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Dec 11, 2008


A Guest Post by Joshua Nathan

I often receive emails regarding the need to improve our midah of "ahavat yisrael".

When tragedies occur, we often feel the need to do something, to improve ourselves, to ensure that in some way the tragedies do not repeat themselves. The following note is my suggestion
for self-improvement.

I grew up in Detroit. Every summer we traveled to New York to visit my grandparents for a few weeks. My grandparents lived in Flatbush/Midwood. It was not the Flatbush that we know of today; there were few orthodox shuls, and it was a bit of a walk to get to shul.

My grandfather had a car, but chose to walk to shul during the week. I guess he recognized the many benefits of walking even back then! Whether walking to shul or to do errands, my grandparents always greeted people on the street, and the people in turn greeted them back as well. My grandparents did not know these people except for saying hello to them on the street. They understood that by saying hello, Gut Shabbos or Shabbat Shalom, one gives the person you are greeting a good feeling.

As religious people, we need to recognize the importance of greeting our fellow man. The Gemorah mentions that Rav Yochanon Ben Zakai was the first to greet everyone, even a stranger on the street. In halacha we see the importance of greeting someone. It is mentioned in the 2nd perek of Berochos that even if someone is in the middle of shema, there are cases when one is allowed to interrupt and greet or return the greeting.

I feel if people would begin to greet their neighbors and people they meet on the street, or at least respond when greeted by others, this would do wonders for our Ahavas Yisroel and getting along with people.


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