Baal HaSulam, “Matan Torah (The Giving of the Torah),” Items 3-4: Since we were commanded: “Love thy friend as thyself.” The word ‘thyself’ tells us, love your friend to the same extent you love yourself, not one bit less.
In other words, you must constantly and vigilantly satisfy the needs of every person in the Israeli nation, no less than you are always vigilant to satisfy your own needs. … And now go and see if this Mitzvah is in any way feasible.
We are required to study extensively in order to acquire two discernments:
- We have to reach the love of others in its true from, which means that whatever we do, in every desire, in every way, in every moment, we have to look for the method of how to do good unto others, and I do my best to achieve that, just as I do everything in my power now working for myself, trying to do the best for my own good. This “self service” is fulfilled naturally, instinctively, knowingly and by purposeful efforts. But now I have to act in the exact opposite manner: both consciously and subconsciously on the scale of from zero to infinity I have to constantly bestow upon everyone.
- Can I do that? Is there anything that is more antagonistic and hateful to me? How can I live with that, with such a commandment that the Torah tells us about?
We have gotten used to nice words; we teach our children to be kind; that’s true. If I want to be respected, that people will endorse me, I have to speak accordingly. Everyone agrees that the “love of others” is right, but no one seriously intends to fulfill it. Besides, no one has checked whether it is actually possible.
So we have to try to actually fulfill this. Then we will see the truth, we will reach the deepest point of clarification: It turns out that our nature is opposite from this demand. The two types of nature, in order to receive and in order to bestow, are placed one opposite the other and we are in between. On the one hand, we can’t do anything, and on the other hand, by looking for the way to reach this recognition, we draw the Light that Reforms. We really want bestowal, but we can’t bestow, as it says in the Torah, “and the Children of Israel sighed from the labor.” If internally we face these two discernments, we will find ourselves on the verge of the exodus from Egypt.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 10/22/12, “Matan Torah (The Giving of the Torah)”