Thursday, May 9, 2013

48 Ways: #32 - Love others


Pirkei Avot 6:5 teaches that Torah is acquired in 48 ways, which it lists for us. The thirty-second of the 48 is oheiv et habriyyot, to love others.

This item seems odd; why should love of others be a pre-requisite for success in Torah study? One could suggest that the student needs relationships with chavrutot, teachers and students in order to grow, but it is hard to include that within "love".

Perhaps the idea is that one who loves others will approach Torah in a special way, with a greater appreciation of its emphasis upon the needs of, and interactions of, humanity. One might imagine a misanthrope failing to understand, or relate to, the many mitzvot of social interaction, as well as the lives depicted in Tanach, and the anecdotes recorded biblically and rabbinically to teach us lessons. Only one who loves others, who is capable of embracing and seeking the welfare of other human beings will truly comprehend what is involved.

Have a great day,

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