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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
3:1,8).

“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
8:12,13)

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
Pliskin

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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Thoughts on Love

Loving someone is for who They are, As they are, with all their imperfections of character, and all the mistakes they Will make. With all their stumbling; ways/times they aren’t well; places they get stuck…with all they don’t know; have yet to learn; and will never know or learn… cherishing them in every moment for the unimaginable treasure they are : )

Being aware of, and consistently nourishing our awareness of the infinite gift and honour of getting to love one another; of getting to be Part of their life, and have them in ours; the sacredness of being their friend and companion.

Being really grateful for and honouring whatever degree (however near or far that may be) of closeness/intimacy of life, of love, of self, which we are blessed to share with them – to whichever degree we both want, and within the context of which we are able to protect and add to each other’s wellness and deep happiness – growing together into all the good G-d has in store for, and wants for us.

Through the ebb and flow of nearer and farther times; coming near and giving space – in both times according to, and with respect for their living, changing, fluid, dynamic need/want for more or less closeness – with love, happiness and trust – from an attitude of giving, and of loving for them.

Delighting in them; treasuring them, honouring them, respecting them, and really being there for them.

Consciously maintaining our internal state of sweet, wonder-filled happiness as an act of humility, trust, and thankfulness; as a way of loving and strengthening each other by reminding each other how beyond-our-deepest-hopes-good this life is – thank G-d, Who always looks after us and loves us with a love better than the best we hope for, and know is our birthright in the deepest secret places of our soul – and consciously maintaining our internal state of sweet, wonder-filled happiness as a way of reflecting to them how infinitely beyond words precious, good and loved they are – a cause for us to overflow with bright joy!

Recognising the extraordinary responsibility that comes with holding so much of their heart; the profound effect our life has on theirs – even our private life.

Keeping ourselves awake to the too easy to forget incredible fragility of their life, their happiness, their wellness, their self – and the incredible fragility of the wellness of our bond, our peace, our closeness, the happiness of our connection, the unique, irreplaceable, infinite, sacred, awesome gift of our love – so fragile.

And not being afraid! – just doing our best with what we have; not if, but how; not whether we are able, but doing our best starting now.

And at the same time remembering our astonishing resilience – not letting that make us even the littlest bit more careless or thoughtless, but finding some comfort and courage in it – knowing G-d’s got us; holding us, helping us, protecting us, healing us, nurturing us, renewing us; we’re not going it alone, ever.

And knowing that even with the most attentiveness, carefulness, gathering of wisdom, trying our best to apply understanding and compassion; with all of our very best… perhaps even then we are still millions of miles from equal to the task / immeasurably lacking in all we’d need in order to adequately love them and maintain the wholeness and wellness of our relationship.

We’d never be able to be aware of all the constantly changing, incredibly complex, subtle nuances that we’d need to be aware of, and take perfect care with, in order to meet all the needs of the relationship.

It is only sustained and given life to on the level of miracle ultimately.

So remembering that, and therefore praying lots and regularly to G-d for our peace; for the miracle of loving the other as G-d wants for them; for the miracle of the wellness and good, happy Life of our relationship – that our efforts be blessed and the other be loved just right, and the relationship be strong and well, and full of life and sweetness.

So we’ll do our very best with all our care, and let our best efforts be our best prayer.

Always asking ourselves what we can do for the other, as opposed to what they could do for us.

Asking ourselves what we can do for the other in the sweet things – ie: Doing all kinds of nice things for them – whatever we can, whenever we can : ) instead of, and without looking for them to do for us.

And asking ourselves what we can do for the other in the challenging and even painful things – ie: If they do something that bothers us, or which we feel hurt by, or think is wrong, even if we think everyone would agree that it is wrong – pushing ourselves to not comment, or try to correct them, or change them, but instead to give ourselves the hug that we need, and trust – we will be okay; we don’t need to say anything, really really; and we can love Them, and be understanding for them, and care for them, tolerating that thing, and incorporating it into our concept of who they are – loving them with a big, warm, happy smile for all of who they are, even right now.

One is a happy opportunity to be gracious and kind, and other centred.

The other is an opportunity to grow in patience, forbearance, inner courage, understanding, forgiveness, gentleness, and really – in love.

