Sign up to TorahFax


Friday, Iyar 11, 5781 (26th day of the Omer)/ April 23, 2021


This Shabbat we read the two Torah portions, Acharei Mot & Kedoshim.


The mitzvah, “You shall love your fellow as yourself,” is in Parshat Kedoshim. Although it is only one of 613 mitzvot, yet, it is a fundamental mitzvah of the Torah. Rabbi Akiva calls it an important general mitzvah which affects the entire Torah.


On Shabbat we recite the third chapter of Pirkei Avot. In it the Talmudic sage Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa emphasizes the importance of being kind and respectful to others: “Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa said, ‘Anyone with whom others are pleased, G-d is pleased with them; but anyone with whom others are not pleased, G-d is not pleased with them."


Rabbi Moshe Leib of Sassov said, "I learned the true meaning of this mitzvah from a peasant. I saw two peasants sitting and drinking together. One of them turned to his friend and said, "Do you love me?"


"Sure.  I love you very much," replied the other.  


"In that case tell me what I'm lacking," challenged the first.


"How should I know what you are lacking when you didn't tell me," replied the second peasant.


His friend gave a deep sigh and said, "If you do not know and feel what I am lacking then how can you claim that you truly love me?"


Rabbi Moshe Leib explained that this taught him the true meaning of, “Love your fellow as yourself.”  Just as a person knows their own needs, so too, true Ahavat Yisrael means to know and feel what the other person is lacking. One should take an interest in another person’s needs, even when they don’t come to ask for help.


"You shall love your fellow as yourself, I am G-d.” The Kabbalist, Rabbi Chayim Vital explains the connection between, "You shall love your fellow as yourself,” and the words, "I am G-d.


The Hebrew word for "love" is "Ahava" which has a numerical value of 13 (1+5+2+5=13). The numerical value of G-d's name is 26 (10+5+6+5=26).  Thus, when we perform the mitzvah of, “Love your fellow as yourself,”the love of the two people combined doubles the number from 13 to 26 (13+13=26), thus equaling G-d's name, which has a numerical value of 26


This is why for the building of the Tabernacle (Mishkan), where G-d’s presence was going to rest, each Jew had to give a half Shekel. We do not stand alone. We complete each other. To merit that G-d's Holy presence will rest among us, we must all be connected through love between each other.



Montrealcandle lighting time: 7:33 / Shabbat ends: 8:41