Love Your Neighbor
Everyone agrees love is a good thing. But what does it mean?
This week's Torah portion teaches us: "Love your neighbor like yourself."
The love the Torah talks about is more than just a feeling. Love needs to be demonstrated through doing, like helping other people or sharing with them and trying not to be selfish.
The Torah is teaching us that we can make a better, more loving world by making ourselves into better, more loving people.
In our story a girl discovers that to love is to give.
"THE LOVE SWEATER"
"Mom, I don't know what to do," said Cheryl. "I just got off the phone with Rachel, and she asked me to borrow one of my sweaters to wear to a family party."
"And?" asked her mother.
"And, I'm not sure I want to," answered Cheryl. "I love that sweater and besides, it's mine."
"Are you afraid that Rachel will ruin it?" asked her mom.
"Oh, no," laughed Cheryl. "Rachel's really careful. She'll probably take better care of it than I do. It just bothers me that someone wants to borrow one of my things.
"Which sweater is it?" asked her mom.
"Oh, I'll run upstairs and bring it down to show you," said Cheryl as she dashed out of the room. She got to the closet and picked out the sweater. It was pink with gorgeous embroidered roses. Just then she felt something in the front pocket she had never noticed before. It was a note. It said:
To my dear niece, Cheryl. I bought this sweater for myself, but when I thought of how much you would love it I had to give it to you. As much as I loved the sweater, I love you more! -- Love, Aunt Susan
Cheryl started to think about her Aunt Susan, who was now in the hospital. "What a loving person she is, she's always teaching us how wonderful it is to share with others..."
Suddenly Cheryl knew what she would do. She brought the "love sweater" downstairs and smiled at her mom.
"Gee Mom," she said. "Aunt Sue gave me this sweater out of love. I don't think I could give it away like she did, but, at least I could lend it to my friend."
Her mom gave Cheryl a hug and said, "I'm proud of you. Let's go visit Aunt Susan in the hospital. I'm sure that she will be happy to see us and to hear that you're putting the sweater, and her loving advice, to good use."
Q. How do you feel when you ask your friend if he would share his toys with you, and he says yes?
Q. How do you feel when he says no?
Q. What are you going to do when your friend asks you to share?
Q. Why did seeing her aunt's note help Cheryl decide to share her sweater?
A. She realized that she got the sweater in the first place because someone else was able to share something she loved. One loving act leads to another. When we care about people, it helps them also to act in an unselfish way.
Q. What are some other ways can we love people like ourselves?
A. Besides lending our things, we can also volunteer to help the elderly or ill. We can help out around the house. We can smile at the people we see and say things to make them feel happy. We can think about what we would enjoy and do that very thing for someone else.
Q. Why do you think that it's sometimes hard for people to share their things?
A. We grow attached to our possessions and feel that by sharing them we're losing something. At other times, we are afraid someone will damage something we love a lot. The thing to remember that everything in the world belongs to God, and He lent it to us. When we take that attitude, we feel less possessive of things and we can share them more easily.
Q. Isn't it enough just to love people in our hearts? Why should we have to actually do things to show that we love?
A. Feelings in the heart are great, but they only go so far. When our love comes out in our actions it grows even stronger. We feel it more. The one we love certainly feels it more. This helps to make the world a more loving place.
Q. Why do you think parents love their children? And children their parents? Which do you think is stronger, and why?