Category: Ahavah

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Love, part I

Rav SR Hirsch relates the word ahavah (love) /ahb/ to the roots /hbh/ meaning “offer” and /hbb/, “bring forth”. To love is to give.In his Kunterus haChesed, Rav Dessler writes a truth fundamental to Mussar. We think of giving as an expression of love, but moreso giving is the cause of love. There’s a famous story of Rav Yisrael Salanter...

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Love, part II

If we look at the portrayal of the avos, both in their relationships with Hashem and with their families, I believe you find three distinct models for loving relationships. Avraham is noted by Chazal for being a baal chessed, for being generous, giving. As we saw in part I, this is in imitation of G-d. The purpose of creation (to...

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Universalism

(Updated 12-Oct-2007: Added kaf zechus.) In today’s world, with the Orthodox community as tiny as it is, dealing with high costs of education and our own needs, our chessed tends to be focused on the helping others within our own communities. Another factor promoting our insularity is our need to self-define in order to survive. We are more likely to...

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Something Else to Throw into the Bonfire

Saul Mashbaum wrote the following back during the “should we burn the wigs?” period a few years ago. I think it’s still quite apropos, a reminder of our priorities. SOMETHING ELSE TO THROW INTO THE BONFIRE Sources close to several major poskim have claimed that they have declared a new chovat biur. “After examining the situation carefully, we have come...

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Ben Shishim leZiqnah

I found I couldn’t let the day go without comment, so here are two old posts of mine written originally for other fora on the subject of the meaning of Zionism. R’ Aharon Soloveitchikzt”l gave the following parable, to explain his position on the sanctity of “secular” Zionism. During WWII, a family raised just enough money to get one son...

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Two Tzadiqim on Loving the Evildoer

I found the following on a web site called “Two Tzaddiks: The Teachings of Rebbe Pinchas of Koretz and His Disciple, Rebbe Raphael of Bershad”: “In his teachings, R. Pinchas preached universal love, even love of the most sinful people in humanity, because only such love can hasten the coming of the Redeemer”. (Ideas and Ideals of the Hassidim, by...

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Fast for the Sinners

תני כשם שמתריעים עליהן בשאר ימי שבוע כך מתריעין עליהן בשביעית מפני פרנסת אחרים מהו מפני פרנסת אחרים חברייא אמרי מפני פרנסת עכו”ם… A beraisa: Just as we blow shofar [and make a fast day] for [a lack of rain] on the other days of the seven-year cycle, so too we blow shofar for them during shemittah for the income...

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Clear the Air Week

לא חרבה ירושלים, אלא בשביל שלא הוכיח זה את זה. Yerushalayim was only destroyed because they didn’t give tokhachah to [usually translated: rebuke] one another. – Shabbos 119b Not the sin we usually associate with the destruction of the Beis HaMiqdash. More often quoted is: מקדש ראשון מפני מה חרב מפני ג’ דברים שהיו בו ע”ז וגלוי עריות ושפיכות דמים…...

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Compassion for Our Enemies

Updated 1/8/2014. We have a minhag to pour out 16 drops of wine, once at each mention of a makah that befell the Egyptians. The earliest mention of this custom is in the Maharil (according to R’ Joseph Tabory, on Avodah), who says the reason is that we are promised “any distress which I placed upon the Egyptians I will...