Personal Development

Who Do You Love? Part Two

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By Rav Avraham Greenman

Translated by Moshe Neveloff

“Any love that depends on a specific cause, when that cause is gone, the love is gone; but if it does not depend on a specific cause, it will never cease.”[1]

If I love my son and dedicate myself to him, when he is obedient and pleasant, and especially when he is also successful and excels, then this is love which depends on something.  This type of love, where I receive pleasure from ‘being the father of’, is just enjoyment, like any physical pleasure, just like I love to receive compliments, go on a trip and eat a tasty piece of cake.  Because how is it possible not to love a son like this?!

However, this kind of love is self-love, and not love for my son.

True love does not depend on qualities, it is depends on connection.

And because a connection is ‘two sided’, therefore even before you examine if you are truly connected to the other person or if you are against him, see if you are connected to yourself or if you oppose yourself, because if you are a walking collection of oppositions, how is it possible to connect with you?!

In order to connect, to love and be loved, you need to learn to forego opposition.  And the first opposition which you need to give up is the opposition to yourself.

To receive with love who you are now and what you are now, also what is still not perfect.  What you are now is what you are supposed to be, and that’s okay!  This is the reality that Hashem has guided you to, at this moment, so that from here you can go ahead to your next step.

The Torah calls this in simple words: “You shall love your fellow- as yourself.”  Love yourself, and from there the path is paved to loving the other person.

[1] Ethics of the Fathers, 5:19

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