Re: Discussion topic: Learning what to love
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Re: Discussion topic: Learning what to love

July 09, 2018 07:25PM
Dear Shalom,

I agree with Meshulam Gotlieb's quoted stated goal of Rabbi Sacks that teaching our children to love our legacy is of paramount importance. This is a wonderful positive paradigm. A love based Judaism definitely can attract and keep more adherents than a fear based approach.

This is the gist of the Rambam's 3rd mitzvah listed in his Sefer HaMitzvot. The Rambam concludes the Mitzvah of loving Hashem by describing Abraham Avinu's missionary zeal to spread monotheism to others as an exemplar of how to love God that is an amazing biographical Biblical image of love and devotion that is powerful to study and teach.

Earlier in that Mitzvah the Rambam quotes the Sifrei that answers the question of how is it possible to come to love God by stating one must learn Torah and that will lead one to love Hashem. There is a version of the Sifrei that states more specifically one should learn Agadah and that will lead one to an awareness and love of the creator. This was the answer Rav Kook gave to Isadore Epstein in England when he asked him how it was possible to have greater love and appreciation for Hashem.

I also believe that loving a Jewish legacy is easier said than done in a world where sometimes paradise is lost. Merely espousing or even teaching sources about an emotional connection like love, especially of an elusive God or a heritage filled with bittersweet history may ring hollow to some jaded youth.

A way to possibly help overcome despair and infuse love for legacy in the face of adversity is finding those rare unique positive individuals we periodically encounter who somehow rise above and transcend life's vicissitudes with a smile. We should seek opportunities to introduce these people to others as role models of grace either in person, story, or film. These heroic personalities often can do more to transmit love for their lot in life in ways that a text book can not. These text people can span generational divides by being the change we want to see in others.

I recall one such story from a former teacher about his father, Rav Moshe Shwab who was the Mashgiach of the Gateshead yeshiva. Rabbi Shwab made it a point to always smile when he entered the Beit Midrash. When on one occasion his son knew his father was understandably upset about a serious matter he asked his father why he always made it a point to smile in the Beit Midrash? His father told him that he never wanted students to associate negativity with Torah or Hashem and his facial expression sent a message to others about the positive loving attitude one should cultivate towards Hashem and Torah study.

Another one of those individuals, Victor Frankl, provided a teachable approach to overcoming hate induced sorrow and remaining capable of love. His classic "Man's Search for Meaning" espouses finding meaning as the key to remaining positive and loving in the face of adversity.

A contemporary classic guide book for combating a sometimes jaded or occasionally uncaring millennial cultural attitude is "12 Rules for Life" by Jordan Peterson. There he eloquently states, "Meaning is the way, the path of life more abundant, the place you live when you are guided by Love and speaking Truth and when nothing you want or could possibly want takes any precedence over precisely that" ( p. 201).

We should all strive to make a conscious choice to (sincerely) role model our loving attitude towards our heritage in order to impact others even when we may not feel like it. It isn't always simple, but it is always meaningful and worthwhile.


Elisha Paul

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/09/2018 07:27PM by mlb.
Subject Author Posted

Discussion topic: Learning what to love

Meshulam Gotlieb July 05, 2018 12:32PM

Re: Discussion topic: Learning what to love

Yaakov Blau July 08, 2018 05:42AM

Re: Discussion topic: Learning what to love

Chaya Neugroschl July 08, 2018 05:44AM

Re: Discussion topic: Learning what to love

Jon A. Levisohn July 09, 2018 07:22PM

Re: Discussion topic: Learning what to love

Elisha Paul July 09, 2018 07:25PM

Re: Discussion topic: Learning what to love

Yaakov Bieler July 09, 2018 07:30PM

Re: Discussion topic: Learning what to love

Moshe Drelich July 12, 2018 09:55AM

Re: Discussion topic: Learning what to love

Tzvika Kanarek July 17, 2018 07:02AM

Transmitting our Vision to the Next Generation

Aaron Ross July 17, 2018 07:03AM

Re: Discussion topic: Learning what to love

Russell Jay Hende July 31, 2018 10:06PM


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