Rabash, Writings of Rabash, Shlavei HaSulam (Steps of the Ladder), Article “What to Look For in the Assembly of Friends“: The answer is that love of friends that is built on the basis of love of others, by which they can achieve the love of the Creator, is the opposite of what is normally considered love of friends. In other words, love of others does not mean that the friends will love me. Rather, it is I who must love the friends.
As a rule, we approach love of friends in a naturally egoistic way: “Let them love me first, and in return I will love them.” I expect them to demonstrate an example for me, and only then am I willing to follow it. It is similar to setting demands on the Creator: “First you show yourself, and then I will do as You please.”
If I second the group or the Creator on what they have started, after they have already revealed themselves, it means that I am working egoistically. From the group, I must ask only for the greatness of the goal. Nobody becomes aware of the greatness on his own; we only speak of it in order to artificially elevate ourselves to this degree. And that is what makes us grow independently.
If love of friends’ gets revealed to me beforehand, my reaction will be based on purely mercantile considerations. I will respond to the friends as to any well-wisher. After all, it is pleasant for me to deal with him. Therefore, I shouldn’t seek any signs of the group’s favorite attitude toward me.
The Book of Zohar tells about the disciples of Rabbi Shimon: Whenever they got together, they would feel mutual hatred at first, and then they would start studying and overcoming it. So do we start convincing ourselves: “Whatever I see, I see it in the mirror of my ego.” Everyone judges according to their own flaws. Only later do we come to the authentic love that lies above hatred.
Therefore, the key is not to trust one’s own eyes or heart. I simply don’t focus on the others; let them do whatever they want. As to my own behavior though, I must act as my teachers instruct. If I start expecting something from the others, I will never see them do anything good. The Creator intentionally makes it so that I always see flaws in the group since I see them through the prism of my egoism.
I feel resentment and disdain toward the friends; I have no slightest desire to unify, sit down, and talk with them, and I have thousands of excuses to refuse to do it. And yet, I must move all obstacles to the side and understand that it is a game that is played with me on purpose.
If I came to the circle of people who have a spiritual desire, it means that the Creator selected them. And since He chose them, I must “cleave” to them. It is my “womb” where I will grow. I don’t have a choice: I must connect with the friends, indeed believing that they are the greatest of the generation, the best representatives of humanity, who came to lift me up. The group is the elevator that takes me up into the spiritual world.
From Lesson 5, WE! Convention 4/2/2011
If You Don’t Succeed Here, Then You Won’t Succeed Anywhere
Then Everything Will Be All Right
Break Free From The Grip Of Deception