I’ve got a faribel with me?

  • Rabbi Deren
Can you imagine a daughter-in-law who never once calls to wish Good Shabbos? Or a rabbi who started a new learning programme in the shul without consulting with the committee? Or every flat dweller in your block getting together for a braai – except for you as you weren’t invited?
by Rabbi Asher Deren, The Shul of Blouberg - West Coast | Apr 26, 2018

I know; you can’t imagine such a thing. But it happens. And the faribels that this creates can last literally for generations.

So, what can protect us from the typically Jewish community’s tragic infighting that has so many beautiful families, friendships and communities in its toxic snare?

This week, we read about the ultimate mitzva – Ve’Ohavta Le’Rayacha Komocha (Love your fellow human as yourself). The commentaries explain this selfless love as the ability to look past another person’s faults in the same way that one overlooks one’s own mistakes.

The Talmud tells us: “Al kol pesha’im techaseh ho’ahava” – that self-love conceals every fault. We usually think of this (human failing in) self-love as concealing one’s own fault and abdicating responsibility to repair. The truth is, however, that this can be (positively) applied when it’s your love of another person that conceals their faults instead.

“As yourself” means the ability to look at another person, even when there seems to be a fault in what they are doing, and yet, because you realise that in your essence you are one, the “fault” that seems to be there is overlooked.

“But I’m not that person,” you say? Well, that’s only on the surface level where your distinct bodies, characters and persona separate you as two unique beings. In the core essence of your soul, however, at the point where our Soul connects with G-d, we are all one composite, one unit, one being... one person. So, if you’re one person, would you get angry at yourself?

It’s true: maybe your daughter-in-law should have called before Shabbos. Perhaps the rabbi should have consulted with the committee. Your neighbour should have invited you to the braai that everyone else went to, etc.

But this mitzvah allows us to take a step back and imagine if we were the very perpetrator of the “crime”. Imagine if you forgot to call your mother-in-law, or consult with the rabbi, or invite the neighbour: would our human nature not instinctively use every excuse in the book to find merit in the mistake?

So now do it for them too... after all, at the core of your soul you are one person.

So then, yes, on some level maybe I’m the one who should have made the apology / extended the invitation / overlooked the insult, etc.

Am I really going to have a faribel with myself?

It doesn’t sound like such a good idea, after all.

Don’t you agree?


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