Mendy Kaminker
Mendy Kaminker

Love or commitment: which one is more important?

What is more important in marriage? Love or commitment?

I suspect that if a survey was conducted on this issue, those who have never experienced a relationship would point to love as the most important, while those who had or are currently in a relationship would point to commitment.

As a member of the second group, this is my reasoning:

If marriage is like a building, commitment is the foundation. Without a foundation, even the most beautiful building will not last: it would be knocked to the ground as soon as a storm appears.

Yes, love is exciting and filled with passion, but then again, a foundation might be the most boring thing you ever saw. Nevertheless, it is the most fundamental element for the longevity of the building.

The same is true of our relationship with G-d.

We often think of our relationship with G-d in emotional terms. We love G-d, we are grateful for what He does for us, and perhaps we avoid doing the wrong things so as not to “upset Him”.

But, like any other relationship, the foundation must be commitment.

This week’s Torah portion is called “Eikev,” which can also be translated as “heel.” In Chassidic teaching, the heel – the area in the body with the least sensitive skin – symbolizes commitment that precedes feelings.

At a time when we constantly discuss our feelings (and that’s a good thing!) it’s important not to forget commitment.

When we are committed, we stick to it, even when it is difficult.

I think of the Rebbe’s father, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneersohn, whose Yahrzeit we commemorate today.

During the darkest days of Soviet Russia, when Jews were persecuted for their religious beliefs, he served as a Rabbi in Ukraine.

At one point, the government demanded that he certify flour as Kosher for Passover, even though it was not. He refused, knowing well that he will pay dearly for his refusal. Eventually, the government buckled and allowed him to oversee the milling process, ensuring the highest standard of Kashrut for flour made in the Soviet Union!

May we be inspired by Rabbi Levi Yitzchak’s commitment, and may all enjoy meaningful and committed relationships with G-d and our fellows,

About the Author
Rabbi Mendy Kaminker is the Chabad Rabbi of Hackensack, and an editorial member of Chabad.org.
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