“Rabbi, a friend of 30 years said something very hurtful about me behind my back. Should I risk destroying the friendship or just keep it in my heart?”
“Well” I answered just yesterday afternoon, “according to the Mitzvah in this week’s Parsha, “though shall not bear a faribel in your heart” (Leviticus; ‘19 ‘17) neither of those are really an option. I suggest, that with sincerity and honesty you share your feelings with them”
In other news, did you know that your friendship (if you’re a facebook user) will be worth approximately $20 USD to Mark Zukerberg by May 18?
The math is simple. 900 million users, approximately 18 billion dollars in shares for Mark, so bingo, you and I are worth 20 dollars each.
But hopefully we’re slightly more valuable to the rest of our friends.
“And you shall love your friend like yourself” - (VaYikra; ‘19 ’18 – just one verse after the “no faribels” Mitzvah). Like yourself? I hope I value myself at more than 20 dollars – but to value all my friends as much as myself – is that possible?
In addressing the second of these two Mitzvos, Rashi (who to the best of our knowledge was never a facebook user) quotes Rabbi Akiva’s declaration that this Mitzvah to love your fellow as yourself is “a central principal of Torah.”
Perhaps Rashi is answering the question that we’re all asking “how is that possible? I should love my friend, like myself, even the ones that talk behind my back?!
So Rashi says that this is a “central principal” of Torah which as a “centre,” serves as a foundation and expresses itself through the Mitzvos around it.
How can “you love someone like yourself” even if you’re not at the mystical height where you see that you and all of G-d’s children are one and the same?
Simple. Look at the Mitvah just one verse earlier - by clearing up a faribel! How do you that? Still pretty simple, pick up the phone and share your feelings [or better yet face to face], but imagining how you would like to hear the conversation if you were on the other end of the line… Like yourself…
“Loving your fellow like yourself” is the centre of the many Mitzvot, simple actions, “acts of goodness and kindness” as the Rebbe described it to CNN, and drives them.
Picking up the phone to clear a faribel might seem like just a phone call.
To Mark Zukerberg it may be worth just 20 dollars. But after reading this week’s Parsha I think it’s worth at least 18 billion and beyond…
Wishing you a Shabbos of Loving yourself, and others’ through simple Mitzvos and acts of Goodness and Kindness,
Rabbi Asher Deren
To view The Rebbe's message to the CNN, click play