Ahavat Yisrael and Moshiach
Ahavas Yisrael will bring the future redemption. the reason for the exile is baseless hatred, and ahavas Yisrael - love for no reason - love even for those in whom one sees no reason to love, and even for those who possess no mitzvos, will bring Mashiach. "Love for no reason" means loving another even if one does not "owe" him anything, and even in a case where the halachic parameters of the mitzvah "love your fellow as yourself" do not obligate love. True love for no reason exists when even the animal soul agrees that this is love for no reason.
Although the Rambam writes that one should always take the moderate path, in this matter one must take "love for no reason" to an extreme. Even after one has made great efforts to find merit in another and has failed, one should still have ahavas Yisrael beyond any calculations. This is true love for no reason.
All of Israel have an equal obligation to make the utmost effort to remove any baseless hatred from our midst, G-d forbid, and to replace it with love for no reason.
It is written in the book of Rus that "Yishai gave birth to David." The Rebbe explains that "Yishai" is a composite of three letters: Yud, Shin, Yud. This can also stand for the words yachad shivtei Yisrael, meaning "together all the tribes of Israel." The verse can therefore be interpreted to mean that when all the Tribes of Israel are together with ahavas Yisrael, this gives birth to David, King Mashiach.
Every Jew possesses a spark of the soul of Mashiach, as is hinted in the verse: "A star shall shoot forth from Yaakov" which is a reference both to Mashiach and to every Jew. This spark is the level of yechidah of the soul of the Jew which is also the spark of the general yechidah, the soul of Mashiach. This level of the soul stands above all divisions and transcends all levels. By revealing the yechidah level of every Jew, one hastens the revelation of the general yechidah, i.e., the revelation of Mashiach. Ahavas Yisrael reveals the yechidah.
In this light it must be emphasized that the connection between ahavas Yisrael and the Geulah is not only that ahavas Yisrael removes the cause of the exile (the opposite of ahavas Yisrael), but rather, since we are now at the stage in which we have completed our avodah that needed to be done throughout the duration of the exile: we have already traveled the forty two journeys through the "desert of the nations" and we are already standing by the "River Jordan" - the level of Mashiach of "Morach Vadain," on the brink of Redemption, then most definitely the cause of the exile has already been rectified and therefore the emphasis on ahavas Yisrael is as a taste and even the beginning of the true and complete Redemption which is connected with the unity of Jews as it stands above all division, as underlined in Jewish unity at the level of yechidah - the spark of Mashiach.
The New Torah of Mashiach
Just as unity and Ahavas Yisrael was a preparation for the giving of the Torah, so is ahavas Yisrael the preparation for the "new Torah" which will issue from Mashiach. When saying, "I accept upon myself the mitzvah of 'Love your fellow as yourself'" every morning, one should have in mind the saying of the Rambam that, "I anxiously await Mashiach's arrival every day" and that through ahavas Yisrael one will merit the Torah of Mashiach. In this light, the saying of Hillel, "Love the creations and draw them near to the Torah" takes on a new meaning: draw them near to learn the new Torah of Mashiach - the esoteric dimension.
The mitzvah of ahavas Yisrael will apply in full even after Mashiach comes. In that era, the obligation will be to bring every Jew to perfection in living a Torah life.
Pinchas, Eliyahu, and Ahavas Yisrael
Pinchas was known for his zealousness in the killing of Zimri. the Sages teach that Pinchas and Eliyahu possessed the same soul. Eliyahu was also famed for his being jealous for G-d, as it says: "I was exceedingly jealous for the L-rd G-d of Hosts." It was for this reason that G-d gave Pinchas "My covenant, peace," i.e., that Eliyahu/Pinchas should be present at every bris milah (circumcision) to prove to him that Jews are not as bad as he thought. The outcome is that his jealousy for G-d was transformed into ahavas Yisrael: he looks only at the merit of the Jews and therefore he merits to be the harbinger of the Redemption. Eliyahu was a student of Achiyah HaShiloni who was the spiritual mentor of the Baal Shem Tov. The Baal Shem Tov and all the Rebbeim after him also conducted themselves with great ahavas Yisrael and through their ahavas Yisrael will we merit Eliyahu to announce the Redemption.
