Many of us could write up a list of rules for how we’d like to be treated by our friends. Most don’t have a physical list to hand out to people (although it might reduce some painful guesswork if we did), but this is how the list might look:
- Be sincere — no acting.
- Respect me, always.
- Check up on me to see how I’m doing
- Be supportive when I’m in pain.
- Greet me warmly when I visit.
- Give me the benefit of the doubt.
- If I need some help, be ready to lend a hand.
- Don’t act overbearing or disdainful towards me
In our eyes these expectations are within reason. We don’t delude ourselves to think our friends would give us full access to their bank accounts, or sign their house or car over to us, nor do we want them to.
We’re obliged to “Love your friend like yourself” (Lev. 19:18). The obvious question is: how can we be obligated to love others as we love ourselves? Even for someone who naturally loves people, there’s no way such love could equal the devotion they have to themselves!
We come back to our list of expectations. That’s all we really want from others, and it’s really all they want from us. Just treat others as you expect them to treat you — that’s the obligation. Are we able to demonstrate that level of love? We must be, for we couldn’t reasonably expect of others more than we’re capable of doing ourselves! (HaKsav VeHaKabalah, R’ Yaakov Tzvi Mecklenburg, 1785–1865)
Rabbi Mordechai Dixler
Program Director, Project Genesis – Torah.org
Nothing like a great animal photo to invite a person into someone comments! It was a great seque into your list of rules. After all the violence, pain and grief of the Boston bombings this week, I can’t help thinking that if everyone just followed your list of simple rules — and didn’t try to force their beliefs/politics/personal agendas/etc. on others — the world would be a safer and better place. Thank you, and Shabbat Shalom.
I like it. Shabbat Shalom.
I would add to your list —-
9. Allow me to help you when you need help.
10. Allow me to share your joys as well as your sorrows.
11, Think of me when you’re looking for someone to spend time with.