Question: The wisdom of Kabbalah is based on the principle, “And you shall love your friend as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18), but how can a person love himself; is it possible to love others without loving yourself?
Answer: The assumption of the question is not correct. I don’t need to hate myself to love others; rather, this principle is given to me as an example. Just as I am concerned about myself at any given moment, so I must relate to others as well. I must be concerned about their comfort, their welfare, that they are safe, warm, and satisfied just as I am concerned about the necessary and simple, basic things for myself.
Moreover, if I understand that this is not the main thing in life, that besides satisfying myself with the minimal and normal necessities, I want to relate to higher, eternal and perfect states and begin to unite with Him, I am ready to explain the same thing to other people so that they will understand what kind of unique opportunity we have in our world to transcend it toward the upper world and begin to exist in it in a state of eternity and perfection.
From the Kabbalah Lesson in Russian 12/27/15