Parashat Acharei Mot-Kedoshim
One of the most central demands of the Torah is also one of its most difficult. VaYikra 19:18 teaches וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself. R. Akiva is quoted throughout Rabbinic literature as characterizing this commandment as כלל גדול בתורה, the great and all-encompassing principle of the Torah. Whereas its importance is indisputable, its achievability is much more questionable. Is the Torah legislating our emotions? Are we really being asked to love one another at such a high level? The great sage Hillel teaches us about how to apply this precept to our own lives and he demonstrates a strategy for achieving this and other religious and spiritual goals, including those that can seem almost unattainable.