Lesson 2: Arvut
1. The main root of the Arvut comes from behinat kabalat HaTorah (Receiving the Torah), when all Israel were Arevim (responsible) one for the other, and this is because in the root of the souls of Israel, all are considered as one, since they are drawn from the source of unity. Hence, all Israel were resposible one for the other at the time they received the Torah.
—Rabbi Natan of Breslev, Collections of Laws, “The Laws of Arvut,” #5
2. All Israel Arevim zeh LaZeh (are responsible one for another), meaning that their lights and livelihood intermingle in each other. Hence, we, the people of Israel, are commanded and obligated to literally keep the commandment ”Love your friend as yourself.”
—Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Witebsk, Pri Haaretz, “Letter 33”
3. When does creation find flavor with the Creator? When all Israel are bundled together, and there is no jealousy, hatred, and competition between them whatsoever, and each one of them thinks only about the correction and well-being of his friend. Then the Creator rejoices in His creation, as it is written, “The Creator rejoices in His works. And this explanation is in reference to “Love thy friend as thyself, I am the Creator,” to tell us that if one loves his friend as himself, then “I, the Creator, am in your midst and love both of you.”
—In Remembrance of Miriam, “Chapter 11”
4. And when one begins to feel the love of his friend, joy and pleasure immediately begin to awaken in him… His friend’s love for him is a new thing for him because he always knew that he was the only one who cared for his own well-being. But the minute he discovers that his friend cares for him, it evokes within him immeasurable joy, and he can no longer care for himself… 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”
5. One must always pray for his friend, because (praying) for himself it is not very effective, since ”one cannot free oneself from prison,” but his friend comes to his aid quickly. And so, each one should pray for his friend, this way one helps the other and both are helped. This is why it was said, “Israel Arevim (are responsible) one for the other.
—Rabbi Elimelech, Noam Elimelech, “Likutei Shoshana”
6. It is impossible to keep the Torah and Mitzvot without the Arvut, namely, when everyone becomes responsible for his friend, since the essence of keeping the Torah is in behinat haratzon (the will) in unity. Hence, all who desire to accept upon themselves the Torah and Mitzvot… must be included in the Assembly of Israel as one big collective. Hence, when (Israel) received the Torah they immediately became Arevim one for the other in order to be incorporated into one desire, so that they were all mutually accountable one for the other, since they were all equally important, and as one. And precisely when each were responsible for the other, which is behinat achdut (unity), they were able to keep the Torah. And without this (condition) it is impossible to keep the Torah in any way, since the essence of Torah and love is in the will, when each is content with his friend, and there is no variance between them—since all are incorporated into one desire, and thus they are able to be included in the upper will, which is the purpose of Unity.
—Rabbi Nathan of Breslev, Likutei Halachot, “Laws of Arvut, #5”
7. If six hundred thousand men abandon their work for the satisfaction of their own needs and worry about nothing but standing guard so their friends will never lack a thing, and moreover, that they will keep it with a mighty love, with their very heart and soul, in the full meaning of the Mitzva, “Love thy friend as thyself,” then it is beyond doubt that no man of the nation will need to worry about his own well-being.Because of that, he becomes completely free of securing his own survival and can easily keep the Mitzva, “Love thy friend as thyself.” After all, why would he worry about his own survival when six hundred thousand loyal lovers stand by, ready with great care to make sure he lacks nothing of his needs? Therefore, once all the members of the nation agreed, they were immediately given the Torah, because now they were capable of keeping it.
—Baal HaSulam, Matan Torah, #15
New Jersey Convention – “Completing The Circle” Preparation For Lesson 1