G-d said, ‘My beloved children, do I lack anything that I have to ask you for it? All I ask is that you love and honor each other. Nothing more!’ (Tanna d’Bei Eliyahu Raba, chuf-vuv)
In the times of Shlomo HaMelech, a great Halachic [Jewish law] question came up. There was a baby born with two heads. When that child had his Bar Mitzvah, there was a question – does he require one Tefillin Shel Rosh or two Tefillin, one for each head. No one knew how to answer the question and the matter was brought to Shlomo HaMelech. The ruling of the brilliant king was as follows: A drop of hot liquid was to be poured onto one forehead. If both heads would feel the pain and say, ‘ouch’, this creation was really one person and would need only one Tefillin put on either of the two heads and both heads would be included because they are considered one and the same. However, if after the hot liquid drops on one forehead, the other head does not feel the pain, then these two heads are not one creature, they are two separate individuals and each one of them needs his own Tefillin Shel Rosh.
Weird story, but how is it important to you and me who were born healthy with only one head? The story has a great lesson for us. Our nation is supposed to be unified, like one person, with one goal, with one soul. Unity. How do we know if we reached that level? If we can feel another’s pain like our own, then and only then can we say we are one.
Hillel said “what is distasteful to you, don’t do to someone else – that is the Torah, everything else is commentary.” That is a strong statement, but if we applied it seriously to life, the world would be a whole different place. Don’t hurt someone else. Pure and simple. That is the height of unity. You would never step on your own toe? Right? Then don’t step on someone’s else’s toe. When it comes to our own faults, we are embarrassed and we cover them up. When it comes to someone else’s issues, we find them and pick at them. When you hurt another person, whether through words, judgmental attitude or through doing a injustice physically, you are like the people who stab or burn themselves. It is psychosis to inflict pain upon one’s own body – and since your fellow is part and parcel of who you are, it is plain psychosis to hurt a fellowman.