Love, Jewish Style
By Ahuva BloomfieldHebrew, as one may know, is considered by the Bible to be the first language. It is the language through which God spoke in creating the world. Hence, Hebrew was not just created by God, but utilized by God in creating the world. Much wisdom is attributed to the words and letters in the Hebrew language.
Understanding the concepts that are invested in words can aid us in our own lives. As an interesting example, the word "love" which is thrown about so freely in English, has a special meaning in Hebrew. Love in Hebrew is "Ahava" , which is made up of three basic Hebrew letters, . These three letters actually are broken down into two parts: a two letter base or root, , and the first letter, , which is a modifier. The meaning of the two letter base, , is "to give". The letter "aleph" , which precedes these two letters comes to modify the meaning of the base word, "give". The meaning of , is "I give" and also "love".
We now see the connection between the two words, "I give" and "love". Love is giving. Now only is love giving, but the actual process of giving develops the very connection between the giver and the receiver. There is no greater giving than that of a husband and wife. Each one gives to the other. The more giving that one does, the greater is the connection.
Why?The process of giving is a vehicle through which the giver through his act of giving is able to, through a physical gift (or even a verbal comment), give of himself to another. This act of giving something is not merely helping another. For sure, giving is helping another, but it is much more than that. Giving is a method that enables us to make a connection to another. When we give to another, that which we give to him/her, could have been utilize to further our own self. In stead, we choose to take this object, which could have been utilized for our own needs and instead, use it for someone else.
Giving is a condition that creates and sustains love. With out giving, there is no connection that is sustaining.
The true relationships that our meaningful in our lives are those in which mutual giving takes place. The giving may be physical, emotional, intellectual or a combination. But with out giving from ourselves, no relationship can be enduring.
That is the secret of love that is revealed to us by the Hebrew language. This is the secret that is invested in the language by the Creator.
from the April 1999 Edition of the Jewish Magazine
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