Learning from special people is the key to an #inspired relationship! 😀
May the following words provide a spiritual elevation to the soul of a’m Shlomo ben Shimon Zelig hk’m.
During the period between Pesach and Shavuos, we strive to improve our interpersonal relationships and in particular the commandment to “love your neighbour as yourself”.
“Love your neighbour” is better translated as “love your friend”. But surely this seems misleading, implying that we are only commanded to love our close acquaintances?
Furthermore, a literal translation of the commandment is actually “and you loved your neighbour” – in the past tense. In the Torah, the prefix “and” sometimes ‘switches around’ converting the past tense into the future tense.
Therefore “and you loved your neighbour” (in the past tense) is actually read as a commandment to “love your neighbour” (in the present/future tense). Whilst this application of the concept is relatively common, in the case of “and love your neighbour”, it stands out as being unique. Why?
Rabbi Yisroel Salanter was once on his way to Vilna. Next to him on the train sat a young man named Leib, who clearly did not recognise the famous Rabbi and subsequently treated him like he would any other passenger.
When they finally arrived in Vilna, a great throng of Jews had come to greet the great Rabbi. When Leib discovered who his travelling companion had been, he was mortified. The next day he went to the Rabbi to request forgiveness, in case he had dishonoured him.
When the Rabbi spotted Leib, he greeted him warmly, “Have you rested up from the trip?”
Faced with such kindness and concern, Leib burst into tears and pleaded for the Rabbi’s forgiveness.
“Don’t worry,” the Rabbi assured him, “everybody makes a mistake sometimes”.
“What brings you to Vilna?” the Rabbi asked, swiftly changing the subject.
Leib explained that he wanted to become a shochet (ritual slaughterer) and had come to Vilna to receive approval.
The Rabbi began discussing some of the relevant laws with Leib, but it soon became apparent that Leib didn’t know them.
“You must still be tired from the journey,” said the Rabbi, “come back in a few days and I will help you.”
But several days passed and Leib didn’t show up.
When the Rabbi finally managed to locate Leib, he asked him why he had not returned and Leib admitted that he was insufficiently prepared to be tested.
“Oh, I am sure that you just need to refresh your memory,” said the Rabbi encouragingly, “I will have someone review the laws with you, and then I am sure you will receive approval”.
The Rabbi sent a learning partner for Leib, but a short while later he returned reporting that Leib did not have sufficient knowledge and that it would take several months to prepare him for his test.
The Rabbi knew that Leib was only planning to be in Vilna for a short period of time and immediately undertook to provide him with everything he needed for an extended stay in Vilna.
Leib continued to study and after a while received his qualification. But not content with having assisted the young man up to this point, the Rabbi helped Leib find a suitable position in an established community.
Before leaving Vilna to assume his new position, Leib came to take leave of the Rabbi. After thanking him profusely, Leib asked him “Rabbi, why did you do so much for me – a complete stranger, especially after I treated you disrespectfully on the train?”
The Rabbi replied, “The nature of a person is that when he works hard to do a favour for a complete stranger, he comes to love him with all his heart”. 
The commandment is to love every Jew – even a complete stranger . Of course it is much harder to love a complete stranger than someone we know, especially if they don’t show us any love! Why then are we instructed to “love your friend” rather than to “love every Jew”? On the contrary “love your friend” seems to refer only to close acquaintances.
Rather, we have been commanded to “love your friend” – i.e. to love every Jew so much, even a complete stranger, so that we finally become his friend.
But what if we already have a good companionship with someone?
There is always more to give, more to improve, more ways in which to “love your friend”. Even if someone is already a friend, there are endless opportunities to continually demonstrate our love for him, and increase our friendship.
The Yehudi haKadosh used to say that everything can be tested to see if it is good or bad. And how does someone know if he is a good Jew? If the love he has for his fellow Jew is increasing daily.
“And love your neighbour” can be interpreted to mean “love your neighbour and love your neighbour” . “Love your neighbour” more and more each day.
Perhaps this is the idea behind the prefix “and”, which switches “you loved your neighbour” from being a thing of the past into “love your neighbour” – be a constant friend to him.
This also explains the otherwise superfluous words at the end of the verse “Love your neighbour as yourself I am G‑d”. G‑d’s name indicates that He was, is and always will be . Furthermore, the word “kamocha” (“as yourself”) can also be read “k-mocha” meaning like the word ‘mocha’, which has the same numerical value as ‘was, is and always will be’. This is how we must emulate His ways and be a constant friend to our neighbour, always looking to improve our friendship.
Have a more-ish Shabbos,
 See also Derech Eretz Zuta 2
 Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Deos 6:3
 Medrash Rabba, Bereishis 66:3 (based on Bereishis 28:4) which the Chida applies to other similar verses.
 Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 5:1
So happy to get ready for Lag B’Omer 2015 & Ari Lesser this year in top form 🙂 But before that The 14th day of Iyar – begins this week – this is known as Pesach Sheni. Last class of Session 4, 10th Habit!<- “Getting high, staying high with this Inner message of 2015” , the 10 habits towards 10 commandments getting ready for Session 5! Lag B’omer to Shavuot 2015!
It’s also the yahrtzeit of the holy Rebbe Meir baal Haness.
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