Thursday, July 29, 2010

Vaetchanan Discussion

At Shabbat Services we discussed the Shema and V'Ahavta, and in particular the command to love the Lord your God.  I asked how does one love God?  When is it easy?  When is it difficult?  The answers varied, but many agreed that love of  God is most pronounced when one needs God, especially when one is asking for healing.  When such prayers are not answered, when our struggles intensifies and is even lost, many feel it is difficult to love God.  This view is analogous to the parent-child relationship where the child defines love by needs.  I also suggested that there are those who profess a love for God but do not live it and there are others who live day in and day out a loved of God but find it difficult to profess.  We discussed two opposing views from our tradition, that of the Midrash who argues that we love God by loving people and the Sefat Emet who suggests that our natural inclination is to love God but the daily grind and clutter of living gets in the way.  I am unsure if the Sefat Emet is right and that this is indeed our natural inclination.  I worry that his view would lead us in an ascetic direction.  I oppose such tendencies and would therefore vote with the Midrash.  The only thing I can be certain of is loving others.  I hope this will lead me to loving God.  I believe that the only way to love God is to love others.

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