Lesson No. 4: Love of Friends
Love of Friends as the Condition for Ascending the Spiritual Ladder
1. “And the man asked him, saying: ‘What seekest thou?’” meaning, how can I help you? “And he said, ‘I seek my brethren.’” By being together with my brothers—in other words, by being in a group where there is love of friends—I will be able to mount the trail that leads to the house of God.
This trail is called a path of bestowal, and this way is against our nature. To be able to achieve it, there is no other way but by love of friends, by which everyone can help his friend.
—Writings of Rabash. “Love of Friends”
2. I have established for you conducts by which you still can hang on and not turn back, and the single, most special one about them is the adhesion of friends.
I sincerely promise that this love is able. Therefore, let me remind you that the validity of love of friends is in spite of everything at this time, for it is upon this that our right to exist depends, and upon this our imminent success is measured.
Hence, turn away from all the imaginary engagements, and set your hearts on thinking thoughts and devising proper tactics to truly connect your hearts as one so that the words, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” literally will come true in you, and you will be cleansed by the thought of love that will be covering all transgressions.
Test me in that, and begin to truly connect in love, and then you will “taste and see.”
—Writings of Baal HaSulam, “Letter No. 47”
3. When several friends gather together, each one has but a small amount of this power that is better to come out of self-love, but they do not have enough power and importance of bestowal to become independent and without outside help. Thus, all these individuals annul themselves one to another.
At least in theory, together, they will have the strength for love of the Creator, yet they are unable to carry it out. However, by each one joining the society and annulling themselves to the society, they create one body. If, let’s say, this body is made up of ten people, this body has ten times the strength of a single person.
This is on the condition that, when they come together, each one would think that he now is joining for the purpose of annulling his self-love—in other words, that he should not think about how to fulfill his own will, but rather, he should think as much as possible about the love of the friend. Only in this way is he able to receive the will and the need that is necessary to attain the new attribute called the will to bestow.
Thus, from the love of friends, he is able to get to the love of the Creator, in that his desire is to bestow contentment to the Creator. It follows that this is the only way by which he can gain the understanding that the matter of bestowal is so very important and necessary, and he is able to attain it only through the love of friends.
—Writings of Rabash, Vol 1, “Concerning the Love of Friends”
4. It is about time that we started moving forward toward our sacred goal like mighty, strong men. It is known that the paved road that leads to the goal is love of friends by which one shifts to love of the Creator, and in the matter of love, it is through “Buy yourself a friend.” In other words, through actions, one buys one’s friend’s heart, and even if he sees that his friend’s heart is like a stone, it is no excuse. If he feels that he is suitable to be his friend in the work, then he must buy him through deeds.
Each gift that he gives to his friend… is like a bullet that makes a hollow in the stone. Although the first bullet only scratches the stone, when the second bullet hits the same place, it makes a notch, and the third one makes a dent.
Through the bullets that he shoots repeatedly, the dent becomes a hollow in his friend’s heart of stone where all the presents gather, and each gift becomes a spark of love until all of the sparks of love accumulate in the hollow of the stony heart and become a flame.
The difference between a spark and a flame is that, where there is love, there is open disclosure—meaning a disclosure to all the peoples that the fire of love is burning in him—and the fire of love burns all of the transgressions one meets along the way.
—Writings of Rabash, Vol 2, “Letter No. 40”
5. And should you ask, “What can one do if he feels that he has a heart of stone toward his friend?”…
The advice is very simple: The nature of fire is that, when rubbing stones against each other, a fire starts…
Then, through the wearing out of the hearts, even of the strongest ones, each will bring out warmth from the walls of his heart, and the warmth will ignite the sparks of love until a clothing of love forms. Then, both of them will be covered under one blanket, meaning that a single love will surround and envelop the two of them, as it is known that
Dvekut [Adhesion] unites two into one.
When one begins to feel the love of his friend, joy and pleasure immediately begin to awaken in him, for the rule is that a novelty entertains. His friend’s love for him is a new thing because he always knew that he was the only one who cared for his own well-being.
However, the minute that he discovers that his friend cares for him, it evokes within him immeasurable joy, and he no longer can care for himself since man can toil only where he feels pleasure, and since he is beginning to feel pleasure in caring for his friend, he naturally cannot think of himself.
—Writings of Rabash, Vol 2, “Letter No. 40”
6. Wisdom and insight into how to serve the Creator comes through the unification between us, in the love of friends … to be connected one with the other in love and in a single heart, and to serve the Creator in unity … and we must unite one with the other and be locked into each other’s heart and become “one bundle” to serve the Creator with a whole heart.
—Maor VaShemesh (Light and Sun), “The Secrets of Rosh Hashanah”
7. “The Creator is One, and Israel are one”, and therefore they are adhered to the Creator because it is pleasing to be adhered one with the other, and when will that be? When Israel is assembled and adhered in perfect unity, they are considered as one, and the Creator dwells among them, who is One. This is the meaning of the verse, “And you are adhered,” that you are adhered to each one and grip to each other.
Then, through the help of the Creator, you will be adhered one with the other, and the Creator will dwell among you, which is, “You are all alive” when you are united as one. Thus, it is good and pleasant to be adhered one with the other, and the Creator dwells in their midst as One.
—Moshe Chaim Ephraim, “Banner over the Camp of Ephraim,” Parashat VaEtchanan
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