Rav Avigdor Miller on Loving Jews
Can the Rav explain to us how we could actually learn to love all Jews?
Now, first of all, I want to tell you that it’s not necessary to love all Jews. Only the shomrei mitzvos. On the non-shomrei mitzvos there is no chiyuv. ואהבת לרעך כמוך – the Gemara explains that it’s a mitzvah for רעך במצוות – a Jew who is a fellow Jew in mitzvos. But if he’s a Jew only in the technical sense, that his mother is Jewish, but he doesn’t keep the Torah, then there’s no mitzvah. But if it is a fellow Jew, a רעך, then you have a chiyuv di’oraisa to learn to love him.
Now, how do you do it? I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you an eitzah, a good piece of advice that I heard from a great man. To just say, “I love everyone,” is nothing. That’s what the liberals say. They love everyone. But really they love nobody. Everything is nothing. You can’t just say, “I love everybody,” all of a sudden. It means nothing. Nothing at all.
You must choose one Jew. Don’t tell him, but choose one person and say, “I’m going to love that Jew.” Say it. And think about it constantly. Think about him positively as much as you can. Think about his good traits and ingrain them into your mind. He has a nice smile; he’s a kind fellow; he davens nicely; he lends you his tools. Whatever it is, you’ll find nice things about him. And little by little you’re going to come to love him. He shouldn’t know about it, but you should love him dearly. Don’t say a word to him. And after a while you’ll see that you really love him.
Then choose another person. And do the same thing. And little by little you’ll have a few people that you really love. And that’s going to be your model to help you go further and further. But you must do it. You must start. People have never even attempted it.
You must know that loving the Am Yisroel is Hakodosh Boruch Hu’s favorite subject. Moshe Rabeinu became great only because he was an oheiv Yisroel. ויצא אל אחיו וירא בסבלותם. He went out to see the sufferings his fellow Jews (Shemos 2:11). “Oh,” said Hakodosh Boruch Hu, “That’s the man I’m looking for.” Moshe Rabeinu became great just because of that. אין הקדוש ברוך הוא אוהב אלא למי שאוהב את ישראל – Hakodosh Boruch Hu only loves those that love His people (Mesillas Yesharim: Perek 19). Because that’s who He loves. So when you love Hashem’s people, then Hashem loves you. וכל מה שאדם מגדיל אהבתו לישראל הקדוש ברוך הוא מגדיל עליו – “And the more you increase your love for the Am Yisroel, the more Hashem increases His love for you (Mesillas Yesharim ibid). The more you love the frum Jews, the more Hashem loves you. Study this ideal and make it into a project. Start with one person and little by little you’ll be surprised. You’ll get good results. If you never try, you’ll never move. You’ll never budge. All your life you’ll stand still and never do this mitzvah at all.