Where can I find discussions on the topic of ואהבת לרעך כמוך being a commandment to express and feel an emotion.

The underlying question is, How can we be commanded to feel a certain way? (This is unlike a commandment to do, or refrain from something)

  • It means treat your friend well
    – Nahum
    Feb 15 at 18:25
  • 1
    Why can't you be commanded to feel a certain way?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Feb 15 at 18:31
  • Same with לא תחמוד Feb 15 at 19:55
  • The commentary to MT De'ot 6:3 in the Moznaim edtion (with Eliyahu Touger's translation) says: "The question often raised in connection with this mitzvah is: How can one command feeling? Therefore, certain commentaries have stated that the mitzvah merely requires us to perform deeds which would normally be motivated by feelings of love..."
    – Tamir Evan
    Feb 15 at 20:02
  • 1
    (continued): "...However, in Sefer HaMitzvot (Shoresh 9), the Rambam specifically states that this mitzvah involves our emotions. Therefore, it must be interpreted to mean that we are commanded to bring ourselves to a state of mind that will inspire feelings of love."
    – Tamir Evan
    Feb 15 at 20:03

2 Answers 2


Here is an example. You are commanded to rejoice on holidays. How can you rejoice when you don’t feel like rejoicing? Our Sages give us six ways:

-First, go through the motions required by the holiday.

-Second, think of something special you can get for yourself. [Pesaḥim 109a]

-Third, do something different. [Shabbat 119a]

-Fourth, surround yourself with family, friends and community. [Deuteronomy 16:13-14]

-Fifth, consider it your duty to make sure they rejoice. [Pesaḥim 109a]

-Sixth, try to focus on only one source for rejoicing at a time. [Moed Katan 8b]


It's not simple to say the mitzva of viahavta is to express emotion. The gemara Shabbos 31a says it means dont do to someone else what you dont like to happen to you. Gemara baba kama 51a says by giving death in court, to give him easy death because of viahavta. We don't find anywhere straight out in shas that viahvta means you have to use emotions (Closest place might be kiddushin 41a, but it's not so clear).We find it only refers to actions. In matter of fact the Tosefes Bracha says it only means actions. He says even when the Torah commands to love hashem, the Rambam says thats the mitzva to daven to hashem. He even says the reason why chazal learned it's reffering to actions, because the Torah can't command you to use your emotions, since its not in your control.

  • The Beis Halevi in Ahavat Yisrael states: ועל כן צריך כל אדם לעורר בלבו אהבה על הכל וכשאינו מעורר האהבה לא קים מצות עשה זו ... thus it's about emotions.
    – GratefulD
    Mar 1 at 12:06
  • 1
    @GratefulD Im aware of other achronim also saying its in emotions as well in addition to actions. Im just saying not everyone agrees to that, and I dont see where the genara says emotions are included.
    – Shlomy
    Mar 1 at 14:11
  • Thx. for your thoughts. More emotions ...Mitzva of Loving God - Rambam: וְהֵיאַךְ הִיא הַדֶּרֶךְ לְאַהֲבָתוֹ וְיִרְאָתוֹ. בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁיִּתְבּוֹנֵן הָאָדָם בְּמַעֲשָׂיו וּבְרוּאָיו הַנִּפְלָאִים הַגְּדוֹלִים וְיִרְאֶה מֵהֶן חָכְמָתוֹ שֶׁאֵין לָהּ עֵרֶךְ וְלֹא קֵץ מִיָּד הוּא אוֹהֵב וּמְשַׁבֵּחַ וּמְפָאֵר וּמִתְאַוֶּה תַּאֲוָה גְּדוֹלָה לֵידַע הַשֵּׁם הַגָּדוֹל."When a person contemplates His wondrous and great deeds and creations and appreciates His infinite wisdom that surpasses all comparison, he will immediately love, praise, and glorify [Him], yearning with tremendous desire to know "
    – GratefulD
    Mar 1 at 17:44

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .