All You Need is Love

When discussing revenges and grudges in the chapter on Cleanliness (Nekiyus), the Mesillas Yesharim says that the Yetzer Hara inflames the heart of a person about past wrongs done to him. This makes it very difficult to totally forgive a person. Therefore the Torah comes immediately after the verse prohibiting revenge and bearing a grudge with the all-encompassing rule of “You shall love your fellow as yourself”. As yourself with no differences, with no distinctions, exactly as yourself.

If we focus on loving people and connecting to them in our actions and in our hearts, we can accept the imperfections and mistakes of others. Shuls provide many opportunities to put this Torah principle into action. On occasion a phone will go off during a shiur or during davening. Most people refrain from saying something, but perhaps a fleeting thought questioning the person’s technical prowess enters the mind. The solution to overcome any negative thoughts is to love this fellow Jew. Even to the point of feeling his embarassment over the small disturbance the phone created.

We can take this principle a step further and apply it to the father with the crying baby. We can change “What was he thinking?”, to “Most of the time babies behave in Shul”. We know that this is not easy, as the Ramchal said, our natural inclination is be negative and judge and react infavorably towards people. Thankfully we have the Torah which gives us the rules and the tools to use these challenges to become bigger.

Elul is starting and we can use these small interpersonal disturbances as growth opportunities in preparation for the day when Hashem will judge us for our shortcomings. In the words of a modern day poet – “All you need is love”.