A Heart of Love and Joy – The Agadah of the Talmud (Mussar)

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Rabbi Akiva said, “‘Love your friend as you love yourself’is the primary axiomatic principle of the Torah.” This ideal implies that there should be an equivalency between the love we have for others and the love we have for ourselves. Meaning, just as we want the best for ourselves, we should want the best for others.

If we don’t give with the complete love within our hearts, we are not quite fulfilling the principle. Therefore, we should give our friends everything in our capacity, without holding back any benefit that is within our power to give. For instance, we should share with them our wisdom, financial resources, time, and give them honor, etc.

Avraham Avinu was a master of loving others. Yet, if someone were to suggest to us that we should wait outside our house and find guests to invite for a meal, we would say, “I am not on that level.” However, if we fully accept the value system of the Torah, we will realize that there should be no bars on our hearts. 

Conducting ourselves in the kind ways of Avraham is the true and ultimate pleasure. Meaning, when we open up all the chambers of love that reside within our hearts, we will discover our true selves. The pursuit of unbounded loving-kindness and good deeds will bring us true and lasting joy. By reaching out to others and giving them our “all,” we will experience a taste of the Garden of Eden (based on Da’as Torah of Rav Yerucham)

Today: Allow yourself the joy of awakening the Avraham Avinu within you.  

 Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Zvi Miller and the Salant Foundation

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