Get The Ring: How to Find & Keep the Right One for Life.
Lawrence Kelemen - Part 2
that is, according to these Jews, love is a state that someone goes into, wherein all they want to do is take care of and give to a partner.
Now right away you can start to see the difference between what we mean by love and what these Orthodox Jews mean by love. If I walk up to one of my college students and… I ask a woman, you know, — Do you love him? So she’s an intelligent person so she’ll stop and she’ll think, and she’ll have to ask herself some questions. She’ll say — Well, what does he do for me? What does he make me feel like? How good do I feel when I’m with him? How much does he do for me? How proud am I to be standing next to him? All the questions she’s going to ask herself are questions about “Me” and “I”. When I want to know if I’m in love, from a secular western perspective, the real question I’m asking is — how much selfish pleasure am I deriving from the relationship, and if I derive enough, then I cross this threshold called “love”. But if you pull aside one of these Orthodox Jews and you ask them — Do you love her? So he has to stop and ask himself a completely different set of questions. He has to ask himself — How much am I willing to let go of what I want for her sake? How much am I willing to sacrifice for the sake of my beloved? What am I willing to let go of for her? It’s all about “her”, “her”, “her”. It’s all about the other. Ahava, I will give. If I want to know if I’m in love, if I’m in ahava from a Jewish perspective, so then the whole question is — how much am I willing to let go of for the sake of the other.
Now if the definitions of love in our culture versus this Orthodox Jewish culture are diametrically opposed, expectedly that would lead to drastic differences in the definition of marriage, and it does. The word “marriage”, if you look it up in a dictionary, you’ll find that it means “a merger of two or more corporate entities”. It’s a business arrangement. We talk all the time about how the key to marriage is compromise. Fifty/fifty deal. I’ll do for you, you do for me. I’ll take out the trash, you do the dishes. I’ll earn the money, you take care of the kids. And it’s a great marriage as long as we’re both compromising, we’re both doing our half of the deal. Like any good corporate arrangement. But of course, if I refuse to do my half of the deal, so you’ll legitimately say — Hey, this is not fair. I’m doing the dishes, why don’t you take out the trash? I’m earning the money, why aren’t you taking care of the kids. And in fact, because marriage is a corporate arrangement, so divorce is not uncommon, because the marriage is only viable as long as both parties are doing their share.
The Jewish perspective is different because Orthodox Jews, they believe that the model of a perfect spouse is God. They have this wild belief that human beings were created in the image of God, and because they were created in the image of God they have God-like potential. And therefore, at least in terms of character, they could become like God. Now if you add to this that they believe that God is pure ahava, He is pure giving. All He wants to do is to take care of… in fact that's
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