I began reading Telushkin’s book, “Rebbe” on the plane. It represents a five year study into the life of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.
I am two hundred pages into the book and what has impressed me so far, was the Rebbe’s incredible patience for individuals with whom he disagreed.
He had a relationship with Jimmy Carter, Shimon Peres, and even Yossi Sarid, just to name a few.
Even though the Rebbe was very vocal in his opposition of giving land for peace, he somehow managed to say a kind word to those who disagreed with him.
The Rebbe was loved by the masses, but he was constantly being challenged for his affection for all Jews. He had major disagreements with Rav Schach and the Satmar Rebbe, but he never bad mouthed even his biggest detractors.
The goal for all of us is to still find Ahavat Yisrael, the love of every Jew, even when their religious and political views are different than our own.
It is ironic that the Rebbe was one of the few Orthodox Rabbis who reached out to Conservative and Reform Jews. And many feel that today it is the Chabad outreach programs that are causing the reform and conservative to become even weaker. The Jews in these regions are choosing Chabad over their former synagogues.
The bottom line is that whether we agree with Chabad or not, we can certainly learn from the Rebbe what it means to love every Jew.