It is imperative to have ahavas Yisrael for all types of Jews, even for the most simple of Jews, which, apart from the fact that simple Jews are held with great affection by G-d - like a child by his father - they also have the essential advantage of simplicity. Jealousy for G-d has a place: to be used on oneself, but not on another.
See Tanchuma, Nitzavim, section 1: "Israel will not be redeemed until they will all form one group." In Or HaTorah, Chanukah, p. 312b, the Tzemach Tzedek explains the connection between ahavas Yisrael and the Redemption, and that which is quoted in Shabbos 139a, Rambam, Hilchos Matnos Ani'im 10:1, that the Redemption will come in the merit of giving charity.
Yoma 9b. See footnote in Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 32, p. 153 in reference to baseless hatred in the times of the First Temple. The inner challenge of the exile is not only to generate love for no reason (which annuls the cause of the exile - baseless hatred), but rather to reveal the great love and unity there is amongst the Jewish people even when they are in a state of being scattered among the nations (see Sefer HaSichos 5749, Vol. 1, p. 138).
See Sefer Bonei Yerushalayim, p. 48 who gives a brilliant insight into the meaning of "baseless hatred." His explanation is based on Tanya, Iggeres HaKodesh, Epistle 25 (p. 276) where the Alter Rebbe explains the saying of our Sages, "whoever is in a rage is as if he worships idols," (Nedarim 22b). In the words of Tanya; "The reason is clear to those that have understanding, because at the time of his anger faith has departed from him. For were he to believe that what happened to him is of the L-rd's doing, he would not become angry at all. And though it is a person possessed of free choice cursing him, or hitting him, or causing damage to his money, and therefore guilty according to the laws of man and the laws of Heaven for having chosen evil, nevertheless, as regards the person harmed - this was already decreed from Heaven and "The Omnipresent has many deputies," (Rashi, Shemos 16:32).
Based on this, the Bonei Yerushalayim explains that any hatred, even if it does have a cause, is really baseless, for a person should view what comes to him as a Heavenly decree - either to elevate him or cleanse him of sin. The bearer of evil is merely an emissary. Baseless hatred is therefore a lack of faith tantamount to idolatory.
Bonei Yerushalayim concludes that we would do well to oft repeat Rabbi Akiva's words, "Everything the A-lmighty does is for the good."
Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 2, p. 598; See also Vol. 34, p. 229.
Ibid., Vol. 2, pp. 499, 598. This is also the connection between Eliyahu the Prophet and his being the harbinger of the Redemption (as it states in Malachi 3:22): for Eliyahu was a student of Achiyah HaShiloni, who was the spiritual mentor and the teacher of the Baal Shem Tov - whose conduct was with immense ahavas Yisrael. Likkutei Sichos, ibid., pp. 609-610. See Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 34, p. 23: Love for no reason causes klal Yisrael to be beloved to G-d, and "love covers over all iniquity." See also Or HaTorah, Shoftim, p. 840, and Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 13, p. 291.
Ibid., Vol. 12, p. 183.
Ibid., Vol. 7, p. 326.
Even those of the tribe of Levi, whom as the Rambam in Hilchos Shemittah and Yovel 13:13 states are those who are totally dedicated to serving G-d, are obligated to wage war against Midian whose spiritual counterpart is division and strife. See Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 23, p. 213.
Sefer HaSichos 5748, Vol. 1, p. 91, footnote 92.
Meor Einayim, Parshas Pinchas (end). See also Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 2, pp. 599, 692.
Talmud Yerushalmi, Taanis 4:5.
Ibid., Maaser Sheni 4:6.
The highest level of the soul, the pintele Yid.
Remaz on Zohar, Vol. 2, 40b; Vol. 3, 260b.
See Likkutei Torah, Parshas Mattos, p. 88c.
See Sanhedrin 93b; Likkutei Torah, Parshas Mattos, p. 89b.
See Sefer HaSichos 5751, p. 718.
See On the Essence of Chassidus.
Sefer HaSichos 5751, Vol. 2, pp.590-2, and footnote 103, ibid.
Sefer HaSichos 5751, Vol. II, p. 718.
Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 23, p. 487.
Targum Yonasan Shemos 6:18; Ralbag, I Melachim 17:1.
I Melachim, 19:10.
See Sefer HaMaamarim 5709, p. 172, note 10 on the connection between Achiyah HaShiloni and the Baal Shem Tov.
Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 2, p. 609.