First, what does Ahavas Yisrael even mean? Love for Israel. By Israel, I mean the people, the nation, the Jews, each other. Jewish unity. I just saw and felt what it looks like and feels like, coming back from a Jewish women’s retreat made up of very diverse women.
It looks like No Judgment. It looks like letting G-d be G-d.
It looks like 30 women of all ages with tichels and snoods and sheitals and baseball caps and headbands and NOTHING on their heads sitting around a campfire together making Smores.
It looks like our Tears being linked into “the golden chain pulling down the walls that divide us”. (8th Day Lyrics).
It looks like you giving me wisdom and me giving you wisdom, and then we’re both the wiser. It looks like saying no if you don’t believe it, and walking away friends. It looks like making each other think for days later, carrying each other in our hearts.
It looks like Boundaries. You be you and I’ll be me and we’ll both be okay and we are where we are because of HASHEM (if you are a true believer in emuna).
It looks like connecting on a soul level – beyond, just beyond. We’re all little children inside wanting to know we’re loved.
It looks like what Love looks like. Honoring each other’s imperfections. Holding each other and crying in the grass. Holding space for each other to be where we are.
It feels beautiful and holy and open and loving. It feels possible.
By our hatred for each other, our temple fell down. Our enemies came in, our punishment came down, our people ran out. It’s time to let all that go and rebuild ourselves as a people, with love and kindness. With radical love and acceptance. Because even if the other one could be “wrong” – where will our judgment of it get us?
Where will our Love get us?
Artist rendering of the Third Temple, soon to be built in Yerushalayim (Jerusalem)