Rabash, “What to Look for in the Assembly of Friends”: It is the same with love of friends. It is a great effort when one should judge the friends to a scale of merit, and not everyone is ready for it.
Sometimes, it is even worse. At times, a person sees that his friend is disrespectful toward him. Even worse, he heard a slanderous rumor, meaning he heard from a friend that that friend, who is called so and so, said about him things that are not nice for friends to say about each other. Now he has to subdue himself and judge him to a scale of merit. This, indeed, is a great effort… However, if that person slanders him, where will his friend muster the strength to love him? He knows for certain that he hates him, or he would not be slandering him, so what is the point in subduing himself and judging him to a scale of merit?
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. For this reason, it makes no difference if the friend is slandering him and must certainly hate him. Instead, a person who wishes to acquire love of others, that person needs the correction of loving the other.
Therefore, when a person makes the effort and judges him to a scale of merit, it is a Segula [remedy/power/virtue], whereby the toil that a person makes, which is called “an awakening from below,” he is given strength from above to be able to love all the friends without exception.
This is a difficult question. The attitude of an individual toward society has different aspects. First, I must see the group in a perfect state at the end of correction and understand that “He who faults another does so through his own flaws.” So, I must see the friends as perfect, and, if I notice any flaws, it is a sign of my uncorrected attributes. I must constantly try to judge the friends to the scale of merit, and this shows me how I should correct myself and ask for the force of correction.
On the other hand, I must check what I can add to the society so that it will increase its influence on me—that it will lift my spirit, strengthen me, and make me feel secure. In order to do that, I need a critical perspective of the group so that I can see how it can be improved and where its wholeness is lacking. I constantly aspire to lift it, and, so, I must see it as imperfect at the moment so that I will have something to work on. I invest powers in the group so that it will grow strong and rise.
However, if you don’t refer to the attitude of an individual toward the society, but to the state of the society itself and its influence on all the friends, then the society must be strong enough to make everyone feel secure and keep each member on a certain height, to guide him and keep his spirit high so that he will not be able to fall. This is why we must see the true state of the society since we build it by ourselves, and we cannot settle for the idea that it is already in the world of Ein Sof (Infinity) in a perfectly corrected state.
We must see how we can lift the society so that it will lift us. In order to do that, I must exit myself, be incorporated in the society, and make sure that the poison of slander will not poison it, but that only the greatness of the goal and love for all, without exception, will reside in it. Then, this feeling and this support will pass on to each of the friends and obligate them to love each other in the same way.
There are different nuances according to the type of society, and whether it is a society of beginners or of more advanced students, a society of women, of men, or a mixed society. In each case, there are special relationships, but the two basic conditions are a person’s attitude toward a society which is perfect and the attitude toward a society that needs to be lifted in order to radiate this perfection back on us. As always, there are two, opposite poles to everything.
From the Preparation to the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 3/19/13