We have heaps of lack of our own, and need that same love for ourselves and from those around us, in order to be able to grow from a happy foundation – To grow from a place where we are able to feel good about ourselves today, as we are, and so grow from wellness to wellness – from strength to strength – from being good to being good – from being happy to being happy.

It IS right for us to be happy… and the only time to be happy is today – today is all we have – and since we’ll never be perfect, and always have lack, and make errors, and have so much room to be better and grow, in both relatively minor things and in significant things, the only way we can be happy is if we love each other as ourselves really for fully who we are today. We should do that for each other the same as we need it for ourselves.

Sometimes the very things we are upset about that we see in the other are the very things we lack in ourselves. In being courageous and strong in forgiving, being understanding, being gentle, being patient, being compassionate and finding love for them in this difficult area, we are being blessed with the biggest gift – to grow in the most important, and truly valuable ways ourselves. <- Learned this from H.H. The Dalai Lama. We are actually receiving the biggest gift, and learning to Be the answer we are looking for; to give love to another in just the way we need it ourselves.

Even if we are arguably further along in some area, from where we are there is still so so so much room to be better, and someone else could be just as upset with us for being where we are… Or they could love us, and seek caring understanding for us; for why we do what we do; with sensitivity to our inner vulnerabilities; with patience for our growth process; protecting and supporting us where we have injuries or are lacking; and loving us, really where we are – allowing us to feel good and happy being ourselves, and giving us the room we need in order to grow gently, in sweetness, as we would want to, without pressure – when we are open and able. Instead of asking for that of the other person, we could try to give that.

But if the other person is bothered by, or G-d forbid hurt by something I did, and feel they need to ask me to change something – then here also I can ask myself what I can give, not what I can get. So I can do my best to listen with openness; trust that they love me; trust that they care; trust that I’m loved and good even while there are things I can change to be better. Be grateful to know if there’s something I can Not do which would make things easier on them, or something I can change so I don’t cause them pain or hurt, please G-d have compassion, or something I could do that would add to their happiness : )

Being courageous in trusting, and being secure, and happy, and loving myself, and making it safe and easy for them to tell me these sorts of things without worry; really trying to understand what they are feeling and what they need, with care; what I can do for them – sets a much needed precedent that allows them to talk to me, which I need, because I love them, and of course want to know if there’s something I could change so I don’t cause hurt or difficulty, or something I could do to increase their happiness.

The more I can avoid being hurt, the more safe they can feel being themselves, at ease, without worry, relaxed and happy – loved.

If I have a need and they have a need, and it seems for the moment that only one of these can be met by the other foregoing their need – !be the one to let go of what I need, and do what I can to address their need, with love and happiness, understanding, and gentleness – in sweetness; graciously and gratefully. As our Rabbi’s taught (learned this recently at the Village Shul) – by foregoing our own claim, we never lose out – it is such a gift to get to do this.

Love. Protect, heal, and nurture. Being aware of their needs, hopes, dreams, pains, happinesses, thoughts, feelings; appreciating the other people that are important in their life – making sure those relationsuip are valued, guarded and nurtured – their teachers, friends and family. Being present with love in the hard times. Celebrating with happiness in their good times. Making them safe in their weak points or vulnerabilities, and delighting in their gifts and their incredible goodness : ) Honouring the good their family wants for them, and the way they want for them to be treated and loved, and the good Hashem wants for them, and the way G-d wants them to be treated and loved.

Care for them

Look out for them

Take care of them

Appreciate them

Cherish them

Believe in them

Make sure their life needs are looked after

Look out for their well-being

Look out for their wholeness

Look out for their Freedom

Look out for their dignity

Receive gratefully what’s given to us

And offer respectfully =

Only what they are open to, and able to receive with happiness and a full, healthy heart and sense of self

Be their best advocate and friend

Help one another homeward

In a relationship we need both compatibility of core values, and simply a nice connection. In order to last though, we need a fundamental, strong connection and committment to enduring love – a committment to unshakably always be beside the one we love, hand-in-hand, beleiving in them; treasuring, cherishing, and delighting in them; loving them for all – really All – of who they are; with a preparedness for it to be hard – really challenging and painful at times – because it is, and much more so than most other things (except raising children) – we need to have the ability to stay connected to, and to keep in touch with the awareness of what is so astonishingly, awesomely, wondefully, spifftastically, preciously, sacredly, sweetest, highest, deepest light from the heart of the most inside place, good in this being together, loving one another, sharing this walk in Life together with them.

