There are many mitzvahs in the portion of Kedoshim, but one stands out of the pack as a central pillar of Judaism. This is the mitzvah to love your fellow Jew. In the Torah’s words, “And you should love your fellow as yourself.” Rabbi Akiva says, “This is a great principle in the Torah.”

How does one love every Jew, even those never met? It’s hard enough to like the ones you know, never mind loving the ones you don’t. Why does the Torah have to add the words “as yourself”? The commandment could have been “and you should love your fellow.” What can we learn from the words “as yourself”?

These words teach us that to love your fellow, first you need to love yourself. How does loving yourself help you love somebody else?

In order to love yourself, you need to understand who and what you are. Being a Jew means that at your essence, there is a neshamah that is truly a part of G‑d. When you think about this, you realize how amazing you are, and that you are one with G‑d. You realize that you must be capable of doing great things. You start to love yourself.

Now, if you realize that your neshamah and your fellow’s neshamah are one, then loving him is equal to loving yourself. The more in tune you are with your neshamah, the more your love for other Jews grows. Regardless of their differences, you love them because you are tuned to their essence.

This is why every Jew felt loved when he or she came to the Rebbe because the Rebbe was truly in tune with his neshamah, and therefore with yours as well.

It was due to a lack of this love that the Holy Temple was destroyed, and it will take love to have it rebuilt. This is a key aspect to bringing Moshiach.

We desperately need Moshiach. We are all suffering in one way or another in exile, and it’s time for it to end.

It is unbelievable how small and petty differences drive us apart. It’s time to get past our trifling differences and show love to our fellow Jews. You will also be surprised how a show of love will be reciprocated.

It seems that the ones closest to us pose the greatest challenge of all: This one doesn’t talk to her mother, that one doesn’t talk to his brother, etc.

When I was diagnosed with ALS, it was sobering. It became clear to me what is really important. It was clear that family is more important than the senseless arguments. It was clear that external differences are petty. It was clear that we need to unite, and that united, we will bring Moshiach.