his column includes small doses of Rebbe Nachman’s wisdom, helping us to get through the week in a more spiritual way.
The Three Weeks are that time of year when we mourn the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash. On a deeper level, the destruction of that grand building known as the Beis HaMikdash was the physical manifestation of Hashem removing His presence from amongst us due to the sin of baseless hatred. Hashem’s presence (known as the Shechina) is still in exile to this very day.
In order to properly observe this time period we must strengthen ourselves in love for each other, and remove hatred of our fellow Jews from our hearts. But how? Is there something practical we can start doing to achieve this lofty, yet elusive goal? The answer is “yes!”
Rebbe Nachman states in Likutei Moharan (Lesson #282): “Know, a person must judge everyone favorably (Avot 1:6). Even someone who is completely wicked, it is necessary to search and find in him some modicum of good; that in that little bit he is not wicked. And by finding in him a modicum of good and judging him favorably, one genuinely elevates him to the scale of merit and can bring him to repent.”
He continues, “Even if you see that he is completely wicked, you must search and seek the little bit of good in him, wherein he is not wicked…For although he is wicked, how is it possible that he does not still possess even a little bit of good? Is it possible that throughout his life he never once did some mitzvah or good deed?”
This idea is simple and yet profound at the same time. Try it yourself. Next time you hear a fellow Jew say something you vehemently disagree with (think politics), look for some good quality that this person has. It’s not what we’re accustomed to doing, right? Rebbe Nachman is saying we must train ourselves to do this.
By searching out and focusing on the good points within our fellow Jews, we thereby train ourselves to have what the Talmud refers to as an “ayin tov” or “good eye.” This sterling quality is surely the key to repairing the sin of baseless hatred, which is still the cause of the ongoing exile.
May Hashem help us to follow Rebbe Nachman’s practical advice and train ourselves to focus exclusively on the virtues of our fellow Jews. With this way of looking at each other, may we merit to see the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash speedily in our days. Amen.