From the book, The Essential Secret of the Jews, M. Brushtein.
The Paradox of Love
And in spite of it all, what did Abraham mean by the words, “Love your neighbor as yourself”?
We want to be convinced that we are not making an elephant out of a fly. It could be that one doesn’t have to search for any law of nature. It is simply necessary to follow this egoistic principle and everyone will be happy. It is simply necessary to be more diligent and that’s it.
The problem is that it is fundamentally impossible to maintain the Mitzvah (precept) of Abraham. It was impossible then, when it appeared, it was impossible after that, and it is impossible even now. Can you convince yourselves that it is possible?
“…we were commanded: “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” The word “thyself” tells us, love your neighbor 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.” (From the book, Matan Torah (The Giving of the Torah)”).
Isn’t this enough? Good, so let’s add another quotation from that source.
“…when sometimes he has but one pillow, if he lies on it himself and does not give it to his slave, he does not observe ‘because he is happy with thee,’ for he is lying on a pillow and the slave, on the ground. And if he does not lie on it, and does not give it to the slave, as well, it is Sodomite rule.”
It is found that unwillingly he must give it over to his slave. And the master himself lies on the ground.
It is difficult to believe that an optimistic person could be found who would begin to convince someone to be ready to carry out this Mitzvah fully. This is especially so when talking about an entire people. This amounts to a paradox. On the one hand, we are not ready to maintain the Mitzvah, “Love your neighbor as yourself”; whereas on the other hand, somehow this was successful for the Jewish people. There was a time….