(((:::- ABOUT LOVE -:::)))
If you love someone, you accept
him as he is.
But if you accept him as he is, you don't truly love
because if you truly loved him,
you would want the best for him,
which is virtually always for him to be better than he is.
How did our
ancestors deal with this paradox?
Enoch hid in a cave, Noah preached
listlessly for a century, Abraham sought the redeeming quality, and Moses
loved us, selflessly and unequivocally.
An examination of the lives of
these four great men, who lived and loved 3000 to 5000 years ago, tells
the story of a journey from self in quest of the most potent and
altruistic of human emotions.
Man, by nature, is a selfish creature.
Even in his relationships with others he tends to focus primarily on
himself or, at most, on his self-colored perception of his fellow.
"Love" is the endeavor to transcend this intrinsic selfishness and
truly relate to ones fellow, to be sensitive to and devoted to his needs
as an individual distinct of oneself and ones own stake in the
Love is not only about caring and giving but also about
When the Torah commands "Love your fellow as yourself,"
it does so in the context of the obligation to rebuke
him if he is
behaving in a negative and destructive manner the immediately preceding
"Do not hate your brother in your heart; rebuke your
fellow..." No one would stand by as a loved one suffers hunger or is
threatened by violence; no less so, if one sees his fellow suffering from
spiritual malnutrition or moral blindness,
he must make every effort
to reach out to him, to enlighten him, to offer guidance and assistance.
Thus the Torah instructs,
"Do not hate your brother in your
heart": do not succumb to the all-too-prevalent reaction to the wrongdoing
of others contempt for the "sinner.
" Instead of despising him,
respond with concrete and pragmatic steps to cure him of his spiritual
ills. Rebuke him,
by word and example, with sensitivity and loving
concern, and assist him to rise to his true, quintessential state of
The selflessness and the influence of love are proportionate
to each other.
As this overview will demonstrate, the more selfless
are your relationships with your fellow, the more extensive your influence
upon him will be.
Conversely, the more your vision of your fellow and
your involvement with him is defined by your self and its self-colored
perceptions, the less he will respond to your efforts on his behalf.