Loving Your Friend

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Obligation

  1. There is a Biblical obligation to love one's fellow Jew as he loves himself. [1]
  2. This mitzvah is rewarded greatly[2] and is considered one of the major pillars of the Torah.[3]

What does it Include?

  1. Included in this commandment is to have pity on fellow Jews and on their money. Also, to speak positively of other Jews and to be concerned about their honor. [4]
  2. One should find joy in the successes of other and avoid feeling jealous just as one would celebrate his own success. [5]
  3. One absolutely may not get honor through the disgrace of his friend. Even if the friend isn't standing there, and didn't receive any embarassment, and even if one only embarrassed him in comparison to someone else's actions or deeds--one who does this has no share in the world to come, until he does Teshuva. [6].

Who is one Obligated to Love?

  1. The mitzvah to love your fellow applies to all Jews regardless of age or gender. [7]
  2. One is obligated to love his fellow, even if he doesn't love himself. Therefore it is forbidden to insult others even if one doesn't mind when others put him down. [8]
  3. The Mitzvah to love a fellow Jew applies even to a person who does not like or get along with other people and even if he insults or embarrasses them. As well, there is a mitzvah to do chessed and acts of kindness to a person who is selfish and does not do so for others. [9]
  4. There is a special mitzvah to love Torah Scholars beyond that of another Jew. For this reason, one should go out of their way and look for opportunities to benefit and provide assistance to such people. [10]

The Sin of Hating a Fellow Jew

  1. Anyone who hates in his heart any Jew violates the Negative Commandment of "Do Not Hate your Brother in Your Heart" (לא תשנא את אחיך בלבבך) [11].
  2. If someone sinned against you, you shouldn't be quiet and hate them [12], but instead tell him what he did, and ask him: "Why did you do this to me, and why did you sin to me in this way?", as it is written: "You shall surely rebuke your friend" [13].
  3. If one's friend asked for his forgiveness, he must not be cruel, and instead forgive him, just as Avrohom davened to Hashem to heal Avimelech [14].
  4. It is forbidden for a person to pray for judgment against a friend who did him wrong, if there is judgment available on earth. Anyone who prays that his friend should get punished is himself punished first. [15].

Sources

  1. Vayikra 18:19: "ואהבת לרעך כמוך", Rambam (Sefer HaMitzvot aseh no. 206)
  2. Ketubot 77b
  3. Mishna Avot 1:2 states that one of the three pillars of the world is kindness. Rabbi Akiva in Beresheet Rabba 24:7 says that this mitzvah of loving your fellow Jew is one of the great pillars of the Torah.
  4. Mishpitei HaShalom pg. 144
  5. Mishpitei Hashalom pg. 144 in the name of the Ramban.
  6. Rambam Hil' Teshuva 4:4, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 29;12
  7. Shulchan Aruch HaMiddot vol. 2 pg. 47
  8. Shulchan Aruch Hamiddot vol. 2 pg. 39
  9. Shulchan Aruch HaMiddot vol. 2 pg. 39
  10. Shulchan Aruch Hamiddot vol. 2 pg. 62
  11. Vayikra 19:17
  12. As Avshalom did against Amnon, Shmuel Bet 13:22
  13. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 29:13 based on Vayikra 19:17
  14. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 29:13
  15. Kitzur S.A. 29:14