Mission Statement

Even the greatest of people are infinitesimal. Those with the most wisdom, capacity/deeds of care, knowledge, skill, strength… as though they have none at all (in the greater picture). And at the same time, the existential value of the very least of all people is beyond comprehension – we are all precious, beloved and unique, and we shoud strive more than for any other thing to treat each other with the utmost care and respect, and to protect the wholeness and peace between us very much, and offer good to each other -> where the other person is open and wants what we are offering, and is able to recieve it in wellness. = : )

Samwise Gamgee’s wisdom

“What are we holding on to Sam?”

“That there’s some good in this world Mister Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.”

Pesach Thoughts

These are some of my reflections on a line from the Haggadah, which I wrote about a few of years ago, but thought I’d fix ’em up a bit, and post them somwhere they can be perused by others.
My issue is with the line, “Pour out Your wrath upon the nations who have not known You, and upon the kingdoms who did not call upon Your name.  For they have consumed Ya’akov, and laid waste his dwelling place.  Pour upon them Your indignation, and let Your fierce anger overtake them.  Chase them with anger and destroy them from under the heavens of the Eternal Compassionate One”. 
This is in the Haggadah just after the fourth cup of wine is filled, and the door is opened for Eliyahu the prophet.  I feel that line is really in need of talking about, and actually, I wish it wasn’t in the Haggadah at all.  I may be wrong about all of this, and I don’t know the wisdom and greatness of the people who put it into the Haggadah.  There are also some great Rabbis who have commented on this line, and the difficulty with it, and who provide some ways of dealing with it.  So my thoughts should be taken with a grain of salt, and hopefully they can point at what might be worth being troubled about in this line, which isn’t to say that the line shouldn’t be there.  Sometimes being troubled by something is important perhaps.  I shared here some of the sources from Torah that seemed to me to speak against this line.  Heheh… it’s all so confusing… and sooo good.
Usually, when we come to that point in the seder, I feel that I need to say something about it, and not just let it slide by, with whatever ideas it conjures up for people without giving it serious thought.  One sort of side thing that troubles me here is the use of the word goyim – “upon the nations”.  In this Torah context, I don’t have difficulty with the word goyim at all, as it simply means nations, but the casual use of the word goyim today, when people throw it into an English sentence or what have you, I think is very problematic, and hurtful.  Words take on different meaning in different times, and the word “goyim” has for sooo many people taken on a very derogatory connotation, and I think it should really not be used, at least until we can heal it of that sad, uncaring connotation, and learn to love each other, and make it a word of love, and friendship, oneness, and joy.  G-d loves every single one of G-d’s creations with a love beyond beyond the highest love we can imagine, and as I understand it from my learning and my life, what G-d hates is only harm coming to any one of them, or any harm to the relationship between any individuals, or peoples, or between us and the world, or between us and G-d. 
A Torah though I’m reminded of here, which I particularly like is when Beruriah,( whose husband is Rebbi Meir from the Gemara), says:  “G-d put an end to the sins”.  Well that’s her interpretation of a line that can also be read “…an end to the sinners”.  But she tells her husband that the correct understanding is to ask G-d to put an end to the sins… and how is that done?  She asks Rebbi Meir to pray for the people to make teshuvah = to return to good life, to being well and whole through and through.  But not chas v’Shalom, an end to any of His people. 
Along those lines it says over and over in the end of the Yom Kippur Machzor that G-d does not want the destruction of the “wicked” – the unhealthy, the lost, the broken people, but rather their return to good life.  In the Gemara it says that it is forbidden to hate a person, and permitted to hate a hurtful trait, or behaviour.  Nonetheless, the Tosafot recommends that we stay away from even the permitted hatred, saying “As a person’s face to the water, so their heart to their friend.”  I think that means that if we focus much on the traits we hate, or dislike in another, they may just feel from us in general that we dislike, or chas v’Shalom, that we hate them, and since it is enormously difficult to have warm, loving feelings towards one who hates you, we will cause them to hate us, and so a cycle of hatred is begun. 
