Turned Off By Others [#2523]

Question:

In our generation, we can find evil [character] even amongst the most G-d fearing people. The general atmosphere in our society today reeks of people who are full of jealousy, desires, and honor-seeking. No one opens his mouth to speak out against this, and this makes me very angry inside, to the point that I am heartbroken over this. What is the proper perspective on how one can gain a more positive outlook about this generation?

Answer:

Firstly, when one has ahavas Yisrael (love for other Jews) in his heart, his mind can easily change its perspective on the situation. But when a person is missing love for other Jews, he can only become intellectually aware of the following perspective, but it will be most difficult for him to truly absorb it: When one has love for others, the love covers over others’ faults. Love has a blinding effect on a person – when a person loves another, he won’t see the faults of the other person. For example, Yitzchok Avinu didn’t see the faulty character of Esav, because he had a great love for Esav. Even when a person is aware that the other has faults, if he loves the other, he will not think about the faults, as it says in the verse, “Sin cannot be seen in Yaakov, exertion cannot be seen in Yisrael, for Hashem his G-d is with him.” When there is a friendship and a cherishing of the other person, the faults of the other are not seen. And even if one does see faults in the person he loves, he will not attribute it to the free will of the other person, and instead he will attribute it to Hashem’s orchestration of the world.

Ultimately, though, we still have a physical body, which is not able to love, and which is not able to desire unity with the world. Therefore, being that every person has a body, which cannot relate to loving others, every person will suffer to some degree, when he notices faults in others and he recoils from what he sees. Therefore, one needs to accept this suffering with love. This suffering itself purifies one’s body and heart. This is how a person can join with the pain of the Shechinah, for being in exile affects us not only regarding the place we are in, but mainly regarding our souls: the fact that the Jewish people, the “children” of Hashem, have fallen from their lofty spiritual level.