Baseless Love

Written by Rabbi Yehoshua Alt, 1/8/2019

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Baseless Love

The חורבן was caused by שנאת חנם.[1] Consequently, the word חורבן is composed of the same letters that spell חברון, a place of connection to Hashem.[2] This is shown in the word חברון, as it is rooted in חיבור; to connect. We must see others as a חבר; friend, and connect to them- חיבור.

 

To combat שנאת חנם, we must have אהבת חנם. In fact, Aharon- the Kohen Gadol- who died on Rosh Chodesh Av[3] which is the period of when the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed, was an אוהב שלום ורודף שלום; loving and pursuing peace.[4] This is what we need for the Beis Hamikdash- אהבת חנם.

 

Let us cite some incredible stories that illustrate this.  One year on Yom Kippur, the Kopischnitzer Rebbe- R’ Avraham Yehoshua Heschel- saw a Jew eating in a non-Kosher restaurant. What did the Rebbe do? He went, accompanied by his attendant, into the restaurant and told the Jew to have a good Yom Tov and eat with an appetite. Stunned, the attendant later asked for an explanation. The Rebbe told him that one can eat as a מומר להכעיס (in spite) or a מומר לתיאבון (for appetite). When I saw he was eating להכעיס, I told him to eat with appetite in order to lessen his punishment since a מומר להכעיס is worse as it has a bigger punishment.

 

In May 2018, a couple- Aharon Tzvi and Chana Altman- took an American Airlines flight from New York to Phoenix. The flight attendant- named Jordan- struck up a conversation with them, mentioning that he was the last Jew in his family after a long chain of generations. Unfortunately, he never had a Bar Mitzva. When the couple heard this, they celebrated his Bar Mitzva on the flight- singing and dancing in the back of the plane. It was on this flight that he put on Tefillin for the first time in his life! After the celebration, he expressed his appreciation writing the following: “So Mr. and Mrs. Altman, Thank you so very much for my Bar Mitzva. I’m still amazed and bewildered about how everything fell into place. How you both literally spoke to my soul. I’m forever grateful for what you’ve done for me, and I’m sure the appreciation will only deepen with time. Keep being the amazingly wonderful people you are. Thank you times a million, Jordan.”

R’ Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. R’ Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

[1] Yoma 9b

[2] Indeed, the Megale Amukos (Bechukosai, אופן 25) tells us that all our Tefillos ascend via the מערת המכפלה, which is located in Chevron. Furthermore, Chevron is the place where the אבות (They represent אחדות; unity, as they were shepherds who gather the flock.) are buried- those who connect us to Hashem.

[3] Bamidbar 33:38

[4] Avos 1:12 






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