“You shall love your fellow like yourself.”

-Kedoshim 19:18

This is the eternal mitzvah of ahavat Yisrael, loving our fellow Jews, which Rabbi Akiva called “the great principle of the Torah.” It is also a mitzvah of which we are told that its fulfillment will bring about the Messianic redemption.

In the same context we are taught in Pirkei Avot 1:12: “Be of the disciples of Aaron: loving peace and pursuing peace, loving (G‑d’s) creatures and bringing them near to the Torah.”

It is certain that nowadays, as we are so close to the redemption from the galut which was caused by gratuitous hatred and discord, we have greatly improved in the observance of this mitzvah. At present, therefore, we have to move to a new level. During these last days of the galut we must try to experience a taste of the wondrous quality of ahavat Yisrael of the Messianic era, an absolute ahavat Yisrael of soul to soul, which transcends all trivial differences that cause strife.

When we shall now already live up to the “love of (G‑d’s) creatures,” as it will be with the coming of Moshiach, we shall also merit the “bringing them near to the Torah,” i.e., to the wondrous new insights in the Torah which Moshiach will teach the entire nation!