Even though it is still springtime, once Pesach is over many of us feel that summer is already in the air. Along with the warm weather and longer days come the lengthier Shabbos afternoons which give us more time for study. We study Pirkei Avos on these Shabbosos and according to Lubavitch custom, we continue our study on all the Shabbosos throughout the summer.

This week’s chapter of Pirkei Avos, ch. 2, teaches: Rabban Gamliel states “All Torah study that is not combined with work is not lasting.”

What does Rabban Gamliel mean when he says “work”?

The Baal Shem Tov explains that here “work” refers to one of the most important mitzvos in the Torah, one mentioned in this week’s parshahKedoshim.

This “work” is Ahavas Yisrael. When we have Ahavas Yisrael, we care about others and we want to share what we have. When we share what we have with others, HaShem blesses us with more.

Ahavas Yisrael makes our study of the Torah lasting. When a person shares his money with others, he is blessed with more, and he can study more Torah with ease and comfort. When a person shares his Torah knowledge with others, he is blessed with more understanding and he can study in more depth. In this way his Torah knowledge becomes lasting.

But why does the Baal Shem Tov say that the word “work” means Ahavas Yisrael? Is Ahavas Yisrael work like any job, occupation or business?

Yes! A person should busy and occupy himself with Ahavas Yisrael.

The Previous Rebbe explains that Ahavas Yisrael can be compared to doing business. A businessman who wants to sell his merchandise does not sit at home waiting for customers. He does not expect people to somehow find out that he has merchandise, to hear that his merchandise is good, and to come to his house to buy it. Instead, he opens up a store on a main street, he hangs up an attractive store sign, and he goes out of his way to advertise his merchandise wherever he can. He puts in much effort to find customers and sell his merchandise.

Like the businessman, every Jew should be active in the business of Ahavas Yisrael. We shouldn’t sit at home and wait until opportunities for Ahavas Yisrael come knocking at our door. We must make it our daily work and occupation, doing all that we can to care for others, reaching out and sharing what we have with them.

(Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. I, p. 260)