A hasid went to see his rebbe. It was usually a very long journey, but he returned home after just one night. When his friends asked why he returned so quickly, he explained that what he had learned along the way made the journey unnecessary.
I spent that first night at an inn along the road. There were two old friends drinking.
One said to the other: Pavel, am I your friend?
Of course you are my friend, his companion responded.
Do you love me?
Of course I love you, we are friends!
Do you know what hurts me?
How can I know what hurts you? You are you and I am I. I can never know what hurts you!
But if you don’t know what hurts me, how can you say that you love me?
If we would ask God to know us, then we must know the one who sits beside us. If we would ask God to know what hurts us, then we must know what hurts the one who sits beside us. Only in knowing the other, can God know us. Only in healing the other, can God heal us.
This post is part of a collection of poetry, stories and meditation that Valley Beth Shalom has collected for over 50 years. This year in preparation of the High Holidays,I’m posting daily some of the best from the archive.