The Roots of Ahavos Yisroel

Yesterday I found myself in a conversation about loshon hora. Nowhere is it written, I said, that it is permissible to speak loshon hora about oneself. And so, I thought that it was serendipitous when I came across the following quote today, courtesy of the Chassidic rabbi, Bunim of Peshischoch;

”Legally, it is only forbidden to defraud one’s fellow. But a chassid must go “beyond the letter of the law” and take care not to delude himself, either.”

Loving your fellow as yourself suggests that you have a great love and respect for yourself, because otherwise, your treatment of others would not be a mitzvah. Like everything, the mitzvah of Ahavos Yisroel starts at home, with self love. This doesn’t mean pride or pompousness. It means a respect for yourself and an understanding that, no matter what, G-d loves you.

Earlier I wrote about how our impressions of others are merely mirror images of our own intentions. I venture that this works in other ways, too. Before we see the good in others, we have to recognise our own good. Only when we realise our own power and potential can we turn to others and help them, and give them they love they truly deserve.


6 thoughts on “The Roots of Ahavos Yisroel

  1. This is a really good point. I try to teach my children to be as kind with themselves as they would be a good friend, but I think it’s often more difficult to not be critical or unkind to ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

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