Tanya Chapter 32: Ahavas Yisrael-How to love every Jew, and the Mitzvah to love even sinners and the non-observant

Chapter 32: Ahavas Yisrael-How to love every Jew, and the Mitzvah to love even sinners and the non-observant

9th Adar/(LY) 23rd Adar 1

  1. Achieving true love of a fellow Jew through experiencing contempt of the body and joy of the soul:
  • Through fulfilling the above exercises [found in chapters 30 and 31], in which one contemplates and experiences the lowliness and contempt of the body, and in contrast one experiences only the joy of the soul, one can come to a straightforward and easy fulfillment of the command to love one’s fellow Jew. A love for every single Jew, whether young or old.

(LY)24th Adar 1

  • Focusing on the G-dly soul of every Jew: As a result of the fact that one’s body is scorned and viewed in contempt in one’s own eyes, and one has no awareness of the true level of greatness of the soul and spirit within its root and source in G-d [therefore, one can easily accomplish the mitzvah to love every single Jew]. [This can be accomplished by contemplating how every single Jew contains a holy soul, of which we do not know its level and who contains a higher soul than another. Now, even though the body and animal soul of the other Jew may be lowly and putrid, nonetheless, we focus on the greatness of his G-dly soul and not the lowliness of the animal soul, just as one uses the same approach regarding himself, as explained in the previous chapters.]
  • Focusing that all souls are equal in their root: [One should not be challenged against experiencing love of a fellow Jew due to a feeling of arrogance that possibly his soul is higher than his friend soul, as aside for the fact that perhaps the opposite is true], in truth all souls are equal in their root above, and they all come from one father.
  • We are all brothers: It is due to the above [that we all come from the same root and have one father, who is the one G-d] that all the Jewish people are referred to as brothers, as in truth, we are really all brothers due to the root of our souls in the one G-d, and it is only our bodies that are different.
  1. Lack of love for a fellow Jew is a result of making the body the priority of one’s focus:
  • Those who do not live according to the philosophies brought in the previous chapters and make their bodies their main focus and their souls of only a secondary focus, it is not possible for them to come to a true love and feeling of brotherhood between them and their fellow Jew, and at maximum they can only experience a love that is due to external factors [i.e. Hateluyah Bedavar].

(LY)25th Adar 1

  1. Love of a fellow Jew is the entire Torah:
  • The statement of Hillel: Based on the above, we can understand the statement of Hillel the Elder who stated that the mitzvot to love a fellow Jew is the entire Torah and the remainder of the Torah is simply its commentary. [On the outset, this seems like a most wondrous and puzzling statement as what connection is there between all the other 613 commands and this one command?]
  • Achieving true love of a fellow Jew fulfills the entire purpose of the Torah which is to elevate the soul to G-d above and draw G-dliness to the Jewish souls below: [Rather, the intent of Hillel is that through going through with the exercise to bring one to have true love of a fellow Jew one fulfills the entire purpose of all the other commands of the Torah.] You see, the entire root and purpose of the Torah is to elevate the soul over the body to the highest of heights up until the root and source of all the worlds. Likewise, the purpose is to also draw down the infinite light of G-d into the general souls of Israel [i.e. Kneses Yisrael], which is the source of all souls of the Jewish people, in order to unite them with G-d so they be one with the true One. This drawing down of G-dliness to the Jewish souls cannot be achieved when there is discord between the Jewish souls, as G-d does not reside in a blemished area, as can be seen from the wording of the common blessing in which we ask G-d to bless us all as one, [as the oneness draws down the blessing], as will be explained in length elsewhere.

10th Adar/(LY)26th Adar 1

  1. The Mitzvah to hate a sinner and its caveats:
  • The Talmudic statement: The Talmud states that if one sees that his friend has sinned, then it is a mitzvah to hate him and also tell his teacher to hate him. [This seemingly contradicts the above command to love every single Jew.]
  • Only applies to an observant Jew: [To answer the above seeming contradiction, we must first establish as to which type of Jew the above applies to.] The above Talmudic statement is only directed towards a transgressor who is observant of Torah and Mitzvos [and not towards an individual who is not observant].
  • Only applies if you already reproved him: Furthermore, even by an observant Jew who has sinned, the instruction to hate him only applies if one already fulfilled the mitzvah to rebuke him and he nonetheless refuses to repent.

(LY)27th Adar 1

  • Only applies if one is acquainted and on intimate terms with the individual: Based on the above, we can deduce that one who is not acquainted with the transgressor and is not his friend and is not on intimate terms with him, then the above instruction and mitzvah to hate him does not apply.
  1. The mitzvah to love all other sinners, including the not observant Jew:
  • The mitzvah to love all creatures: [Furthermore, not only may one not hate an individual who is not his colleague in Torah and mitzvah’s and is excluded from the above instruction to be hated, but] on the contrary, towards such a person applies the dictum of Hillel the Elder that one should always chase after peace, and love all creatures and draw them closer to Torah.
  • The mitzvah to love nonreligious Jews and bring them back to Judaism with love: The above instruction to love all creatures includes even those who are very distance from the Torah and service of G-d, and are hence referred to as mere creatures, nonetheless, one is instructed to attract them to Judaism with strong cords of love.
  • The purpose of this love to the nonreligious Jew-fulfills the mitzvah of Ahavas Yisrael: [There are no drawbacks involved in this love for the nonreligious Jew, as] if he is successful, then he will manage to bring him back to Torah and service of G-d, and even if he is not successful, he does not lose out from being rewarded for fulfilling the mitzvah of loving his fellow Jew.

(LY)28th Adar 1

  1. The mitzvah to love even those sinners that one is instructed to hate:
  • Furthermore, even those sinners whom one is instructed to hate being that one has an intimate relationship with them, and he has reproved them, and they have still not repented from their ways, nonetheless, there still remains a mitzvah to also love them.
  1. How one can love and hate a person at the same time:
  • Loving the good and hating the evil: Both the command to hate this Jew and the command to love this Jew are true and viable to be fulfilled, as the hatred is only towards the evil that is within him, while the love is towards his good aspects that are hidden within him, which refers to the G-dly spark that enlivens his G-dly soul.
  • Arousing mercy for the sinner: Furthermore, one should also arouse mercy in his heart for the G-dly soul which is found in a state of exile inside of the evil of the transgressor.
  • Mercy has ability to nullify the hatred: This mercy that one arouses, has the ability to nullify the hatred towards this Jew and arouse the love for him, as is known from the verse “and Jacob [i.e. compassion] which has redeeming Abraham [i.e. love].”
  1. The mitzvah to hate heretics:
  • An exception to all the above is with regards to those who are Halachically defined as heretics, towards whom one is instructed to hate them to the utmost [without any feeling of love or mercy for them].
  • The reason for this is because [they have lost all their good and] no longer have a portion in the G-d of Israel.

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