A Bisl Torah

Love Actually

It’s the season of love. Or at least, according to Hallmark.

Valentine’s Day is not a Jewish holiday. Far from it. But the day gives us another opportunity to look deeper into our tradition and see how love plays a role in our most important relationships.

Leviticus 19:18 reads, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Rabbi Akiba identifies this verse as a fundamental principle of the Torah. Rabbi Arnold Eisen, Chancellor Emeritus of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, explains that the Jewish notion of love is action-oriented. Love should be behavior focused. He writes, “Love does not dwell within individuals but between and among them.”

Meaning, if you want someone to know you love them, don’t keep love bottled up. Show them. Details matter.

Some feel loved through hearing, “I love you.” Others feel loved when the dishes are cleared from the sink. Love is shown through the squeeze of a hand or offering to call someone as they drive home late at night. Love is giving your heart to enable another to feel known.

No. Not a Jewish holiday. We don’t need it. Love is infused through Jewish tradition, liturgy, thought, and lore. And the Shema, our declaration of faith, is clear: in whichever ways you offer love, love with “all your heart, all your soul and all your might.”

Shabbat Shalom

In partnership with The Jewish Journal, you can also find Rabbi Guzik’s blog post HERE.

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