The pervasive scope and breadth of VeAhavta Le'Reacha Komocha (Vayikra 19:18) simply cannot be emphasized enough. For your thoughtful review, we once again provide important pointers which are listed in, or based upon, the teachings of Love Your Neighbor (by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, Shlita). The Mitzvah is fulfilled when:
1. A craftsman or worker is mindful that he is making a product, or performing a service, not merely for a source of income, but also for the benefit or pleasure of the person who will use it;
2. Teaching another person Torah;
3. Forgiving one who has hurt or offended you;
4. Helping someone by making change for a larger bill or coin, or giving them a quarter for the parking meter;
5. Going out of your way not to keep people waiting--trying to be the first one present on a conference call or for a meeting;
6. Intentionally steering clear of annoying others--such as not slamming doors, making screeching noises with your nails, or doing something to which another person present would respond with “Uch”! or “How could you do that?!” Note here that the “L’Rayacha Komocha” is dependent on the person who is present, and is not the standard of the average person. You must specifically relate to the person who is with you;
7. Bringing good news or happiness to others;
8. Taking a walk with someone who appears troubled or is clearly in need of talking;
9. Complimenting someone for their job, effort, or appearance; and
10. Giving Tzedakah to someone, or helping someone with something he needs help with, **BEFORE** being asked.
In honor of this Mitzvah we are providing below (as we B'EH have done annually) our “Ahavas Yisroel Checklist”, which provides some practical suggestions and reminders on a daily basis.
Ahavas Yisroel : (checklist is below this paragraph)
The Mesilas Yesharim (end of Chapter 19) writes, “Hakodosh Boruch Hu only loves those who love their fellow Jew, and the more one increases his love for fellow Jews, the more Hakodush Boruch Hu loves him. [We note the incredible statement of the Alter of Kelm (Kisvei HaSaba MiKelm page 13) that with V’ahavta L’reacha Comocha one can be m’kayem thousands of mitzvos a minute because for every single Jew that one loves, he is m’kayem a separate Mitzvas Aseh. (Also see Yesod V’Shoresh Ha’Avoda 1:7-8).] Many have asked, How can I properly fulfill the Mitzvas Aseh of V’ahavta L’reacha Comocha--How can I love someone else as much as myself? Must I buy another a pair of shoes whenever I buy one for myself? Rav Eliyahu Lopian, Z’tl, provides an incredibly practical guideline: The Mitzva is: Do for others what you would want them to do for you; and do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you. This it the formula to apply in all of your life’s encounters (Lev Eliyahu, Beraishis, page 253). Using this as your guideline, the following is a list of practical ideas for a person to grow in the great mitzva of Ahavas Yisroel:
Ahavas Yisroel Checklist
1. Did you say hello to at least one person before they said hello to you?
2. Did you make someone smile or laugh today? Did you boost someone’s spirits?
3. Were you truly happy to hear good news about a friend? Even if you wish that the same good news would happen to you?
4. Did you judge someone favorably today? Did you see people positively—-or did you sum up their lifestyle, pros and cons, with one glance of the eye?
5. How often did you find yourself talking about someone else?
6. Did you actually do any of the following?
a. Visit a sick person
b. Help the needy in some way
c. Invite a guest without family in town for a Shabbos meal
d. Patronize Jewish products and stores
e. Help a single person find a Shidduch
f. Sincerely ask Hashem to bring the Geulah for all of us
(This checklist is based largely on a checklist developed by the wonderful N’shei Ahavas Chesed of Brooklyn.)
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