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Some Torah Quotes on Love and Hate

Just as we love ourselves despite the faults we know we have, so
should we love our neighbors despite the faults we see in them. (Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov)

“Everything has its season, and there is a time for every purpose
under heaven…A time to love and a time to hate” (Ecclesiastes

“I am wisdom…I find knowledge which leads to reflection. Since
reverence for the Compassionate One means hating evil, I hate pride
and haughtiness, the way of evil, and a duplicitous mouth.” (Proverbs

Rabbi Yechezkel Levenstein, another noted 20th century teacher of
Musar, teaches:  “Hate the evil acts of the wicked, but do not hate
the people themselves. Every person is worthy of being cherished by
virtue of his being created in the image of the Almighty. Therefore we
cannot hate another person.” (Cited in “Consulting the Wise” by Rabbi

Rabbi Levenstein responds: “When you hate a person himself, you will
hope that he makes even more mistakes. If, however, you hate only his
evil deeds, you will feel compassion for the person who is doing
wrong.” As a result, says Rabbi Levenstein, you will pray that he
engages in “teshuvah” – spiritual return and renewal. And when you see
him improving, you will rejoice that there is less evil in the world.
Rabbi Levenstein adds:

 “We see this attitude when Abraham approached the Almighty on behalf
of the wicked people of Sodom. (Abraham asked the Compassionate One to
spare this selfish and corrupt city if there were at least ten
righteous individuals in their community who could inspire the people
to change their ways. See Genesis 18:23-32.) When you have the proper
attitude towards people who do wrong, you will seek ways and means to
help them improve and this will decrease evil deeds.” (ibid)

“One should accustom himself to cause the love of human beings to
enter his heart. Even the wicked should be viewed as if they were his
brothers. What’s more, he should continue until love for all human
beings is fixed in his heart.” (Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, a noted 16th
century Kabbalist who lived in Tzvat,Tomer Devorah, Chapter 2)

The Netziv was a leading sage of the late 19th century and the head of
the famous Volozin Yeshiva. In his introductory comments to the Book
of Genesis, he states: “We see how our father Abraham prostrated
himself in prayer on behalf of Sodom. Although he absolutely hated
their wickedness and that of their rulers – as his words to the King
of Sodom clearly show (Genesis 14: 21-24) – he still sought their
preservation. The Midrash (Genesis Rabbah 49) states that the Holy
One, blessed be He, told Abraham. ‘You love righteousness and hate
wickedness’ (Psalm 45:8) – You love to make My creatures righteous and
hate to see them remain wicked.” (He’amek Davar)


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