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November 24, 2014 / 2 Kislev, 5775
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Throwing Stones of Love

When we are united with unconditional love, then we will merit to witness the time when no stone will be raised against us from our enemies in hate.
Masked Palestinian youths throw a stones towards Israeli riot police during clashes following Friday prayers at Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque compound on February 7, 2014. Israeli police fired stun grenades at stone-throwing Palestinian protesters after Friday prayers in Jerusalem's Old City. Photo by

Masked Palestinian youths throw a stones towards Israeli riot police during clashes following Friday prayers at Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque compound on February 7, 2014. Israeli police fired stun grenades at stone-throwing Palestinian protesters after Friday prayers in Jerusalem's Old City. Photo by
Photo Credit: Sliman Khader / Flash 90.

While this article was prompted by the stonings outside Tekoa, Hevron, and continued tension (stone-related and otherwise) on the Temple Mount today, Hasidism teaches that we can sweeten these bitter, difficult events by initiating the opposite. If our enemies are throwing stones of hate, then we should counter by throwing stones of love.

But our ‘stones’ are not physical. Instead the stones that we would like to mention in brief are the spiritual stones of Rebbe Yichiel Michel of Zlotshov, one of the Ba’al Shem Tov’s most well-known disciples.

Rebbe Michel said that if he were to see a Jew coming out of a house of iniquity, then the love towards him would not decrease at all. On the contrary it should increase,because he now has compassion for him.

Although there is a time and place to rebuke a fellow, as explained in Hasidism, this is only if this person will listen. When will he listen? We can learn this from a gematria, numerical equivalence, as “stone throwing” is the same numerical value as “You shall love your fellow as yourself” (both 820).

When is it okay to throw stones?

Say that you see another Jew desecrating the Shabbat, or in Rebbe Michel’s example, coming out of a house of iniquity. Is it ever okay to stone him?

We are not speaking now of physical stones, but words of rebuke. When is it permissible to rebuke (read: “throw stones at”) a fellow Jew?

The answer relates back to our gematria. When words of rebuke are conveyed with boundless love, like the love of Rebbe Michel, then it is okay to throw these ‘stones.’ But unless we have reached this level, then it is better to pray for this Jew’s wellbeing without any rebuke at all.

Why did I bring this particular meditation?

This meditation was discussed prior to Rosh Hashanah this year at a yeshiva in the news today. The location where this teaching was delivered is the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva in Yitzhar, a building that was recently seized as an army base. (For those interested, the English transcript of the class is viewable here.)

But the lesson of how to throw ‘stones’ of love remains. There was an event today in support of the yeshiva and the residents of Yitzhar, and once again, Rabbi Ginsburgh emphasized the importance of loving one’s fellow Jew.

This is the antidote. The cure by which we will overcome the real enemies of the Jewish people. When we are united with unconditional love, then we will merit to witness the time when no stone will be raised against us from our enemies in hate.

When our “stones of love” don’t appear as rebukes at all, but compassionate words of love spoken from a close friend. then we will have completed the sweetening of the bitter version of “stone throwing”.

The cure for physical stones thrown by our enemies in hate is positive words of reproof spoken out of love.

May we merit to experience this transformation today.

Note to Reader: Before commenting on this article, it is worthwhile to have the 820 meditation in mind. Regarding the situation in Yitzhar. The idea is not there is one side all faultless and one side all guilty, but that a proper sense of familial love and compassion would have resolved this situation before it ever escalated.

About the Author: Yonatan Gordon is a student of Harav Yitzchak Ginsburgh, and writes on his personal blog at CommunityofReaders.org.


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10 Responses to “Throwing Stones of Love”

  1. Romeo Singh says:

    ELOHIM BLESS ISRAEL…

  2. dont fear islam/muslims.they worship their moon gods unlike your hashem.moon gods cant talk.

  3. Gene Strong says:

    Muslims.are not.throwing stones of love and you need to deal with them ASAP….Remove 100% of Muslims from.Jerusalem and see if that.gets.their attention

  4. what occupation study your history

  5. Michael, the Palestinians refused to accept Israel as a State. They are taught hatred of Jews from the nursery on. The 'oppression' as you call it, is a response to the murderous attacks on Israeli civilians. Rockets are fired onto Israel even as I write this. What would you do if people wanted only to murder you? How would you protect yourself and those you love?

  6. I am an old man now and have never figured out this return "love for hate" As far as the real stones ,I always felt better when I physically returned violent attacks (10 for1).I grew up in a very antisemitic area and was once hit in the head in a violent attack with a tire iron. When I woke up, the person that hit me called me a Christ killer. I helped him to understand that Jews can fight back. After the beating I was no longer physically attacked in that neighborhood. When I was called ethnic degrading comments , I was told to let it run off my back. I always felt better if it ran off the other persons back. I did this with love for who I am and my need to stand tall.

  7. What oppression of palestinians? I just spent time in Israel and visited much of the west bank. I visited 2 arab towns and noted shopping centers ,nice cars,and well fed children playing in the street. I spoke with several arabs. One was vehemently Islamist The others told me this is the first time they have had no trouble feeding their family and can easily pay bills. A cab driver ststed he wishes that he were an Israeli citizen like his cousin in Jaffo. He told me his life has improved 200% under Israeli occupation. I saw no more poverty than what I saw in Israel proper.(1/3of Israelis are below the poverty line) Is the fact that they live under a Jewish flag constitute oppression?? People like you who talk of brutal oppression don't know what you are talking about. Have you been there?. Have you checked out the facts.? Where do you get your information?

  8. Sequeira Mendes says:

    yes poor palestinians … Occupied ??? Look what muslims do even among them … they are murder kill experts everywere there are muslims there are problems. Israel don t need such kind of problems and the lucky for those poor palestinians is that they have Israel at their borders if not they would be killing among them as they have done in Gaza .. AP knows that but we do now aswell that the problem with muslims is their religion and corruption … more they keep their own people in misery more they control their minds … the culture of hate, rape, enslavement is in their religion. In Belgic for example 80% of the people in jail are muslims … is that oppression ??? Of course not muslins run away to western countries looking for freedom , LOL , once there they want the sharia … and why not to apply the sharia to muslims in western countries and in Israel ??? There would be one country 2 systems like Chine…

  9. Gary Harper says:

    Rebuke those who have ears to hear. That is pure love. Those whose ears are deliberately shut? Well, open them with a tent peg. Perhaps, then, they will also come to learn to hear. That is a tougher form of the same love.

    The mild rebuke is from the hardly ever seen feminine side of Hashem, the peaceful side. But, men have always preferred the more active and dynamic Hashem of fire and blood and conquest, at a rate of 9:1.

    All are rewarded according to their beliefs. Those who have ears to hear, already hear, and can face any rebuke. You are wise to talk to them, man to man, in private. You both will be glad you did.

    Those who refuse to hear, must always learn the true nature of righteousness in the hardest way. He who will not face up to an honest rebuke will face up to a punishment of his own creating. It has always been that way. This applies to all, not just to Palestinians and Jews.

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