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		                                    Word Of Torah		                                </span>

Word of Torah

Word of Torah
What is love? Baby don't hurt me.
Written by: Benjamin Harris
 
"and you shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might."
Love. Do it, the Torah tells you. Love God, and the Torah even tells you how. Our Torah tells us the exact precepts we are to follow in order to show the fullest love to God possible, however, I take issue with this particular command. We are commanded many things - honor your parents, there is one God, do not murder - however, this command to love God is one that tells us to feel a particular emotion rather than to perform a certain act. True, this portion lays out how to love God, but it also puts in the imperative that “you shall” love God.
 
This text of the V’ahavta found in our Torah directly follows the words of Sh’ma where we are told that Adonai is our one true God. Yes, God led us out of Egypt. Yes, God provided mana for our people. Yes, God made a covenant with Abraham. And now our people are sitting on the edge of their promise, and they are told one thing: Love God. Thinking back on the experiences of the Israelites, they of course followed God’s word many times and almost just as many times were reprimanded for their distrust and subordination; I can only imagine how they might feel being told to alter their emotional state to love a God they only partially trust. Yes, God has kept up God’s end of the bargain and fulfilled the covenant with Abraham, but the people are still mistrusting.
 
We all have issues being told how we “must feel” because when it comes to our feelings, we want to think of ourselves as in charge, however if we are not careful, our emotions can take hold and we can feel like they are in charge. The V’ahavta lays our different ways that we can love God so that when we are inevitably not feeling 100%, we can try to find some way of the many to begin to regain a sense of normalcy. These are not necessarily ways that we are prescribed to love God, but rather a set of ways that we can find our own way back to love when we are lost.
Sun, August 18 2019 17 Av 5779