is to be an initiator and to actively seek out those who need help. A true “Ohev Yisrael,” one who loves his fellow man, will not just wait passively for the opportunity to help another person. 

Think of it as a business. Does a businessman sit in his office, waiting for clients to come to him? Or does he actively seek customers for his product? Ahavat Yisrael is no less serious a “business.” One must invest time and energy to find people who need help and offer assistance, even before they ask.

The second Holy Temple was destroyed because of baseless hatred between Jews. It follows then that the antidote to this exile is baseless love - an expression of love that transcends all boundaries of logic. In the merit of this love, we will see the immediate Redemption with Moshiach.

Shabbat Shalom!

Shabbat candle lighting time this week in NYC is at 7:44 PM.


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