How can we ‘love’ someone else, for free?
We learnt that the rectification for the sinat chinam, or ‘baseless hatred’ that caused the destruction of the Second Temple is baseless love – i.e., loving our fellow Jew even if there is absolutely no good reason for doing so!
But the question is, how can we do this? After all, love is a feeling, and a person can’t force himself to feel something that he doesn’t truly feel. At the same time, the Torah commands us to: love your fellow as yourself.
What we can take from this is that there must in fact be a way that we can cause our hearts to ‘feel love’ for another person. Rebbe Nachman says:
There is a piece of advice that can help everyone to instill some ‘love’ towards another person in their heart. And this advice is contained in Lesson 282 of Likutey Moharan – namely, to search out the good points that are to be found within every single Jew.
When a person does this, he’ll start to feel love towards the other person, and towards all of Am Israel.
This will only work if you let it
But there’s a very important caveat to this, namely that these feelings of love towards our fellow Jew will only really take root in our hearts if we let them, and if we give them permission to grow. And that’s really where our main work lies.
Rav Natan writes in Likutey Halachot that:
“A man naturally judges the behavior of those around him, including his friends, his wife and kids, and his neighbors. If a person doesn’t pay attention to what he’s doing, he will naturally judge others unfavorably, because ‘the inclination of a man’s heart is evil from his youth’.”
We all have a yetzer hara, an inclination for evil, that causes us to only look at the ‘bad’ in the other person.
Even if someone isn’t actually beating people up, or outwardly cursing them, this isn’t enough. His heart will still be full of allegations and harsh judgments and hatred towards others.
So, our work is to try to break our natural tendencies, and to transform all our anger and harsh judgments about other people into seeing them with a ‘good eye’. We need to search for their good points, and judge them favorably.
When we start to look at other people with a good eye, then we can merit to remove all the masks that are covering them, and we can evince some truly loving feelings towards every single Jew, and the whole of Am Yisrael.