Acting with Love Even When We Don’t Feel Love

In Makom @ Home, we are continuing to explore loving our neighbors. We also thought about who our neighbors are and who strangers are and how we show love to each of them. One text we read from Vayikra 19:17 says: “Don’t hate your sibling in your heart. Correct your family member, but don’t do something you’ll regret. Do not take revenge or hold a grudge against your people or the people in your country. Ve’ahavta (love) your neighbor as yourself. I am God.”

How do you feel about the Torah having commandments about how to feel? (don’t hate; do love) Is that different from when the Torah has commandments about how to behave?

  • I don’t like rules because it’s like don’t this, don’t that, don’t this, don’t that. Expectations are better. instead of, “don’t hold a grudge,” you can say “love your neighbor.”
  • I don’t like the rules for kids. Adults barely have rules. Kids have more.

Are these Torah rules just for kids or adults or both?

  • Both!

We talked through a scenario to see how to apply the advice from our text: you don’t really like your neighbors because they’re very loud late at night making it so you can’t sleep. But God says that you should love your neighbor….what do you do?

  • Cover your ears
  • Use headphones
  • Earplugs
  • Ask them to stop or ask for help
  • If you live in an apartment building, ask someone who works there 

Some of us really do have noisy neighbors, so this was not just a hypothetical exercise! We noticed that we came up with two kinds of ideas – ways to protect yourself from the noise, and ways to try to get it to stop.

Then we reflected on whether each of those actions would be acting with love or with hate and realized it depends how you do the action.

  • On earplugs/headphones: both, love because you are not bothering them, but if you block someone out, that’s hateful
  • On asking neighbors to stop: could be love if you are not yelling at them. Saying “please shut up” is unkind

We thought about the difference between feelings and actions. Sometimes we need to shift our feelings before we can make good choices about how to act.

What helps you notice and shift your feelings so you can behave in ways that don’t hurt other people or yourself, even when you feel like you want to?

  • Hug my pet
  • My family makes me happy
  • Listen to music
  • If you have favorite stuffie
  • Favorite Plushie
  • I tell Mom or Dad
  • I turn off the camera and scream into the couch 😠
  • Don’t give anger to the person that did not do it to you
  • Don’t take it out on other people who didn’t cause the problem, because that will make them start a problem

In Tefilah Workshop, we started playing games to practice Hebrew letters. We have a spinner with several Hebrew letters on it.

a circle divided into 6 wedges, each with a Hebrew letter in it

When a letter comes up, we might draw something that starts with the sound of that letter or find something in our house that starts with that sound. We also shared about the Tefilot we chose to work on during our 1:1 meetings. We are learning so much!

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