Weekly Dvar Torah: Let’s Start With “Do Not Hate”

Eretz Yisrael is in turmoil – at least that’s what the social networks seem to show. One sees their pain alongside joy; also, a mixture of anger and compassion. Sometimes it seems to me that everyone has a solid opinion – except for me.

Everything is absolutely clear to everyone, and only I am thinking something different. Everyone knows what should be done and what mustn’t be done, and only I am somewhat confused; very little seems clear to me.

With no connection to any specific issue, in principle, the discourse in the social networks takes all of us and everything to extremes.

I opened the chumash at this week’s parasha, and saw the famous passuk: “Love your fellow as yourself”, and Rashi there, who brings Rabbi Akiva’s comment: “That is a big rule in the Torah.”

I looked at the passuk before that one, where it says, “Do not hate your brother in your heart,” and immediately remembered what I had heard from Rabbi Shimon Lasker, in the name of the eldest of European rabbis, Rabbi David Moshe Lieberman, av beit din of the Shomrei Hadat beit din, Antwerp. I understood that sometimes the perspective of a mature and wise rabbi has a color and dimensions that other perspectives lack.

This is what he said:

Two psukim are written one after the other in parashat Kedoshim: “Do not hate your brother in your heart,” and “Love your fellow as yourself”. I would be happy if all of us would be living on the level of “Love your fellow as yourself,” but, practically speaking, in daily life, if we could learn to live in the space between the two psukim, we would have better lives. If we would know to live on the continuum between “Do not hate your brother” and “Love your fellow as yourself”, we would all be in better shape.

If it’s hard for you to love, so don’t love. But, please, don’t hate. Try to live somewhere in between.

Perhaps I am aiming too low. That could be. But on the other hand, this is an accessible, easy-to-achieve goal.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Zalmen Wishedski

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