Last weekend a lot of people in Australia and worldwide enjoyed a day known as Valentines Day. Now although not a Jewish holiday (and some terrible events occurring on this day in Jewish History) I think there is something to think about when it comes to the concept of love.
The word love sometimes loses its meaning and value because it is thrown about so freely in English. People often use it to describe their relationship with food and material objects. Unfortunately you can’t actually love chocolate (some might argue) but you can possibly love how good it makes you feel.
In Hebrew the word for love is Ahava. It provides a special meaning to the concept. Love in Hebrew is “Ahava”. The meaning of the two letter base of the word is “to give”. The letter “aleph” , which precedes these two letters comes to modify the meaning of the base word, “give”. The meaning of Ahav is “I give” and also “love”.
To love is not supposed to be about what the other person does for me. In fact that isn’t love at all. Love is supposed to be based on what it is that I can give to the other.
Giving is the condition that creates and sustains love. With out giving, there is no connection that is sustaining. Giving helps to develop and build a connection to another person.
Meaningful relationships in our lives are the ones in which mutual giving takes place. When one party refuses to give then the relation will struggle and possibly fail. The giving may be physical, emotional, intellectual or a combination. Giving of oneself and of course receiving love from another ensures and an enduring and harmonious relationship.
So whilst we as Jews don’t celebrate Valentines Day, we do celebrate love. But it is the love as described above that needs to be celebrated. Think about the relationships in your life and those in which you feel true love is occurring. If you feel you’d like to have a more meaningful relationship then ask yourself what more could I give to make the bond stronger and perhaps also reevaluate the ones in which you feel there is just a one way street!
Wishing you a beautiful Shabbat and weekend ahead!