Ahavas Yisrael: Start Loving Or Stop Hating? [#14592]

August 19, 2021


If a person unfortunately feels a lot of hatred for others, and he hates anyone who disagrees with his views, etc. and now he wants to work on ahavas Yisrael (loving a Jew), can he work simultaneously on removing his hatred as well as on increasing his love for other Jews? Or does he first need to remove his hatred and only after that he can awaken in himself a love for other Jews?


The Rambam (Hilchos De’os 2:2) describes the way of fixing character faults: “What is the way for them to be healed? If one has an angry temperament, we tell him that if someone strikes him or curses him, he shouldn’t feel any excitement towards the other. Have him practice this for a long time, until the anger is uprooted from his heart.” The same rule applies to fixing all negative traits: if one is at one extreme, he needs to go to the other extreme, and behave like this for a long time, until he eventually returns to the good path, which is the “middle point” between the two extremes of each character trait.
With regards to the issue you are asking about, hatred – since the opposite of hatred is love, the way to heal the negative hatred is by working on acquiring love [for another Jew].
However, if you find this impossible to do, you can first keep your focus on ridding yourself from hatred, and along with this, you should also try to work a little bit on loving another Jew.