Love Me Do: Ekev 2022

by Adam J. Rosenbaum

Pre-Game Chatter: How should we define the concept of love? Is it impossible to put into words? Or do the definitions vary widely depending on the person?

The book of Deuteronomy gives us multiple ways to understand perhaps the most important idea in the world:

The Pitch: “Love, therefore, the Lord your God, and always keep His charge, His laws, His rules, and His commandments.” – Deuteronomy 11:1

Swing #1: “Real love is always manifested in concrete actions. Similarly our love for our neighbor must be manifested in our actions towards her – yet, crucially, it is not defined entirely by those actions towards her.” – Shai Held, The Heart of Torah, Volume 2: Essays on the Weekly Torah Portion: Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy

Swing #2: “Foolish men … incline in accord with their natural impulses to the attainment of present pleasure … turning aside from wisdom and the service of the Lord, because of what appears to be the remoteness of the delight and pleasurableness of these things. … Therefore man must devote this quality of love to God, exalted may He be.” – Steven S. Wise, The Improvement of the Moral Qualities

Swing #3: “Since the Lord multiplied you, you are obligated to love Him.” – Ibn Ezra

Late-Inning Questions: How might our commentators understand the essence of love? Is love of God supposed to be a “higher” love than love shared between humans? Can we display love of God by loving people?

On-Deck at TBT: Make sure to tell your friends with young children about this year’s plan for Binah, our supplementary after-school educational program. Click here to register.

The Big Inning at the End: Speaking of love, many baseball fans romanticize players who, above all, love competition and a desire to win. This was perhaps personified most fiercely by Hall of Fame manager Leo Durocher, whose career may have been even better were it not for his ferocious temper. But we must all applaud him for his unabashed public support for Jackie Robinson when Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier. Durocher famously said, “I don’t care if he is yellow or black or has stripes … I’m his manager and I say he plays.”

Shabbat Shalom!