Mel Brooks has a line in one of his "Two thousand Year Old Man" routines where he is asked to define "tragedy."

"Say I was to cut my finger, well, that's tragic, terrible. It hurts! But if you were to trip over and drop dead on the spot, big deal, what do I care? It's not my problem!"

Contrast that to "Love your fellow as yourself; I am G‑d." (Leviticus 19:18). The verse demands one demonstrate love for another Jew equal to one's love of self. The blood trickling down your finger should be as tragically disturbing to me as when staunching my own wound, and the caring and consideration I demand for my own feelings I must demonstrate in my attitude to you.

How is it possible to truly love another as oneself? By remembering I am G‑d, equating the act of love for one's brethren to love of one's G‑d. The intrinsic soul connection of a Jew to his G‑d (demonstrated by the absolute refusal of even the most assimilated among us to consider abandoning Judaism completely) is replicated in the soul connection between Jews. To reject another Jew, is the equivalent of renouncing G‑d.

What Is Your Priority?

Draw a mental portrait of yourself (feel free to drop a few years and pounds). Now add to your picture a traditional Yemenite Jew replete with dark skin, curly peyos and long flowing caftan. Good, now go black and white: —a chassid in uniform. Whack in an Ethiopian, a big bellied, bum-bag toting, loud-mouthed American tourist, a kova tembel-ed Israeli farmer dancing a hora around his orange trees and a few other members of the tribe, of various appearances and persuasions. Now let me ask you, what "tribe"?

What earthly resemblance do any of these comic book characters have to you or your lifestyle? You share no language, cultural background, pigmentation or interests with any of the above. Yet they are family. Were, G‑d forbid, misfortune to befall them, the ties which bind us would elicit your immediate help and sympathy and, when needed, your voice would be raised in their defense just as quickly as would theirs in yours.

Think of your nuclear family. My affection for my siblings is absolute. We share bloodlines, parents and genes. Living on separate continents, with disparate interests and lifestyles, does not diminish that affinity, nor weaken those bonds.

Similarly between Jews; our differences are physical, our commonalities, spiritual. Superficially we may look dissimilar but our matching denominator is our common soul. The Jewish soul is an undifferentiated part of G‑d, untarnished and resolute, held in trust within us, the life force of our earthly existence. From a soul perspective we are more than brothers, we are identical twins, with a common father, G‑d.

When one's emphasis is the soul, one can truly achieve equality and harmony between all Jews. The identical spiritual DNA we carry is the code to our common destiny and the primary drive for the sense of love and kinship Jews bear for each other.