eMussar – The Wisdom of Personal Growth
A daily inspirational, concise idea, with a suggested action.
THE AGADAH OF THE TALMUD
Rabbi Akiva taught that the verse, “Love your friend, like you love yourself,” is the primary axiomatic principle of the Torah. That is, love of others is the root of the Torah, from which all of its branches extend. Love of our fellow man is the core that powers every Mitzvah and its fulfillment.
The Alter of Kelm, Rabbi Simcha Zissel, offers a beautiful explanation of this verse. The verse tells us to “Love your friend, like you love yourself.” Therefore, in order to love others, you must love them in the same way that “you love yourself.”
A person naturally loves himself. He doesn’t need the Torah to command him to love himself. Just as we naturally love ourselves, the Torah instructs us to love others “naturally.” That is, he should not love them only because the Torah commands us to love them. No one wants to be “loved” by order of the Torah, because forced love is not sincere love.
Therefore, loving others is the one Mitzvah that should not be performed as “a Mitzvah.” Meaning we shouldn’t say, I love him because the Torah commands me to love him.” Rather, just as we automatically love ourselves, we should see the good in our friends and love them automatically – and naturally.
TODAY: Fulfill the axiomatic principle of the Torah by loving others – naturally.
By Rabbi Zvi Miller.
Salant Foundation’s eMussar(sm) gives you a piece of practical wisdom and perspective for your daily life…in just 3 or 4 minutes a day!
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Just so you know, “mussar” is the traditional name for the teaching of character development and personal growth. And Salant Foundation’s eMussar delivers this perspective to you every day via e-mail.
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eMussar” Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Zvi Miller
and the Salant Foundation