The Foundation of the Torah
Once a Gentile came to Shammai – He said “Convert me to Judaism, if you can teach me the entire Torah while standing on one foot.” Shammai – thinking he was mocking him – drove him away with his measuring stick. The gentile came to Hillel. He said “Convert me to Judaism, if you can teach me the entire Torah while standing on one foot.” Hillel said “what is hateful to you – don’t do to others – this is the entire Torah. The rest is all details based upon that foundation.” The gentile decided to convert to Judaism.
You Shall Love Your Fellow as Yourself
Rabbi Akiva said – The foundation of the Torah is veahavta lereacha kamokha – “You shall love your fellow like Yourself.”
Reasons Why a Person May Divorce His Wife According to Torah
When discussing Divorce in the Talmud – Rabbi Akiva said a valid reason for divorce is “One can divorce his wife even if she burns his meal.”
His opinion seems contradictory. If one should love his fellow like himself – why should he divorce his wife on such a trivial matter?
The Foundation of Love
Rabbi Akiva reveals a foundation of the Torah that guides a person to live a life of Truth. Rabbi Akiva says that his love for his wife (and his fellow) should be true love. Love based upon the appreciation of the person – not based upon – what do I gain from the person. If burning a meal is enough for someone to get upset and want to divorce his wife because of it – then it is not true love – and if he wants he may divorce his wife.
Once a person said “I Love Fish.” His fellow replied “If you loved fish – you wouldn’t catch it, skin it, cook it and eat it. You just love yourself.” A question to ask is our love based upon a matter or based upon the other. This is what it says in Pirkei Avot / Ethics of the Fathers – (Chapter 5:16)
What is Love?
16. All love that is dependent upon a matter – when the matter is nullified the love is nullified. And when it is not dependent upon a matter – it will never be nullified. What is the love that depends upon a matter that is the love Amnon & Tamar. And that that is not dependent on a matter, that is the love of David & Jonathan. [At times the love of someone is really love of self-gratification – like one who says: “I love fish.” If he really loved it he wouldn’t kill it. This is love that is dependent on a matter].
What is True Love
Real love is an appreciation of the person. Many today marry on because they think consciously or unconsciously “what’s in it for me?” If you ask a person – why do you want to marry this person? They will reply “Because I love him or her.” Scratch a little deeper ask “Why do you love this person?” They will say “They make me happy.” That love is based upon what they do for you – not your appreciation of them.
What’s More Important a Good Meal or Respect for Your Spouse, Child or loved one?
When trivial matters annoy you about a person, it means that that trivial matter has in a sense more importance than the respect of the person. If you express anger at your spouse because they burned the meal, it may mean that your eating a good meal is more important to you than the honor, respect or feelings of your spouse.
Let it Go
The wise person, the loving person will say “Let it go.” “It’s OK” “everything doesn’t have to be perfect.” While I was saying this Dvar Torah / Word of Torah at the breakfast Table – someone accidentally spilled my cup of Orange Juice on the Table and in my plate. My immediate thought was to have a reaction – but I realized I was saying a Dvar Torah to forgive others and be accepting of others faults and imperfect acts. So I said calmly “Let’s get some Towels and clean this up.”
You Overlook Your Own Faults – Overlook the Faults of Others
Torah wants a person to have real love for others – as one loves themself. A person overlooks his faults – he should overlook faults of others.
If you want to correct someone – correct them, at the proper time, with the proper voice, in the proper place with love -for them – not anger – because of the slight to you.
King Balak was afraid of the Jews after they killed two giants Sihon & Og. Balak took – the gentile Prophet Bilaam to curse them. Bilaam had one blind eye. An alusion that we too should sometimes close our eyes to the failings of others. If we see their failings – we should ask what can we do to help them – rather than jumping on them for every small detail. Give people room to grow. Give people leeway to make a mistake. Usually mistakes are not done on purpose.
Lack of Self-Serenity Causes Dissatisfaction with Others
Their first two letters of For both Balak and Bilaam are Bet, Lamed. Together they Spell – bilbul – Confusion. The Inability to think or reason in a focused, clear manner. Lack of peace of mind or Confusion causes a person to be unsatisfied. If you have a calm state of mind – it’s easier to control your immediate reactions. If you learn mussar works you are better prepared to deal with stress. Believe it is good and it will be good. Believe Hash-m sends only good – and you’ll see the situation in a positive light.
One Rabbi said that the Hebrew Letters of Balak represent veahavta lereacha kamokh / Love Your Fellow as Yourself. A student said “I don’t understand Balak is spelled with a Bet, Lamed and Kuf – the first letters of the words veahavta lereacha kamokh – are Vav, Lamed, Kaf.” The Rebbe replied – If you love another you will overlook the small mistakes, slights and faults.