Every so often I have the privilege of being home for bedtime, which usually includes a story—often from the Talmud.
My four-year-old’s favorite character is the famous first-century sage Hillel, who is famous for spending a snowy night on the roof of his yeshivah, where he had climbed up to hear the Torah conversations inside. Other stories describe his patience, love and concern for others.
In this week’s Torah portion, Kedoshim, we have the commandment “Love your fellow as yourself.” Rabbi Akiva comments that “this is a great principle of the Torah.”
This echoes a famous statement of Hillel’s, “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah.”
Hillel and Rabbi Akiva summarized the Torah to its essence. God wants His children to love each other.
The statements are quite different (and according to Rashi, unrelated), but the message is clear: keeping Shabbat, eating matzah, laying tefillin—while truly important mitzvahs—are dwarfed by how we treat others.
What better time is there to be able to apply this than after the lessons of humility from matzah, followed by the introspection of the Sefirat HaOmer?
Share these stories with your kids. But more than that—let’s be the role models that they can emulate.
on behalf of the Chabad.org Editorial Team
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