The Torah teaches: “Do not hate your brother in your heart; reprove your fellow man.... Do not take revenge and do not bear a grudge.... Love your fellowman as yourself.”

Clearly, “Love your fellowman as yourself” is not commanded in the idyllic expectation that no negative feelings will ever arise between one person and another, but in a setting where there is a possibility for hatred and bearing a grudge and yet one doesn’t.

What will prevent such negative feelings from arising? Firstly, the fundamental spiritual unity that ties all men together. One can “love his fellowman as himself,” because essentially, there is no difference between them. We all share the same spiritual essence.

But the passage does not merely rely on lofty spiritual principles. It also suggests an approach that will actually prevent those feelings from affecting our conduct, namely: “Do not hate your brother in your heart; reprove your fellow man.” Negative feelings that are kept in a person’s heart will inevitably breed further negativity. If a person is not at peace with another person in his heart, there is no way that he or she can show genuine love or care for them. Seemingly, any kindness that will be shown will be a sham, an external act without any genuine feeling. Our Sages were extremely critical of people who “say one thing with their mouths and feel another in their hearts,” for integrity lies at the core of all fruitful communication between people.

On the other hand, confronting negativity with negativity is also not desirable. There is no way to fight dirty people without getting soiled somewhat oneself. Moreover, the Torah’s ways are “pleasant ways and all its path are peace.” That’s the way we want our lives to be.

And yet to ignore negativity is also hard. Because it continues to come up and interfere with the positive things that we want do.

Therefore the Torah teaches: “Don’t hold hatred in your heart,” confront the person who disturbed you. Tell him what your feelings are, seek an explanation and work things out. Don’t ignore the provocation and let the ill feelings simmer, but also, don’t respond with rage.

Patiently, talk to the other person. See his or her perspective. Talking straightforwardly to each other will enable the differences to be straightened out and make it possible for the inner love that Jews share to surface.

Looking to the Horizon

What enables people with different perspectives to come together? The realization of truth and purpose that surpasses their own identity. When a person’s selfhood is dwarfed by his realization of a greater goal, he is able to come together with another person even though that person sees the world differently. And as the two work together, they will see that their differences complement and enhance each other, rather than conflict with their self-expression.

Mashiach’s coming will introduce an era when “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of G‑d.” Everyone will be humbled as they reach these levels of awareness. In that state, they will be able to extend themselves to others and join together in unity.