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August 2, 2015 / 17 Av, 5775
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I Love All Jews

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That’s right. I love Jews. All of them. I love good Jews and I love bad Jews. I love fat Jews and I love skinny Jews. I love reform Jews and deformed Jews, progressive Jews and regressive Jews. I love assimilated Jews and Jews who have married gentiles. I love homosexual Jews and lesbian Jews. I love leftist Jews and Peace Now Jews. I love Jews who call me nasty names and Jews who say I’m a lousy writer. I even love Diaspora Jews. Some people say I’m too hard on them, but that’s because I love them so much. If you see a blind man about to fall off a cliff, you yell out to warn him, right? What is this similar to? If a person who never heard about heart transplants wandered into the operating room of a hospital and saw a team of doctors removing the heart of a patient, he’d think they were monsters trying to kill him – but the very opposite is the case. The surgeons are trying to save him. It’s the same thing with me. Precisely out of the passionate love I feel for my brothers and sisters in exile, I am trying to open their eyes. I lived in exile in gentile lands too, and I know what it’s like. Living in Israel, you can’t even begin to measure the difference. Jewish life in a foreign, gentile land cannot be compared to true Jewish life in the Land of the Jews. It’s the difference between night and day.

Since the Three Weeks have started when we mourn the destruction of Jerusalem and the Beit HaMikdash, this is a good time to stir up the embers of the love we feel for our fellow Jews. Rabbi Kook taught that since the Beit HaMikdash was destroyed because of senseless hatred, it will be rebuilt by gratuitous love. So to help get us started, here are a few things Rabbi Kook wrote about love, from the chapter on Ahavah, in his book “Midot HaRiyah.”

“The heart must be filled with love for all: for all of Creation, for all mankind, and, in ascending order, for the Jewish People, in which all other loves are included, since it is the mission of Israel to bring all the world to perfection. All of these loves are to be expressed in practical action, by pursuing the welfare of those whom we are bidden to love, and to seek their betterment and advancement.”

“The highest love of all is the love of G-d. When it fills the heart, this spells man’s greatest happiness. Consequently, one cannot help but love the Torah and its commandments, which are so intimately linked to the goodness of G-d.”

“Love must embrace every single individual, regardless of differences in views on religion, or differences of race or country. A person must discipline himself in the love of all people, especially the love of the noblest among them, the intellectuals, the poets, the artists, the communal leaders. It is necessary to recognize that light of the good in the best of the people, for it is through them that the light of God is diffused in the world, whether they recognize the significance of their mission or not.

“Hatred may be directed only toward the evil and filth in the world. We must realize that the kernel of life, in its inherent light and holiness, never leaves the divine image in which mankind was created, and with which each person and nation is endowed.”

“Though our love for people must be all-inclusive, embracing the wicked as well, this in no way blunts our hatred for evil itself – on the contrary, it strengthens it. For it is not because of the dimension of evil clinging to a person that we include him in our love, but because of the good in him, which our love tells us is to be found in everyone. Since we separate the dimension of the good in him, in order to love him for it, our hatred for the evil becomes unwavering and absolute.”

“It is proper to hate a corrupt person only for his defects, but insofar as he is endowed with a divine image, it is proper to love him. We must also realize that the precious dimension of his worth is a more authentic expression of his nature than the lower characteristics that developed in him through circumstances.”

About the Author: Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Creativity and Jewish Culture for his novel "Tevye in the Promised Land." A wide selection of his books are available at Amazon.

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

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10 Responses to “I Love All Jews”

  1. Emet Sheva says:

    Yashar Koach Tzvi…. Moshe loved us all also- its very special thing to declare in a time of divisiveness!

  2. Bracha Brenda-Chantal Ruche says:

    You are a Mamash Jew! A brilliant writer! It is with AHAVA ISRAEL that the Beit Hamikdash will be rebuild!

  3. Ruth Hirt says:

    Yes indeed, we love the person and hate the sin. HaShem goes beyond that, He honors His word and promises.

  4. Ruth Hirt says:

    Yes indeed, we love the person and hate the sin. HaShem goes beyond that, He honors His word and promises.

  5. Ruth Hirt says:

    HaShem bless your soul, Emet.

  6. Mari Wolk says:

    Thank you for this piece Tzvi Fishman. I take your columns so personally. I am that a Jew in a gentile land. Hashem understands my reasons at this time, but I can hardly wait to get home.

  7. Mari Wolk says:

    I agree.

  8. Anastasia Klein says:

    I love this article. Toda.

  9. Bs"d Keep up with your senseless kindness towards all Jews… My rabbi here said something really good this Shabbat. Rashi said that the Mezuzah should be lined up vertical and Rabbeinu Tam said it should be horizontal so the Halacha is to put it leaning in between these two positions. I derive from it the need to find peace is greater than the need to find one CORRECT answer when both can be permissible according to Torah.

  10. Wendy Bassett says:

    What an absolutely EXCELLENT article! The concepts of love, as so well expressed here by Tzvi Fishman, are exciting. For many people the idea of a starting place that embraces all is not foreign. I expect that the majority, though, are not committed to being loving. Contrary to how many people think, meekness is not weakness. It is not a sloppy emotional kind of feeling that makes one afraid, wishy-washy or dependent. True love is filled with wisdom and unselfishness and understanding and is hard work. It takes nothing to be able to see the imperfections of others, respond in judgement and gossip, lashon hara, or withhold acceptance until someone proves, by making her/him jump through hoops that s/he is "worthy" of it.

    Tzvi: "It is proper to hate a corrupt person only for his defects, but insofar as he is endowed with a divine image, it is proper to love him…….the precious dimension of his worth is a more authentic expression of his nature than the lower characteristics that developed in him through circumstances''.

    I will definitely be looking for more of Tzvi Fishman's articles.
    I'm not Jewish, but I kinda think that he must love me, too!

Comments are closed.

Tzvi Fishman, author of the Jewish Press blog Felafel on Rye and author of more than a dozen books.
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