Children are more emotional than adults. When I was younger, the tears were so close to the surface, anything could set them off. If I got hurt, even the teeniest scratch, I would cry. If I heard of someone else getting hurt, I would cry. And if I heard of someone in emotional pain, my heart went out to them.
Every pain that I heard of, every time that I cried scarred my heart. It had been fresh, young, unblemished. But as I grew older, each tzara that I heard about added another layer of scar tissue to the surface of my heart.
And then the defense mechanism kicked in.
If something is known to hurt you, you're not going to chase after it. More likely, you'd run away. When a heart mangled with so many tzaros, so many wounds and scars, realizes what causes its pain, it shuts itself off. Emotion is still there. But the outreach, the feeling for others just …
And now, I can no longer bring out the emotion for others that I used to have. That empathy is not gone, but severely depleteed. When I hear of a tzaar in klal yisroel, I don't cry. I maybe say a kapitol tehillim, but I can't find the tears. I can't find the emotion that used to define me.
Sometimes it hits close to home. That girl who just had twins – Chana Ruchama b-s Tziporah Faiga (she should have a refuah shleima) – is my age. She's my friend's friend. That hurt. But not as much as it would have hurt 10, 5, even 1 year ago. There's just too much tzaar.
The thing is that we as Yidden have an achrayus to be there for our brethren. We have to physically remove the scabs on our hearts and let them feel what we need them to feel. As Yechezkel says (36:26)והסרתי את-לב האבן, מבשרכם, ונתתי לכם, לב בשר (I will remove the stone heart from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh).
The second Beis Hamikdash was destroyed because of Sinas Chinam (baseless hatred).
Now is the time to fix this mistake so we can greet mashiach on Tuesday.
Now is the time to get rid of our scars and hearts of stone and replace them with a flesh, loving heart that can open itself to the rest of klal yisroel.