Love from a Jewish Perspective
Astonishing Perspective on How Judaism Views “Love” vs. Western Culture Understanding of Love
Judaism defines “love” as…
“the emotional pleasure a human being experiences when he or she understands and focuses on the virtues of another human being.”
The emotion of love, therefore, is overwhelmingly dependent on how one views another person.
When we choose to focus on people’s virtues, we will love that person…
And when we choose to focus on people’s deficiencies, we will dislike that person.
The way we choose to view other people is completely within our control. To attain the feeling of love, we are obligated to focus on another person’s virtues.
By extension, we will love them.
And the more intimately we know someone and his or her virtues, the deeper our love will become.
On the other hand…
Western culture is heavily influenced by secular ideologies, in this case, the Greek concept of love — Cupid.
You know the story… Cupid flies around with his wings, shoots a man and a woman with an arrow, and — presto! — they’re suddently in love.
This concept of “love” dominates our Western world.
This belief deludes us into believing that love is a mystical “occurrence.”
With this mindset, you don’t work on loving people. It either happens or it doesn’t.
In Western consciousness, love is a stroke of “fate.”
There’s no effort involved.
Love is not based on commitment or on any deep understanding of the person that you love.
In Western style love, two people “fall” in love and get married. They just “happen” to “fall” in love — as if they were victims. Loving someone is not really a choice at all.
So if you really want to get married, all you can do is hold and pray that you Cupid doesn't shoot you again.
It's no surprise that this philosophy has produced a society with a divorce rate of over 50%.
The Jewish outlook, other hand…
is that love is based upon the understanding and appreciation of another’s virtues.
When people are truly committed to focusing on each other’s virtues, they won't “fall” out of love.
No parent ever gets up in the morning and says, “I'm not giving you breakfast because you kept me up last night.”
We don't stop caring about our children just because they annoy us. We don't “fall out of love” with our kids, because we understand that loving our children isn't just an “occurrence.”
It's a responsibility that we are committed to from the time they're born. We know their virtues because as parents except obligation to love them despite the aggravation.
Then all that remains for you is to focus on the good things.
Nothing negative will be holding you back from seeing the merits and loving the other person for their virtues.
The road is now clear for YOU to pay careful attention to perfecting the formula on how to truly love — understanding and focusing on the virtues of another human being.
Attribution: Beatifully spread to the world with minor edits taken from “What the Angel Taught You: Seven Keys to Life Fulfillment” by Rabbi Noah Weinberg, the founder of Aish HaTorah.
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