Allen S. Maller

In the new year; enfold yourself in Divine Love

The Mitsvah to love comes directly after the Sh’ma to teach us four lessons:

1-You can’t love if you don’t listen first.

2-Loving is the submersion of the “I” into the “WE”. Thus love may entail self-sacrifice, but not sacrifice of others.

3-Love is not primarily a feeling; it is mostly action, a daily decision. Thus love needs to be manifested through deeds of love and kindness—Mitsvot.

4-Loving is a unique inter-active relationship. Thus God and Israel chose each other to make a partnership covenant; just as a loving married couple chooses to becomes one couple. As the Song of Songs says, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine. (2:16)

In ten ways love for God manifests itself:

1-Loving God means spreading love among people. A Jewish God lover should avoid all unethical acts involving Jews or non-Jews so as not to desecrate God’s name.

2-Loving God means loving Torah and those who study and teach Torah.

3-Loving God means enjoying serving people more than consuming products.

4-Loving God means doing more than the minimum requirements when doing Mitsvot.

5-Loving God means not being excessively strict with oneself or with others. As Scripture states: “Be not overly righteous, and do not make yourself too wise. Why should you destroy yourself?” (Ecclesiastes 7:16) For God commands, “Love your neighbor as [much as] you love yourself.” (Leviticus 19:18)

6-Loving God means inspiring all people to draw closer to God, and welcoming non-Jews who want to become Jewish into the Jewish community. As God commands, “Love the stranger that lives with you.” (Leviticus 19:34)

7-Loving God means being grateful for and constantly blessing all God’s goodness; and not expecting a reward for your Mitsvot here or in the hereafter.

8-Loving God means loving the Jewish People who are covenanted to God, loving all humans who are created in God’s image, and loving all God’s other creatures.

9-Loving God means being willing to share your comforts, your ego and your life in order to serve God.

10-Loving God means: ‘LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, ALL YOUR SOUL, AND ALL YOUR MIGHT’ (Deuteronomy 6:5) HEART means feelings, SOUL means self-conscious moral intelligence, and MIGHT means wealth or bodily attributes.

God redeemed Israel physically in Egypt, emotionally at the Sea of Reeds, and intellectually at Sinai. Thus we should love God physically by doing Mitsvot, emotionally by singing and enjoying God’s blessings, and intellectually by studying Torah.

About the Author
Rabbi Allen S. Maller has published over 850 articles on Jewish values in over a dozen Christian, Jewish, and Muslim magazines and web sites. Rabbi Maller is the author of "Tikunay Nefashot," a spiritually meaningful High Holy Day Machzor, two books of children's short stories, and a popular account of Jewish Mysticism entitled, "God, Sex and Kabbalah." His most recent books are "Judaism and Islam as Synergistic Monotheisms' and "Which Religion Is Right For You?: A 21st Century Kuzari" both available on Amazon.
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