ומה שכתוב בגמרא שמי שרואה בחבירו שחטא, מצוה לשנאותו, וגם לומר לרבו שישנאהו
As for the Talmudic statement that if one sees his friend sinning, he should hate him, and should also relate the fact to his teacher so that he too will hate him, — how does this conform with what was said above?
היינו בחבירו בתורה ומצות
This applies only to one’s companion — one’s equal— in the study of Torah and the observance of the mitzvot.
The sinner in question is a Torah-observant scholar, but has lapsed in this one instance. In this case his sin is much more severe than usual, since it is written that even the inadvertent misdeeds of a scholar are as grave as deliberate sins. But even this general assumption of the gravity of his conduct is not sufficient cause to hate him, as the Alter Rebbe continues. Yet another condition must first be satisfied:
וכבר קיים בו מצות הוכח תוכיח את עמיתך, עם שאתך בתורה ובמצות, ואף על פי כן לא שב מחטאו, כמו שכתוב בספר חרדים
He has also fulfilled with him — with the sinner — the injunction, “You shall repeatedly rebuke your friend.” The word used here for “your friend” (עמיתך) also indicates, as the Talmud points out עם שאתך - “him who is on a par with you in the Torah and the mitzvot,” who nevertheless, has not repented of his sin, as it is written in Sefer Charedim.
At this point there is no need to exaggerate the gravity of his sin: it is clearly a deliberate transgression.
אבל מי שאינו חבירו, ואינו מקורב אצלו
But as to one who is not his companion — his equal — in the Torah and the mitzvot, so that (as our Sages say concerning the ignorant in general) even his deliberate transgressions are regarded as inadvertent acts, since he is unaware of the gravity of sin; nor is he on intimate terms with him; — not only is one not enjoined to hate him: on the contrary, he must in fact, strive to become closer to him, as the Alter Rebbe states shortly.
To hate such a sinner is surely unjustifiable, since no sin that he commits is considered deliberate. There is also no reason to keep one’s distance from him out of fear that he will learn from his evil ways (in fulfillment of the exhortation of the Mishnah, “Do not fraternize with a wicked man”), since he is not on close personal terms with him in any case.
הנה על זה אמר הלל הזקן: הוי מתלמידיו של אהרן, אוהב שלום וכו׳, אוהב את הבריות ומקרבן לתורה
Therefore, on the contrary: Of this situation Hillel said, “Be one of the disciples of Aharon, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving creatures and drawing them near to the Torah.”
לומר שאף הרחוקים מתורת ה׳ ועבודתו, ולכן נקראים בשם בריות בעלמא, צריך למשכן בחבלי עבותות אהבה
This usage of the term “creatures” in reference to human beings means that even those who are far from G‑d’s Torah and His service, for which reason they are classified simply as “creatures“ — indicating that the fact that they are G‑d’s creations is their sole virtue — even those one must attract with strong cords of love.
וכולי האי ואולי יוכל לקרבן לתורה ועבודת ה׳
Perhaps thereby one will be able, after all, to draw them close to the Torah and the service of G‑d.
והן לא, לא הפסיד שכר מצות אהבת ריעים
And even if one fails in this, he has not forfeited the merit of the mitzvah of neighborly love which he has fulfilled by his efforts in this direction.
וגם המקורבים אליו, והוכיחם ולא שבו מעונותיהם, שמצוה לשנאותם, מצוה לאהבם גם כן
Furthermore, even those whom one is enjoined to hate — for they are close to him, and he has rebuked them but they still have not repented of their sins — one is obliged to love them too.
But is it possible to love a person and hate him at the same time?
The Alter Rebbe explains that since the love and the hatred stem from two different causes, they do not conflict.
ושתיהן הן אמת: שנאה מצד הרע שבהם, ואהבה מצד בחינת הטוב הגנוז שבהם, שהוא ניצוץ אלקות שבתוכם, המחיה נפשם האלקית
And both the love and the hatred are truthful emotions in this case, [since] the hatred is on account of the evil within them, while the love is on account of the good hidden in them, which is the divine spark within them that animates their divine soul. For this spark of G‑dliness is present even in the most wicked of one’s fellow Jews; it is merely hidden.
One may now be faced with the anomaly of a fellow-Jew whom he must both love and hate. But what attitude should he adopt toward the person as a whole who possesses both these aspects of good and evil?
When, for example, the sinner requests a favor of him, should his hatred dictate his response, or his love?
The Alter Rebbe goes on to say that one’s relationship with the sinner as a whole should be guided by love. By arousing one’s compassion for him, one restricts one’s own hatred so that it is directed solely at the evil within the sinner, not at the person himself.
וגם לעורר רחמים בלבו עליה, כי היא בבחינת גלות בתוך הרע מסטרא אחרא הגובר עליה ברשעים
One must also arouse compassion on [the divine soul of the sinner], for in the case of the wicked it is in exile within the evil of the sitra achra which dominates it.
והרחמנות מבטלת השנאה ומעוררת האהבה, כנודע ממה שכתוב: ליעקב אשר פדה את אברהם
Compassion banishes hatred and arouses love — as is known from the verse, “Jacob, who redeemed Abraham.”
“Jacob” represents compassion, and “Abraham”, love. When “Abraham”, love, must be “redeemed”, i.e., brought out of concealment, it is “Jacob”, compassion, that accomplishes this redemption; for as said, compassion banishes hatred and arouses love.
ולא אמר דוד המלך עליו השלום: תכלית שנאה שנאתים וגו׳, אלא על המינים והאפיקורסים שאין להם חלק באלקי ישראל
(As for the statement by King David, peace upon him: “I hate them with a consummate hatred,” reserving no love for them whatsoever, this refers only to [Jewish] heretics and atheists who have no part in the G‑d of Israel,
כדאיתא בגמרא, ריש פרק ט״ז דשבת
as stated in the Talmud, beginning of ch. 16 of Tractate Shabbat.)
Any sinner who is not, however, a heretic, must not be hated with “a consummate hatred,” for the mitzvah of ahavat Yisrael embraces him as well.
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