Parshas Kedoshim: VAhavta LReiacha Kamocha - Pishischa and Kotzk, Two Different Roads Leading to the Same Place
Rav Simcha Bunin MiPishischa says that every item has its own litmus test to see if it is authentic or not. For a Jew as well there is also an authenticity test. The test is Ahavas Yisroel. The more Ahavas Yisroel one has the more he can be considered the real thing a real Jew. He learns this from the pasuk “V’Ahavta L’Reiacha”, by the amount of love one has for his fellow Jew, “Kamocha” that is who he is and that is how he is measured.
The Kotzker in typical fashion asks the question how can one be asked to love his friend like himself? Since when does one “love” himself?? Loving yourself brings to selfishness and a host of other bad middos. A person should negate himself totally. Is this how the Torah wants you to treat your friend? He answers that the pasuk means that to the same degree which you much negate yourself to the epitome of Bitul, so to you must love your friend to the epitome of love.