Love is all you need
Short Essays written on a variety of different Jewish concepts.
The Rabbis tell us that the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed 2,000 years ago at this time of year because of causeless hatred. I understand them to be saying that God is much more interested in how we relate to each other than how we relate to Him. It’s no good to be a holy person, worshipping God in His Temple, yet be disinterested in other human beings. It just doesn’t work. It’s very similar to parents and children. I’m much more interested in my children loving each other, than in their loving me. If my kids don’t love me, that’s a shame – but I’m a big boy and it’s not the end of my world. But when my kids don’t love each other and fight – that’s really hard for me to handle.
The Rabbis say that a Temple that was destroyed because of hatred will be rebuilt only through love, so I thought I’d talk just a little bit about love. The Torah defines love as the pleasurable feeling one experiences when one sees goodness in another human being. When we experience Godliness in others, when we see through the window of their virtues into their gorgeous soul, we feel love towards them.
There is not a single person in this world who is not created in God’s image. There is not a single person who cannot be loved deeply and passionately. There are 6 billion people out there for us to love – so much pleasure for us to experience. People are so full of goodness if we would but notice. But we can become so complacent that we can come into contact with holy and precious souls every day – and see them simply as objects in our world. It’s just a matter of focus. When you travel to work, look around at people and notice their goodness. It’s not hard to see if you are interested in doing so. And it’s much more fun than sitting on the tube and being miserable.
I always tell couples whom I’m marrying, but it works outside of marriage also, to make a list of each other’s virtues and keep adding to that list throughout their marriage. I’m getting on for 100 with my own list and add to it regularly. Because a human soul is infinite, you can never reach the ceiling of loving another person. There is always more to know about them, always more to appreciate, always more to understand – always more love to be felt. Love has no limits. So make your list and keep adding to it.
It’s such a pleasure to love other people and such a shame to miss out on the pleasure just because we’re so distracted. Notice the goodness in others; be welcoming of it, not resistant to it; learn to allow it to jump out at you. Love doesn’t just happen; it’s a choice that we make, a direction we choose to look in. Disliking or being indifferent to people only brings us down, but loving them – there’s nothing better. Through love will the Temple be rebuilt, through love of each other, will we find our relationship with God. We are all His children, brothers and sisters on this world together. Loving is such a more beautiful way to live.