Since every Jew has a divine soul, and since the commandment to love one’s fellow is based on the essential unity of the souls, it follows that this commandment applies to every Jew without exception. In fact, however, we find the Talmud exhorting us to hate certain fellow Jews. How do we reconcile these apparently contradictory requirements? The Alter Rebbe proceeds to clarify:

As for the Talmudic statement8 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?

וּמַה שֶּׁכָּתוּב בַּגְּמָרָא, שֶׁמִּי שֶׁרוֹאֶה בַּחֲבֵירוֹ שֶׁחָטָא – מִצְוָה לִשְׂנֹאותוֹ, וְגַם לוֹמַר לְרַבּוֹ שֶׁיִּשְׂנָאֵהוּ.

This applies only to one’s companion—one’s equal—in the study of Torah and the observance of the mitzvot.

הַיְינוּ – בַּחֲבֵירוֹ בְּתוֹרָה וּמִצְוֹת,

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.9 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:

He has also fulfilled with him—with the sinner—the injunction, “You shall repeatedly rebuke your friend.”10 The word used here for “your friend” (עֲמִיתֶךָ) also indicates, as the Talmud points out, עַם שֶׁאִתְּךָ“he who is on a par with you in the Torah and the mitzvot,”11 who, nevertheless, has not repented of his sin, as it is written in Sefer Charedim.

וּכְבָר קִיֵּים בּוֹ מִצְוַת "הוֹכֵחַ תּוֹכִיחַ אֶת עֲמִיתֶךָ" – עַם שֶׁאִתְּךָ בְּתוֹרָה וּבְמִצְוֹת, וְאַף־עַל־פִּי־כֵן לֹא שָׁב מֵחֶטְאוֹ, כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּסֵפֶר חֲרֵדִים.

At this point, there is no need to exaggerate the gravity of his sin: it is clearly a deliberate transgression.

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.

אֲבָל מִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ חֲבֵירוֹ וְאֵינוֹ מְקוֹרָב אֶצְלוֹ,

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.

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.”12

הִנֵּה עַל זֶה אָמַר הִלֵּל הַזָּקֵן: "הֱוֵי מִתַּלְמִידָיו שֶׁל אַהֲרֹן, אוֹהֵב שָׁלוֹם וְכוּ', אוֹהֵב אֶת הַבְּרִיּוֹת וּמְקָרְבָן לַתּוֹרָה".

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.

לוֹמַר, שֶׁאַף הָרְחוֹקִים מִתּוֹרַת ה' וַעֲבוֹדָתוֹ, וְלָכֵן נִקְרָאִים בְּשֵׁם "בְּרִיּוֹת" בְּעָלְמָא – צָרִיךְ לְמָשְׁכָן בְּחַבְלֵי עֲבוֹתוֹת אַהֲבָה,

Perhaps thereby one will be able, after all, to draw them close to the Torah and the service of G-d.

וְכוּלֵּי הַאי וְאוּלַי יוּכַל לְקָרְבָן לְתוֹרָה וַעֲבוֹדַת ה';

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.

וְהֵן לָא – לֹא הִפְסִיד שְׂכַר מִצְוַת אַהֲבַת רֵיעִים.

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.

וְגַם הַמְקוֹרָבִים אֵלָיו וְהוֹכִיחָם וְלֹא שָׁבוּ מֵעֲוֹנוֹתֵיהֶם שֶׁמִּצְוָה לִשְׂנֹאותָם – מִצְוָה לְאָהֳבָם גַּם כֵּן.

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.

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.

וּשְׁתֵּיהֶן הֵן אֱמֶת: שִׂנְאָה – מִצַּד הָרָע שֶׁבָּהֶם, וְאַהֲבָה – מִצַּד בְּחִינַת הַטּוֹב הַגָּנוּז שֶׁבָּהֶם, שֶׁהוּא נִיצוֹץ אֱלֹקוּת שֶׁבְּתוֹכָם הַמְחַיֶּה נַפְשָׁם הָאֱלֹקִית.

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.

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 achara, which dominates it.

וְגַם, לְעוֹרֵר רַחֲמִים בְּלִבּוֹ עָלֶיהָ, כִּי הִיא בִּבְחִינַת גָּלוּת בְּתוֹךְ הָרָע מִסִּטְרָא אָחֳרָא הַגּוֹבֵר עָלֶיהָ בָּרְשָׁעִים,

Compassion banishes hatred and arouses love, as is known from the verse, “Jacob, who redeemed Abraham.”13

וְהָרַחֲמָנוּת – מְבַטֶּלֶת הַשִּׂנְאָה וּמְעוֹרֶרֶת הָאַהֲבָה, כַּנּוֹדָע מִמַּה שֶּׁכָּתוּב: לְ"יַעֲקֹב אֲשֶׁר פָּדָה אֶת אַבְרָהָם"

“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.

(14As for the statement by King David, peace upon him: “I hate them with a consummate hatred,”15 reserving no love for them whatsoever; this refers only to [Jewish] heretics and atheists who have no part in the G-d of Israel,

[וְלֹא אָמַר דָּוִד הַמֶּלֶךְ עָלָיו הַשָּׁלוֹם: "תַּכְלִית שִׂנְאָה שְׂנֵאתִים וְגוֹ'", אֶלָּא עַל הַמִּינִים וְהָאֶפִּיקוֹרְסִים, שֶׁאֵין לָהֶם חֵלֶק בֵּאלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל,

as stated in the Talmud, beginning of ch. 16 of Tractate Shabbat.)

כִּדְאִיתָא בַּגְּמָרָא רֵישׁ פֶּרֶק ט"ז דְּשַׁבָּת]:

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.