LOVE IS CONTAGIOUS! Become a super-spreader

Friday, 26 June, 2020 - 1:12 pm

The Rebbe was once asked why his Chassidim have such an unusual degree of love and admiration for him. He replied with a smile, it is merely a reflection of the love I have for them, as scripture states, “like water reflects the face so is the heart of man to man.”

In a similar vein, in 1954, as a young “newly minted” Rebbe, he went to visit a prominent Jewish leader many years his senior for a Shiva call. The cream of religious Jewish leadership was present and the young Rebbe made a very favorable impression on them. On the way out the Rebbe was approached by one of the Rabbis who said to him, “Lubavitcher Rebbe, I am afraid I am becoming one of your chassidim.” The Rebbe looked at him with a disarming smile and said, “Why must it be with fear? Let it be out of love.”

Chabad is all about love. Love for Hashem. Love for each other. Love for the Torah. In fact the Russian town that was home to the Chabad movement for over 100 years, is called Lubavitch, which means city of love. The Rebbe’s mission statement when he assumed the leadership of Chabad in 1951, was about the need to integrate the love of Hashem, the Jewish people and the Torah.

In the passage Yedid Nefesh that we say each Friday afternoon as Shabbat begins, there is an expression, “Nafshi Cholaat Ahavetecha – my soul is lovesick for You (Hashem).” Why the usage of the term sick? Couldn’t we find other terms to convey the depth and power of the love? The other day I heard someone explain this in a humorous manner. Love is contagious. Love is infectious. In these past three months, we have all become experts in how infections are spread. We are all hyper-aware of contagions. Now there is talk of the super-spreaders of the virus. Let us take a page from that playbook.

LOVE IS CONTAGIOUS! Become a super-spreader of love. That is what being a Lubavitcher is all about. As the love case count goes up, the healthier our society becomes.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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