Talmud Yerushalmi, N’darim 9:4 – Rabbi Akiva taught: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). This is the most important rule in the Torah.

The extent to which this is a fundamental rule of the Torah is illustrated by the following story in the Talmud (Shabbos 31a). A gentile approached Shamai and said to him: “Convert me; but teach me the entire Torah as I stand on one foot.” Shamai, feeling that he wasn’t serious, chased him away. This gentile then approached Hillel with the same offer/request but was met with a very different reaction: Hillel agreed. The entire Torah on one foot that Hillel taught him was: “That which you hate, don’t do to others [a paraphrase of the command to love your neighbor]. That is the entire Torah,” Hillel told him. “The rest is simply an explanation. Go and learn it!”

According to Rabbi Akiva, the mitzvah of “Love your neighbor as yourself” is the Fundamental Rule of the Torah! The rest [of the Torah], said Hillel (Shabbos 31a), is merely an explanation [of this mitzvah].

The more people understand and follow V’ahavta l’rei’acha kamocha, the more good there will be in the world and the sooner Mashiach will come.

One way we can demonstrate this mitzvah is by going out of our way to act favorably towards fellow Jews. Our Sages teach us that when we pray for others, Hashem will then act favorably and mercifully towards us and answer our prayers.

Throughout your life, if you are ever unsure about how to handle a problem with another person, ask: “Am I loving this person as myself?” or “Would I like it if he/she was doing to me what I am doing to him/her?”

Let us attempt to develop appropriate levels of love and honor towards all Jews in general, and towards spouses, parents, teachers, and students, in particular. In this z’chus, may we merit a true commemoration of kabalas haTorah and the hastening of our ultimate redemption.

List of People Who Need a r’fuah sh’leimah (a complete recovery)

Please recite Psalms 20, 30, 88, 121, and 130.

 

Yonasan ben Sigalit

David ben Sarah

Yaakov ben Simchah

Eliyahu ben Margalit

Yitzchak ben Mazal

Yitzchak Chaim ben Sarah

Yosef ben Nosrat

Moshe ben Mazal

Mordechai ben Chanah

Shlomo ben Miriam

Yosef ben Renee

Nesanel ben Miriam

Ariel ben Sarah

Chaim Yonah ben Ilana

Ovadiah ben Avraham

Tinok ben Yocheved

Michael Chayim ben Ilanit

Chai Yitzchak ben Esther Rivkah

Shalom ben Tofucha Malkah

Fredel bas Hendil

Rachel Leah bas Esther

Adele bas Sarah

Ava bas Ilana Esther

Sonia bas Rachel

Tovah Yocheved bas Esther Bukas

Ruchama Perel Malkah Leah bas Chanah Serel

Esther Hadasah bas Devorah

Ora bas Naomi

Miriam bas Rivkah

Elka Rachel bas Sarah Malkah

Lielle Devorah bas Esther

Blume bas Esthel Rivkah

Tziporah bas Fruma

Miryam bas Sarah

Shalvah bas Sarah

Ahavah Chayah bas Neda

To add names of individuals who need a r’fuah sh’leimah to next week’s T’hilim column, please email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  and complete the Google form.

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