Love The Ugly

By: Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui


The great Rabbi Elimelech of Lyzansk said. “There is no such thing, as an unclean, dirty soul. There is only a soul, which some dirt has attached to it. There is no such thing as a pure body. There is only a body, which a person refined.”

Once, Rabbi Elazar son of R. Shimon, rode along the riverside on his donkey, and was feeling happy and elated because he had studied much Torah.

There, chanced to meet him, an exceedingly ugly man, who greeted him, “Peace be upon you, my master!” R. Elazar did not return his salutation, but instead said to him, “How ugly this person is! Are all the people of your city as ugly as you?”

“I do not know,” said the man. “But go to the craftsman who made me, and say to him: How ugly is the vessel which you have made!”

Realizing that he had done wrong, R. Elazar dismounted from his donkey, prostrated himself before the man, and said to him, “You are right. Forgive me!”

This was no ordinary exchange. This story must be understood on a much deeper level.

When Rabbi Elazar saw, how despicable and disgraceful this person’s character was, he was inclined to ignore and reject this disgraceful human being. However, the person reminded the great Rabbi. It is G-d who made me. It is G-d who presents me with the constant challenges I am faced with. Certainly, I have the pure spark within, and I still have a future in front of me. Please, don’t ignore my salutation.

The High Priest Aaron, the older brother of Moses, was, “A lover of the creatures, and brought them closer to the law.” These words, are very precise.

There are some people, who have no other reason for anyone to give them any attention or closeness, if not for the fact that they are “ creatures”, created, by G-d. When one where to look at these “people” on the surface, they appear so dirty, so disgusting, you want to turn your face away from them.

The love, Aaron the great priest excelled in, was even greater than that of Abraham the first believer in G-d. Abraham in the desert, was called by G-d a loving person. He, nevertheless had conditions to whom he would extend his kindness to. Aaron on the other hand, exercised an infinite love. Aaron extended his affection and attention to love everyone, even those who are nothing else but “creatures” of G-d.

As a result, the books of mysticism tell us something wonderful.

G-d deals with us in the way we deal with others. G-d is our Shadow. And just like a shadow follows a person, in the same way, G-d set things up in such a way, that “in the measure that a person deals with others so it is done with this person.” If a person looks at life in a positive, optimistic, happy mood, G-d will deal with this person in the exact same way.

Because Aaron the High Priest would be kind even to the lowest of the low, he earned, that G-ds blessings where extended and drawn even to the lowest, seemingly undeserved, areas of his life.

The reason we are told these examples is, so that we should learn from these great masters, how we should, and how we could, conduct ourselves, and the benefits we can expect.


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