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Ahavat Yisrael


Rabbi Moshe Leib Halberstadt

Kislev 14, 5770
Can you please help me understand the obligation of "Ahavat Yisrael’? Do I really have to love every single jew? What about Madoff? What is the Halachic obligation of the Mitzva?
A.The Mitzvah of Ahavat Yisrael includes the performative commandment of “Love your fellow Jew as yourself” and the prohibitive commandment of “Do not hate your brother in your heart”. B.This Mitzvah is the foundation of the entire Torah. C.The Mitzvah is to love every single Jew as you love yourself. D.The exceptions to the rule that it is permitted and a Mitzvah to hate are the heretics, the inciters, the instigators and the informers or an evil person who you saw violating a well-known sin and he rejected reproof. E.There is a difference of opinions among the Rishonim regarding a Rasha whom it is permitted and a Mitzvah to hate, whether the hatred is limited to the sin which he committed or he should be hated totally. It was decided Lehalachah like the opinion that it is a Mitzvah to hate him totally. F. In our days one should love and reach out to the Resha'im and it is prohibited to hate them, because they are considered like they were forced and like Tinokot Shenishbu [babies that were captured by the gentiles] since nowadays we don’t know to give proper reproof, and also due to the fact that there are very few righteous people who are completely free of sin and worthy of hating the Reshaim. G.The exception to this rule, who we should hate and quarrel with even in our days are the heretics who rebel against the Torah and try to sway the nation away from the will of Hashem. And even this is only after one tried speaking peacefully and was turned down. H.Even when it is clear that one should hate the Resha'im, he should be careful from the Musar point of view that the hatred should be for the sake of Heaven, to the proper degree, and should not have a bad influence on his character. [These are the conclusions based on my detailed essay on “Ahavat Yisrael”]
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