A “comprehensive month”

The month of Tishrei which we just concluded is referred to in Jewish sources as a “comprehensive month.” Its days include the entire spectrum of Jewish observance and emotion. It contains holy and awe-inspiring days, days of introspection and penitence, fast days and regular weekdays, and joyous and exuberant days such as those of Simchat Torah.

Throughout the entire month of Tishrei, Jews stock up on spiritual experiences and mitzvot from the holiday seasons. Hearing the shofar, giving tzedaka, blessing the candles, inviting guests, praying, shaking the lulav, eating in the sukkah, fasting, etc., etc. Little by little, throughout the year, we unpack our stored “goods,” drawing strength and inspiration from the vast treasures we acquired during the month of Tishrei.

Yet, we cannot rest on our laurels. The stock we have stored up during Tishrei is not limitless. It constantly has to be replenished with mitzvot that we are currently performing. Thus, our “shelves” will be kept filled.

One particularly important mitzvah to keep in abundant supply is that of Ahavat Yisrael – love of one’s fellow Jew – a mitzvah which is, in fact, a comprehensive mitzvah. We are told that the mitzvah of Ahavat Yisrael is the “basis of the entire Torah” and is a “great principle of the Torah.” It encompasses and includes every single Jew, for Jews, are like one body. Thus, we are required to love every Jew – even one whom we have never seen. This mitzvah affects every Jew on an individual and collective level. And since it is such an important mitzvah, we should never rely on what we might have in stock but should replenish it every single day.