As discussed earlier, a chossid should feel a very deep, personal bond with fellow chassidim, to the extent that he relates to another chossid just as one relates to another family member. On this note, the Frierdiker Rebbe related:
The Rebbe Maharash said to my father, the Rebbe [Rashab], that the Alter Rebbe sacrificed his holy life and invested tremendous energies with the intention of bringing the community of chassidim to become literally like one family. Every single member of the community of chassidim should seek the welfare of his fellow in matters of livelihood, and whenever one helps another, he should do so with a feeling of great love and affection, to the extent felt by those who are literally members of one family.
Igros Kodesh Admur HaRayatz, Vol. 4, p. 34.
Elsewhere (see Hayom Yom of 24 Tishrei) it is written that one fosters love for one’s fellow chossid through the means of a farbrengen. But this requires explanation, for this only tells us that a farbrengen is the medium through which this feeling is created and developed, but how is it then expressed? Or, put differently, how can one discern whether one has indeed attained a true feeling of love for other chassidim?
The above sicha explains this: A chossid expresses his love for a fellow chossid by genuinely caring for his gashmiyus (material needs), and doing him material favors whenever possible—helping him out with a loan, with advice on which house to buy, or by simply inquiring how his livelihood is going (“vos macht men in parnoso”), and being genuinely interested and ready to assist however possible.
How necessary is it for a chossid to feel this way? The Rebbe Rashab taught that a chossid who lacks this feeling is spiritually deformed:
For chassidim, love for one’s fellow [chassidim] is [according to another version: “should be”] first nature, not second nature. A chossid who lacks love for his fellow [chossid] is just as deformed as one born missing a hand or a foot.
Sefer HaSichos 5696-Choref 5700, p. 209.