One of his Chassidim came to him and asked where such allusion was to be found in Parshas Balak this week's portion. A superficial reading of this parsha certainly turns up no such reference.
The Rebbe looked at the Chasid in surprise and told him there was an obvious allusion -– the name BaLaK is an acronym for the words V'ahavta L'Reacha Kamocha [You shall love your neighbor as yourself] [Vayikra 19:18]!
The Chasid looked at the Rebbe and protested, "But Rebbe, Balak is spelled Beis Lamed Kuf and the words in the pasuk [verse] teaching we should love our neighbor begin with the letters Vov Lamed Chaf? – You are matching a Beis with a Vov and a Kuf with a Chaf to make this allusion!" [The matched letters make the same sounds, but are different letters.]
The Apter Rebbe responded with something that was more than just a whimsical quip. He responded with a profound insight saying: "You have been my Chasid all these years. Haven't you learned that when it comes to 'Ahavas Yisrael', you can't be so precise about the exact lettering?
The Apter Rebbe knew very well how to spell Balak. But he was teaching his disciple the lesson that when it comes to Ahavas Yisrael, there must be an elasticity. We have to cut people flak. We have to be a little more tolerant, a little more open, a little more willing to bend.
If we go with strict justice one will not achieve Ahavas Yisrael.
One has to go beyond the strict interpretation of the rules in order to achieve Ahavas Yisrael. One who is too precise will never be a true Ohev Yisrael and never come to complete fulfillment of the mitzvah "V'Ahavta l'Reacha Kamocha". Loving another as yourself
This divrei Torah was adapted from thoughts of Rabbi Yissocher Frand.