The Hasidic Rabbi, Levi Yitzhak of the Ukraine, said that he had discovered the true meaning of love and humility from a pair of drunken friends in a country tavern. While chatting with the owner of the tavern, the rabbi saw the men embracing and declaring their love for one another.
Suddenly Ivan said to his companion, “Peter, tell me what hurts me!” Sobered by such a startling remark, Peter replied, “How do I know what hurts you?” Ivan’s answer was immediate, “If you don’t know what hurts me, how can you say you love me?”
Through their interchange, the two companions underscored the fact that the true humility which issues forth in love is not fostered by navel-gazing but by bending down to look up into the eyes of another
. From that humble position, the hopes and needs, the hurts and fears of the other are readily perceived; from that position of humility, love can be offered and service can be rendered, not with an air of condescension but with the warmth of compassion.