Translated by Rabbi Lazer Brody
There’s one thing Hashem especially can’t stand – anger, especially when two people hold grudges and harbor negative feelings about one another. We don’t even have to go as far as anger. As much as Hashem loves peace, that’s how much He despises dissension. Even if you’re right and the other person is wrong, Hashem still loathes arguments and fighting. Nothing creates such a terrible impression in the Upper Worlds as arguments and bickering. Why? All arguments, fighting, dissension and bickering come from a deficiency or a total lack of emuna.
At this point people ask me, “How can you say that? Look how much dissension there is within Orthodox Jewry alone? Look how much contention there is among the various Chassidic groups alone!” Such a claim makes no impression on me; if being religious or Haredi allows a person to despise someone else, or even to think he’s better that that someone else, then I’m neither religious nor Haredi. Those are silly terms anyway.
A person can be Haredi, wear a long coat and have sidecurls down to his knees. But inside, he could be full of lust, animal drives, and dissension. You see why “Haredi” or “religious” are silly terms? According to my lexicon, you either cling to Hashem or you don’t – clinging to Hashem is a relevant term. That’s our yardstick about what our priorities are and whether we’re pursuing the right path or not.
We, the Jewish people have to wake up. When little Leiby Kletzky was so brutally murdered, people were shocked. But later, after the shiva, everything when back to normal. All the lofty talk about loving fellow Jews and Jewish unity were left to the old newspapers that were now used to wrap the fish in Machane Yehuda (the outdoor market in Jerusalem – LB). People were back to the infamous old Jewish pastime of machloket – dissension and bickering. So what happened? Few woke up. Hashem sent us another horrific tragedy with the untimely passing of Baba Elazar, who like leiby – was murdered by a Jew.
Who ever heard of a Jewish murderer? What’s going on here?
The true, hidden, and humble Kabbalists say that unspeakable harsh judgments hover over the heads of our people. We are so very close to Moshiach, and that’s why Hashem wants us to better our ways immediately – tomorrow is not only not good enough, but it’s dangerous. Delaying self-improvement until tomorrow could lead to a misfortune today. We don’t put off doing teshuva until tomorrow; that’s why every single person must speak to Hashem for an hour every day, a good portion of which should be devoted to self-assessment and to teshuva. Teshuva is a daily requirement in basic Judaism. People who don’t do teshuva daily are far from Torah and far from the truth. Not only that, but without daily teshuva, a person lives in a fantasy world. He doesn't take stock in himself, so he thinks he’s the tzaddik of the generation. Yet, he goes home and yells at his wife; there is no greater manifestation of arrogance than mistreating your wife…
In order to avoid the ensnarement of the fantasy world, a person must cling to the true powers of intelligence that Hashem instills within him. Just remember – the beastly fantasies of a person’s lust and uncorrected character traits cloud and sorely impair the Divine-granted powers of intelligence. That’s why one must overcome bodily drives and lust in order to activate the Divine-granted powers of intelligence.
What does all this have to do with dissension? Why do people argue and bicker with one another? Simple – their animal fantasies overcome their powers of true intelligence. If a person would cling to Hashem, not only would he be humble, but he’d strive for peace. When you argue, you’re showing that you still haven’t got rid of your egotism and arrogance. How? Where there’s no egotism or arrogance, there can be no arguments. People make decisions based on the lusts and not on truth. Truth is Hashem’s will. Since Hashem wants peace, truth is synonymous to peace. So wherever you don’t have peace, there’s a severe deviation from truth.
A pure and humble heart and a desire to cling to Hashem will necessarily lead a person to Ahavat Yisrael. This is what Hashem wants from us right now – to love each other and to stop bickering. Simchat Torah - when we all dance with love and unity around the Torah, and when we begin the Torah anew – is the perfect time to start.