We have an obligation to love Hashem and to love our fellow Jews. Whom do we have to love more, G-d or man?
You have to love Hakadosh Baruch Hu b’chol livavcha, with all your heart so that leaves no space for any competition. Only that Hakodosh Boruch Hu says that you have to obey Him and you have to love your fellow Jews – and by doing that, you are loving Hashem. Part of loving Hashem with all your heart is loving your fellow Jew. If a person however forgets about Hashem and he thinks he’ll concentrate with all his heart on loving his fellow man, that man is wasting his life.
Now, it’s a great thing to love your fellow man – but that’s only if you do it in the service of Hashem. If you do it because you love Hashem, then you’re living successfully. And therefore there’s no question about the answer: ואהבת את השם אלוקיך בכל לבבך – You have to love Hashem with all your heart means that there’s no room for anything else.
The Chofetz Chaim we are told was a very kindly man. He went out of his way to help people. But he wasn’t exceptional in inviting people to his home. He used to help people find places to stay. He used to pay money to support them when they were visiting in his town. He paid for their lodging, for their food. But to take people into his home, he didn’t do that if someone else could do it – he wasn’t so generous. And somebody explained that this was because he didn’t want to divide his loyalties to Hashem. He couldn’t be a crony, he couldn’t sit around all evening talking with his guests. He used to spend his time studying the Torah or even in solitude with Hakodosh Boruch Hu.
A man who is in love with Hashem can’t share his time freely with other people. And so although the Chofetz Chaim’s heart was in gemilas chassadim – he was instrumental in founding free loan societies everywhere. He was busy helping poor brides and poor yeshiva men. He gave advice to everyone; he was available for all those in need. He did all the good deeds that you can imagine. And yet he didn’t spend much time with other people; if he could avoid being a crony and hanging around together with people, that’s what he did. Because to do otherwise detracted from his loyalty, his allegiance and his clinging to Hashem. And בכל לבבך means with all your heart, with no divided loyalties.
TAPE # 555