Shabbat Nugget – Overcoming Life’s Struggles

In this week’s Torah portion, we learn about the commandment to “Love your fellow and Yourself”.

Rabbi Akiva, the great Talmudic Sage stated, “To Love your fellow as yourself is the whole Torah and the rest of the Torah is commentary.”

The sages ask the following questions, firstly, is it humanly possible to love the common person as yourself and why should this be equated to the whole Torah, which has many commandments that have nothing to do with our fellow man?

Reb Shneur Zalman of Liadi in his famous work called the Tanya explains is as follows:

Each one of us in life has a struggle between his bodily desires and his soulful desires.

If the winner of this struggle is the soul, he will then be able to love his fellow as himself, since on the level of the soul a person can truly unite with another person’s soul, since all souls are rooted in a spiritual level in which there is absolute unity.

This also explains why this Mitzvah is the whole Torah. The study of Torah and fulfillment of its commandments give the soul the spiritual strength to overcome one’s negative and destructive desires and become the dominant force in his life.

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About Rabbi Pesach Scheiner

Rabbi Pesach Scheiner is the Rabbi of Boulder County Center for Judaism. In addition, he teaches extensively throughout Boulder County and is the author of "Finding the Joy in Everyday Living," a book of short chapters explaining the ways to access happiness through appreciation, gratitude, and a sense of purpose.

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