The Rabbi Jeffrey Summit [of Tufts Hillel] tells a Hasidic story of the rabbi who watches two Russian peasants drinking together at an Inn.
The first asks, “Boris, do you love me?”
His friend replies, “Ivan, Do I love you, we’ve worked side by side on our farm for years. Of course I love you!”
They return to their vodka and a minute later, Ivan asks, “Boris, do you know what causes me pain?”
Boris thinks for a moment and answers “No.”
At that point Ivan roars, “If you don’t know what causes me pain, how can you say you love me!?
Afterwards, the Hasidic rebbe who heard this exchange said to his students, “This is the essence of our connection with one another. We must look deeply enough into one another’s souls not only to know what makes us happy but also to understand what causes pain.”
Friends, there’s a lot of pain in the world right now. We are all invited to look deeply into one another’s souls to understand what is causing the pain. We are all called to the courage of bearing honest witness to what we learn. There can be no reconciliation without truth telling, without compassion, without repentance.
May we be brave and loving together.