Answer: In Hebrew, there are two terms: a “comrade, companion” (Haver) and a “friend” (Yedid). But a “friend” is a buddy, a pal, while the word “companion” is derived from the Hebrew word “Hibur” or connection, link.
Question: Why is it said, “And you shall love your neighbor” (Leviticus 19:18), meaning that one shall love the other and not the “companion, comrade”?
Answer: This is because a comrade or companion is someone who is close to you ideologically. In Hebrew there are many synonyms for the word “friend,” which are used according to one’s relationship with another person.
“Hibur” (connection) is above them all, it expresses a mutual aspiration towards the goal for the sake of which two people connect with each other. “Neighbor” is a person who is not particularly close to you, but you have a particular connection with him. The “other” is someone outside of your ego whom you want to draw closer to yourself. A “friend” is a pal, a buddy, and there is also an acquaintance (“Mekir” in Hebrew).
All of these words as if illuminate the level of closeness between you and another person. The wisdom of Kabbalah is a unique language, everything that relates to the spiritual ascent of a person is divided into thousands of levels, and everything else is not.
Comment: But Rabbi Akiva in his famous saying, “And you shall love your neighbor as yourself” used the word “neighbor” and not the word “companion, comrade.”
Answer: Once you love a person he can already be called a “companion, comrade” for this is a higher level.
Question: What is the meaning of the saying, “And you shall love your neighbor as yourself”?
Answer: To the same degree that my ego loves itself, I must rise above it to love the other.
From KabTV’s lesson in Russian 12/11/16