The Commandment to Love

A disciple asked Rabbi Shmelke: “We are commanded to love our neighbour as ourself. How can I do this if my neighbour has wronged me?”

The rabbi answered: “You must understand these words aright.  Love your neighbour like something which you yourself are.  For all souls are one.  Each is a spark from the original soul, and this soul is wholly inherent in all souls, just as your soul is in all the members of your body.  It may come to pass that your hand makes a mistake and it strikes you.  But would you then take a stick and chastise your hand, because it lacked understanding, and so increase your pain?  It is the same if your neighbour, who is of one soul with you, wrongs you for lack of understanding.  If you punish him, you only hurt yourself.”

The disciple went on asking, “But if I see a man who is wicked before God, how can I love him?”

“Don’t you know,” said Rabbi Shmelke, “that the original soul came out of the essence of God, and that every human soul is a part of God? And will you have no mercy on him, when you see that one of his holy sparks has been lost in a maze and is almost stifled?”

Tales of the Hasidim  — The Early Masters
Martin Buber

One Reply to “The Commandment to Love”

  1. Nur Al Alam

    Thank you Nawab for giving such a beautiful perspective in making us understand “commandment of Love”. We are all One and each human being is part of the One, just the same way, as we each individual are one with our own limbs and organs. We can not hate our limbs or organs even if they can be sick or out of tune sometimes, rather we treat them with love to bring back the harmony of one soul.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.