A question I received: You don’t have to make any effort to love sushi or your child. So why is it that in order to love one’s neighbor, one has to go through such a difficult, intricate and lengthy process?
My Answer: When we are satisfying our egoistic desires, we act instinctively: we love ourselves and everything that is ours, and we dislike everything that is foreign, sensing that it is distant from us and does not belong to us. This feeling of the difference between “mine” and “the rest” was created in us in order for us to realize that we are opposite to the whole world and to the Creator. The revelation of this fact is called the revelation of the “shattered common soul.”
If the Creator was clearly revealed to a person, the person would be deprived of his freedom of choice, of any free desire, thought, and action. He would be completely annulled before the Creator. Therefore, in order for man to attain similarity to the Creator, who is the quality of bestowal, one must start out in a state where the Creator is concealed from the person. However, one then needs another example or model of the quality of bestowal and love, instead of the Creator.
In order to create this opportunity for us to attain similarity to the Creator while He is hidden, the single soul of Adam HaRishon broke into individual souls. As a result of this breaking, each soul now imagines itself to be outside of the others, and feels repelled from them by its egoism. And when a soul corrects its egoism – its separation from other souls, it attains the quality of bestowal and similarity to the Creator. This is the goal of creation.
Therefore, we should not seek to correct any of our actions, but only our attitudes toward others. It is written, “One goes from love for the neighbor to love for the Creator.” This is how we correct our soul, become similar to the Creator, and attain the goal of creation. Therefore, “love your neighbor as yourself” is the general law of the world (the Torah), and the other laws are particular expressions of this law.
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