of love and not giving

A Simple Jew posed a question which started a discussion.. ...I think the question creates confusion and that's why the answer isn't simple:
People are truly icebergs, and learning how do deal with different personalities can be extremely complicated at times. When the tactic of "killing a person with kindness" does not seem to be effective, we may try the opposite approach and ignore the person or give them the silent treatment. Sometimes, however, this too does not work and herein lies our dilemma.

If we are overly nice to the person, inside we feel that we are being phony and hypocritical since our words do not truly represent our inner thoughts. Yet, when we take the opposite approach we feel that we are being to harsh and know that this is not the proper way for us to behave. It pains us a hundred-fold if the person we are dealing with is a fellow Jew because it points out how deficient our Ahavas Yisroel is.
Let's start with what Ahavat Yisrael isn't:
  1. it isn't getting someone to like you.
  2. it isn't doing good things to someone else.
  3. it isn't being authentic with someone.
Ahavat Yisrael is loving your fellow Jew. When you see that person, you have to [work towards] feel[ing] love for that person. Sometimes you love someone and the right expression of that love is to give them distance. Sometimes the right expression is to give them a hug. Sometimes you love someone and it makes you sad, sometimes it makes you happy, sometimes it's upsetting. But, the point is, don't confuse potential results of that love you harbor for them, or potential forms of expression of that love with the love itself. The ikar, the essence, is to get to a place where you love them.

Remember (Pirkei Avot) love that is dependent on anything at all is not a lasting love. Ahavat Yisrael is to love your fellow Jew for no reason at all. It isn't predicated on or limited to any act or personality trait of that person. [I discussed this in a previous post about achieving ahavat yisrael and teshuvah m'toch ahavah via recognising HaShem's love for us--something advocated by the Tanya]


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