Love Your Neighbor

The Gospel this morning was Matthew 22:34-46 .  Jesus was asked: “What is the greatest commandment?”  The text gives us the answer given in Matthew.  In Luke, Jesus tells a story–the Good Samaritan.

A disciple asked Rabbi Schmelke a similar question, he answers with a story–

A Hasidic Tale

A disciple asked Rabbi Shmelke: “We are commanded to love our neighbor as ourself. How can I do this, if my neighbor has wronged me?”

The Rabbi answered: “You must understand these words aright. Love your neighbor like something which you yourself are. For all souls are one. Each is a spark from the original soul, and this soul is wholly inherent in all souls, just as your soul is in all the members of your body. It may come to pass that your hand makes a mistake and strikes you. But would you then take a stick and chastise your hand, because it lacked understanding, and so increase your pain? It is the same if your neighbor, who is of one soul with you, wrongs you for lack of understanding. If you punish him, you only hurt yourself.”

From Tales of Hasidim, Early Masters by Martin Buber

Love God, love your neighbor. It’s as difficult and simple as that.

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