Some time ago, Abraham gathered such people in ancient Babylon and created a group which was called “Isra-el,” which means “directly to the Creator.” However, the quality of bestowal is now gone, and instead of love for the neighbor, unfounded hatred is revealed between us. I hate others just because they are not me and for having their own desires.
I am built in such a way that everyone else is absolutely not included in my sphere of interests unless I am able to benefit from them. I hate others because they are separate from me.
On the other hand, if we were united and felt others’ desires within us, we would love them. Therefore, hatred can be revealed only in contrast to love. We always learn from opposites – “the advantage of the Light is learned from darkness.” This is why by striving to love my neighbor, I discover hatred within myself in regards to him.
The students of Rabbi Akiva, who existed in the quality of love for the neighbor, descended from this love into unfounded hatred. They were blown in different directions by the explosion of egoism within them.
If a person rises along the spiritual degrees, if he wishes to achieve bestowal, love, and similarity to the Creator, then he discovers time and time again that his nature is unfounded hatred, and that by revealing the sinner within himself, he corrects himself and becomes righteous.
(From a lesson on “Introduction to the Book ‘From the Mouth of a Sage,’” 11.06.2009)