In the portion of Ki Teitzei, we read: “You should not see your brother’s donkey or his ox falling on the way and pretend as if you don’t see them. [Rather] you should pick up [the load] with him.”

The simple meaning here is to help someone in need.

On a deeper level, it is about seeing someone who has fallen spiritually.

What lessons can we take from here for helping pick up someone who has fallen spiritually? Many view those less observant than them negatively. They may ignore them or even worse, tell them off and denigrate them.

This is a terrible mistake and not the Torah way.

The first thing is to realize that he is your “brother,” not an enemy. Treat him with love and brotherhood.

The next thing is to realize that it is his animal that has fallen—not him. His neshamah is pristine. He is essentially holy and wants to be G‑d’s. It is only his “animal”—his circumstances, nature and upbringing that put him where he is today.

Then the Torah warns not to pretend that you don’t see him. This is not only hateful, but you will cause him to fall even further.

Finally, help pick up his load with him. Show him love, and you will lift his spirit and strengthen him. Then he will start to pick himself up, and you will only need to help.

Now, in the month of Elul, we must increase our love towards each other. Overcome and destroy the walls that divide us. Embrace your brother, sister or friend that you are at odds with. Let us enter the new year united. G‑d loves most when we are together.

Together, our prayers are powerful. Together, we will be granted a good year. Together, we will be given our greatest wish: He will send Moshiach and put an end to this painful, bitter exile.