PARSHAT KEDOSHIM: LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF!
By Sherrie B. Miller
This command seems rather dogmatic and unreasonable at first glance. After all,
can someone be ordered to feel any feeling for someone, if they don’t feel it, and
more so to command someone to “love” another? Either you love them or you don’t!
What if they’ve hurt you or are just so different from you that you cannot muster
any feelings let alone those of Love?
The Torah in its Infinite Wisdom is teaching a most profound lesson: the ability
to love in a healthy way is predicated on our ability to genuinely and simply love
our self. In our frenetic and frantic paced world, children may sometimes grow up
feeling that they are not all that important or worthy to their parents who seem
to have less and less time to devote to them. From their parents point of view they
are working to earn enough to provide their kids with the enticing things that money
can buy, some, needless to say, very worthwhile, like a good education, a worthwhile
summer camp experience etc.
But, from my experience, young adults despite being very accomplished and successful
in their respective career choices, still need to focus on and pay attention to
developing a positive and solid sense of self, someone that they are proud to meet
when they look in the mirror. This is this basis for a happy and lasting relationship.
The Torah is emphasizing the fact that one cannot truly love another, unless he
loves himself, not in an arrogant or haughty way, but in a humble fashion reflecting
our being created in G-d’s Image. Loving Me, is Loving my Creator and realizing
that I have been given a singular and extraordinary role to play here on Earth.
We can extrapolate from this world famous dictum that since we must love another
as our self, that we must “cut them slack” when they err or do something that upsets
us. Just as we rationalize our own faults and find it rather easy to excuse or own
faux-pas, we ought to do the same in our relationship with others. The great Baal
Shem Tov first taught the principle: if you spot it, you got it! He explains that
in all relationships, the person opposite us is merely mirroring our own self. Something
that bothers us about someone else is a signal for us to look inside and uncover
the situations in which I behave similarly. If it was not a part of my being, it
could have no effect on me.
This is especially true in a close relationship between a man and a woman. The intensity
of the relationship is so much greater and therefore creates situations that precisely
“step on my sore spots.” This set up was intended by Hashem to aid and abet in our
self-development and Tikun. Therefore the Talmud states that a man without a wife
is not a Man based on the passuk: “He created them male and female-and called them
adam.” (Genesis 5:2) “One has an identity as a whole person only when one is married,”
says Rav Avraham Twerski in his book, The First Year of Marriage.
Through the shlichut (G-d given Mission) of marriage, Man and Woman are afforded
the unique opportunity of serving as help mates to each other in the Process of
self- building and growth, as well as bringing out the best in each other, leading
to our ultimate unity and completion coupled with total attachment to Hashem.
Sherrie Miller M.A.
Sherrie is the SawYouAtSinai ‘Article of the Week’ writer as well as a dedicated
SYAS matchmaker. Trained as an educational guidance counselor, group leader, pre-marital
coach, matchmaker and Judaic Studies teacher, Sherrie is dedicated to promoting
and enhancing emotional intelligence and communication skills in conjunction with
Sherrie received her educational counseling degree from the Michlalah in Bayit Vegan
and an M.A. in Education and Counseling from Touro College, Jerusalem, Israel. Sherrie
also holds a B.A. in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Brooklyn College and a
B.Sc. from Yeshiva University in Jewish Education. Sherrie is certified by Midreshet
Emunah and is accredited by the Rabbanut of Israel, to be a pre-marital couple’s
counselor and Kallah teacher.
Choices of the Heart, a preparation and enrichment program for nearly-wed and newly
wed couples, run by Sherrie Miller, focuses on teaching communication skills between
couples, using Jewish wisdom and Torah sources. The workshops offer tools to build
skills and realistic goals that empower young couples with on their way to establish
a Jewish home.
Having counseled singles and made a number of successful matches resulting in marriage,
Sherrie volunteers as a matchmaker for SawYouAtSinai.
Sherrie has a private practice in Jerusalem and can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at
both 718-874-0677 (USA) and 054-475-5153 (Israel)
This Jewish Dating Column is brought to you by SawYouAtSinai, the Jewish Matchmaking
service. Articles are often written by Jewish matchmakers, to help Jewish singles