Most agree that it’s a good idea. There are plenty of people we meet, however, that we just don’t like. That’s OK. The mitzvah is to love them as Jews, not like them as people. Recently I experienced true Ahavas Yisrael from almost complete strangers. They helped me because it was a mitzvah, looking beyond my background or my hashkafa.
Real Ahavas Yisrael, not the kind that end up as a short story in a gloss weekly Jewish magazine or as a chapter in children’s Gadolim biography. Real Ahavas Yisrael that wakes you up that the cup of coffee that you psychologically know you need in order to function. Real Ahavas Yisrael, I’m talking about the kind that reminds you that we have to help others because Hashem is constantly helping us. Real Ahavas Yisrael, the kind you daven that your kids will practice when they become older.
Originally I was going to fill the post with several quotes on the importance of loving our fellow Jews from the likes of the Rambam, Rav Hirsch, and the Chofetz Chaim. I decided against this. Often in life we tend to meet people and try to figure out “what their angle” is. It seems that society has programmed us, well me, to think that most people I encounter have a hidden agenda. An act of kindness, a true Chessed, has an agenda as well, the most pure agenda, the will of Hashem. I am humbled that my creator has allowed me to meet a few people in my life that remind me of the kind of Jew I want to be.