It makes me think of the Yosef story… how we thought that Yosef thought he was better than us, and how he told Yaa’akov on us, mistakenly judging our behaviour, and how we ended up hating Yosef, our brother, and so we threw him into a pit,
and sold him into slavery, and ended up in slavery in Egypt ourselves.  I feel that we, as Jews, should consider that if we nurture, and spread negative feelings towards other peoples, no matter who we think started it, that we continue it, and if we cause other peoples to think we dislike them, or that we think we are better than them, or more important, than we create a situation in which they will naturally dislike or hate us, G-d forbid. 
A Rav of mine, Rav Yehoshua, taught me that one of the things we do near the start of the seder is dip our celery in salt water, and how the word we use in the Haggadah for the greens, the celery, is Karpas, which is the same word Rashi uses in describing Yosef’s K’tonet pasim = his special coat.  And when we sold Yosef into slavery we took his “Karpas”, his coat, and dipped it into sheep’s blood, and that is represented in the dipping of the Karpas into the salt water.  He also pointed out how at the leaving of Egypt, we again dipped – this time hyssop into sheep’s blood.  I think it’s a good reminder to realise that our slavery began with a lack in ourselves, and was meant as a healing process for us.  I think if we sit around and nurture negative feelings towards the rest of humanity, that we create more problems in ourselves. 
I think we can see all the characters in the story, including Pharaoh and the Egyptian as Us, and really, in the deepest sense, contemplate the teaching that we are all one, Adam Kadmon – sort of humanity on a level that co-exists with ours, in which we are one entity, and to deeply consider that really really truly Ha-Shem, G-d, is ONE, ECHAD, and to know that it is true, that all the people in the story are Us, and that G-d loves every single one, and wants only the protection, and healing, and the very best for each and every one, and never ever gives up on any one, and is constantly trying to help us go in the right direction, so we can receive all the good that G-d is trying to give us, and that G-d is deeply, beyond imagination grieved at the suffering of each one, and for any brokenness in any one. 
And to remember that when we the children of Yisrael are in Egypt, we are at the 49th gate of tumah,which is a hairbreadth above the bottom morally, spiritually = very deeply corrupted, broken human beings, and there G-d is loving us, and trying to redeem us, and some of us are able to do what we need so that G-d does indeed redeem us…  and when we, the Egyptians are in Egypt, some of us are at the 50th gate of tumah, and G-d loves us, and only wants our redemption, but we have become too broken to be redeemed in this incarnation, BUT, like the children of Yisrael who in their previous incarnation were also at the 50th gate of tumah, when we were the people of S’dom, (so says the Ari z’l), just like we were brought back, so we could be healed, and finally brought to receive the incredible goodness G-d wanted for us all along, – so too please G-d, we the Egyptians will be brought back, and healed, and when we drowned, G-d silenced His angels from singing, because is there a more horrible thing than to see your children being dying from such deep brokenness! 
It’s like Rebbi Meir said in the Gemara – that we are G-d’s children, and G-d’s love for us is never ever diminished, not even if we went, chas v’Shalom, against every single Mitzvah in the Torah!  Does a parent love there child less when they fall and hurt themselves, or when they become sick, or if they are kidnapped, or if they become lost in terrible, painful, frightening places?!!!  G-d’s amazing unbelievably incredible love for us, for all of Us, is forever, and G-d just wants us to move away from those things that hurt us, and towards the sweet, happy, good things G-d has prepared for us, and G-d wont give up, ever, not if we have gotten so lost and are at the 49th gate of tumah, and not if we are at the 50th gate of tumah, and so we will get there = : ) , to the good life G-d wants for us, to such joy that we could cry tears of laughter, and dance a jig for a hundred and twenty years – all of us!

The short version

Treasure your fellow while you can. Love gently and with courageous perserverance. Live with wholeness. Carefully protect peace. Begin now with a biiiiG silly ear to ear smile. Wherever we are the Infinite One is right with us, loving us.