“But love your neighbor as yourself….Lev. 19:18

 Rabbi Moshe Leib told this story:

“How to love men is something I learned from a peasant. Be wassitting in an inn along with other peasants, drinking. For a long time he was as silent as all the rest, but when he was moved by the wine, he asked one of the men seated beside him: ‘Tell me, do you love me or don’t you love me?’ The other replied: ‘I love you very much.’ But the first peasant replied: ‘You say that you love me, but you do not know what I need. If you really loved me, you would know.’ The other had not a word to say to this, and the peasant who had put the question fell silent again.

“But I understood. To know the needs of men and to bear the burden of their sorrow–that is the true love of men.”             Martin Buber:  Tales of Hasidim: Early Masters

Jackie Robinson was the first black player to play major league baseball, and Larry Wise of East Troy, Wisconsin, tells of how Robinson faced jeering crowds at every stadium while breaking baseball’s “color barrier”.

While playing one day in his home stadium (Ebbetts Field in Flatbush, or Brooklyn), he committed an error and his own fans began to ridicule him. He stood dejected and humiliated at second base, while the fans jeered. Then shortstop “PeeWee” Reese came over and stood next to him. He put his arm around Jackie Robinson and together faced the crowd. The fans grew quiet. Robinson later said that arm around his shoulder saved his career.

Tis the human touch in this world that counts,

The touch of your hand and mine.

Which means far more to the fainting heart?

Than shelter and bread and wine;

For shelter is gone when the night is over

And bread lasts only a day,

But the touch of the hand and the sound of the voice

 Sing in the soul always.

Spencer Michael Free

It is a lifelong lesson to learn to love each other as ourselves…