Geulah

Ahavas Yisrael will bring the future Redemption.1 The reason for the exile is baseless hatred,2 and ahavas Yisrael — love for no reason — love even for those in whom one sees no reason to love, and even for those who possess no mitzvos,3 will bring Mashiach.4

“Love for no reason” means loving another even if one does not “owe” him anything, and even in a case where the halachic parameters of the mitzvah “love your fellow as yourself” do not obligate love. True love for no reason exists when even the animal soul agrees that this is love for no reason.5

Although the Rambam writes that one should always take the moderate path, in this matter one must take “love for no reason” to an extreme. Even after one has made great efforts to find merit in another and has failed, one should still have ahavas Yisrael beyond any calculations. This is true love for no reason.6

All of Israel7 have an equal obligation to make the utmost effort to remove any baseless hatred from our midst, G‑d forbid, and to replace it with love for no reason.

It is written in the book of Rus that “Yishai gave birth to David.” The Rebbe explains that “Yishai” is a composite of three letters: Yud, Shin, Yud. This can also stand for the words yachad shivtei Yisrael, meaning “together all the tribes of Israel.” The verse can therefore be interpreted to mean that when all the Tribes of Israel are together with ahavas Yisrael, this gives birth to David, King Mashiach.8

Mashiach

Every Jew possesses a spark of the soul of Mashiach,9 as is hinted in the verse:10 “A star shall shoot forth from Yaakov” which is a reference both to Mashiach11 and to every Jew.12 This spark is the level of yechidah13 of the soul of the Jew which is also the spark of the general yechidah, the soul of Mashiach.14 This level of the soul stands above all divisions and transcends all levels. By revealing the yechidah level of every Jew, one hastens the revelation of the general yechidah, i.e., the revelation of Mashiach. Ahavas Yisrael reveals the yechidah.

In this light it must be emphasized that the connection between ahavas Yisrael and the Geulah is not only that ahavas Yisrael removes the cause of the exile (the opposite of ahavas Yisrael), but rather, since we are now at the stage in which we have completed our avodah that needed to be done throughout the duration of the exile: we have already traveled the forty two journeys through the “desert of the nations”15 and we are already standing by the “River Jordan” — the level of Mashiach of “Morach Vadain,”16 on the brink of Redemption, then most definitely the cause of the exile has already17 been rectified and therefore the emphasis on ahavas Yisrael is as a taste and even the beginning of the true and complete Redemption which is connected with the unity of Jews as it stands above all division, as underlined in Jewish unity at the level of yechidah — the spark of Mashiach.

The New Torah of Mashiach

Just as unity and ahavas Yisrael was a preparation for the giving of the Torah, so is ahavas Yisrael the preparation for the “new Torah” which will issue from Mashiach.18 When saying, “I accept upon myself the mitzvah of ‘Love your fellow as yourself’” every morning, one should have in mind the saying of the Rambam that, “I anxiously await Mashiach’s arrival every day” and that through ahavas Yisrael one will merit the Torah of Mashiach.19

In this light, the saying of Hillel, “Love the creations and draw them near to the Torah” takes on a new meaning: draw them near to learn the new Torah of Mashiach — the esoteric dimension.20

The mitzvah of ahavas Yisrael will apply in full even after Mashiach comes. In that era, the obligation will be to bring every Jew to perfection in living a Torah life.21

Pinchas, Eliyahu, and Ahavas Yisrael

Pinchas was known for his zealousness in the killing of Zimri. The Sages teach22 that Pinchas and Eliyahu possessed the same soul. Eliyahu was also famed for his being jealous for G‑d, as it says: “I was exceedingly jealous for the L‑rd G‑d of Hosts.”23 It was for this reason that G‑d gave Pinchas “My covenant, peace,” i.e., that Eliyahu/Pinchas should be present at every bris milah (circumcision) to prove to him that Jews are not as bad as he thought. The outcome is that his jealousy for G‑d was transformed into ahavas Yisrael: he looks only at the merit of the Jews and therefore he merits to be the harbinger of the Redemption.

Eliyahu was a student of Achiyah HaShiloni who was the spiritual mentor of the Baal Shem Tov.24 The Baal Shem Tov and all the Rebbeim after him also conducted themselves with great ahavas Yisrael and through their ahavas Yisrael will we merit Eliyahu to announce the Redemption.

It is imperative to have ahavas Yisrael for all types of Jews, even for the most simple of Jews, which, apart from the fact that simple Jews are held with great affection by G‑d — like a child by his father — they also have the essential advantage of simplicity. Jealousy for G‑d has a place: to be used on oneself, but not on another.25