Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
It seems to me that the following words of how to relate to one another could have been written for our times, especially in the face of the corona crisis. Today, just a few days before Tisha B’Av, marks 448 years since the passing of the kabbalist Rabbi Yitzchak Luria (1534-1572), known as the Ari Hakadosh. Here, of course, we are not going to delve into the profound spheres of heaven that preoccupied him, but rather focus on a simple instruction that he left us to protect against divisiveness:
“Before Shaharit (the morning prayer), a person should take upon himself to fulfill the mitzvah of ‘Love your fellow as yourself,’ and should strive to love every Jew as much as he loves himself.”
And now the Ari continues with a demand for solidarity, mutual responsibility, and deep concern for each other:
“And if, heaven forbid, a person is in distress or someone in that person’s house or among his children is ill, we must share in that person’s distress and pray for him. So too in everything we do, we must share in others’ pain and sorrow.”
In his blessed memory.