How does one train himself to truly love Jews?
It’s not a simple question. But the first function is to pick out one Jew and to learn to love that one Jew. Pick out somebody who won’t be too much of a trial, someone who will be easier to love – a nice, good-looking Jew; clean and polite and friendly to you. And then get busy loving him.
Don’t just react like an animal. An animal also reacts pleasantly to somebody who is nice to him. Practice loving him because he’s a Jew, not because he’s nice looking or friendly. “Look at this beautiful descendant of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov,” you say to yourself, “this beautiful member of the am kadosh.” And little by little get into your head that you’re loving him because it’s a mitzvah of the Torah, ve’ahavta le’reiacha kamocha. After a while you’ll start loving him and then when you start loving one Jew well, now you can already graduate and love two Jews. And after a while it begins to spread.
It’s not my idea by the way. I heard this from an adam gadol. Fifty years ago he told it to me. That’s how I started loving Jews. Pick somebody and work on him.
Our sages worked that way. Anybody who came along, they called him “Bni, my son,” or “Biti, my daughter,” in order to accustom themselves to love this person like they love their own child.
Now, that’s the wonderful thing of being a parent. A parent has a fountain of love that opens up in him towards his children. There are a lot of people who didn’t love anybody until they had children. Then they began to really love with a deep-seated affection. Now once you love your own children then sometimes your children bring their playmates into the house; a little boy brings little boys in. So you think, “They’re also beloved by their parents,” and the affection can spread to others.
That’s the system of learning how to love Jews.
TAPE # 482 (November 1983)