Chassidic Psychologymain posts

Arguing our way to Love

Everyone agrees that now, more than ever, we need unity. But how do we move from fighting and disunity – based on deep disagreement and stoked with feelings of imminent danger, discrimination and threat – to peace and brotherly love?

Just as we believe in God, so we must believe in every Jew, his good will and the love concealed within him – love of God and love of Israel. It is specifically when we argue that we feel how sorely we need some brotherly love. The arousal to love the other and the inner expectation-aspiration to receive love from him, are a distinct sign that the time for reconciliation has come.

We may think that to make peace and unite, we have to blur the differences between us and turn over a new leaf. Ultimately, however, the differences will not disappear, and repressing will only help in the short term. The true path to reconciliation – the purpose of which is to truly restore love – specifically passes through argument and rebuke, with each person putting the issues that hurt him on the table. When we allow the problems to rise to the surface, with a desire for reconciliation, the path to rectification is paved.

In a truthful discussion, every party understands the apprehension of the other, can even admit that there is some justice to his claims, and can clarify and rectify the issue. Primarily, the hot balloon of hatred and conflict is deflated. We understand that the suspicion that the other is acting to anger me ‘on purpose’ is nothing more than imagination. Sometimes, there never were really any problems and other times it was not about ideology or a desire to anger me, but simply the evil inclination, which I also have no less than him… After I have rebuked someone for their shortcomings, I can also bear them and forgive them and then, reframe what seemed to have been directed at me. When a true, open discussion takes place, the love that is created following the discussion is also frank and true.

To properly have an argument that will ultimately end in forgiveness, reconciliation and the restoration of deep love we have to overcome something. We need to transfer from a state of contracted consciousness to a state of expanded consciousness. A person in a state of contracted consciousness can be overly emotional and cannot hold a calm discussion. His heart aspires to unity, but as soon as the argument begins, he becomes agitated, insulted and angry. Conversely, a person who is in a state of expanded consciousness can contemplate and discuss the issues maturely, without becoming overly emotionally involved. Hence, he can see the other’s viewpoint, and calmly and clearly explain himself.  He can bring the disagreement to effective action – actions that will ultimately engender forgiveness and understanding. The two parties may even understand that the conflicting viewpoints actually complement each other and are necessary to progress together to the next goals of the Nation of Israel.

Today, we are all feeling an arousal to and desire for love – both from experiencing the damage that the conflict has caused us and also with the feelings of mutual responsibility and devotion that awaken during a war. Now we must overcome the conflict. We have to whole-heartedly say ‘Let’s be mature, let us stop acting like little children.’ Then we will be able to debate from a standpoint of appreciation of the other and a positive perspective. We will develop our love for our fellow and a deep sense of unity. When we will be able to make true peace between ourselves, the path will be paved for reconciliation with our Father in Heaven. A debate in a state of expanded consciousness even includes the possibility of an open, conciliatory discussion, transformation from the argument of the exile to the love of the redemption.


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