Do You Love Me?

In the late 1700s Rabbi Moshe Leib Erblich of Sassov (Ukraine) explained to his followers how he learned love.

“I learned how to love from a peasant. He was drinking in a tavern with his friends. They were all talking and laughing, but he sat quietly.

Finally, without looking up he asked the man beside him, ‘Do you love me?’

‘Of course!’ his companion replied. ‘We are friends. I love you very much.’

‘Do you know what I need,’ the man persisted.

‘How can I know that? I’m not you!’

Silence for a moment and then, ‘If you loved me, you would know.’

At this both men fell silent and kept on drinking. But I understood! To love someone is to know his need to do one’s best to meet that need.”

Often love is viewed as an emotion of affection or strong desire for another person. However, the sages of the past have described love in terms of action and demonstrable concern for the well being of another.

I can profess love of another, but if I do not know someone well enough to be able to identify the deep seated need within his or her heart and strive to do what I can to meet such need (if it is within my power) how can I claim love?

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