Jewish and Israeli “Love Day” 2013/5773

Love? is there any Love Day? Yom HaAhavah/יום האהבה ? A reversed and Israeli or Jewish way to have some Saint Valentine day? Some try to copy, duplicate, cut and paste the Western or European trendy feast.
Love is at the heart of the Jewish tradition. Thus and subsequently it impacted on Christianity since Jesus was definitely a Jew with regards to “love” and what it means.
Think it over: two “things” are never challenged or denied, rejected by Jesus: priesthood that is the first evidence of Jewish identity and call from the womb of a mother. And “marriage, wedding”. Eunuchs are mentioned as a tradition, but marriage is cited by Jesus as the first and evident call to “leave father and mother and clutch to a woman” (Gen. 2:24 & Matthew 19:5 – Mark 10:7 – Ephesians 5:31).
This day commemorates the day when the women, the widows of the spies, the men that had died because they had lied and deceived Moses after their journey to explore the Holy Land. They asked Moses to find new men and birth babies. It has nothing to do with true love. It is more a very feminine instinct to build up the future, give birth and secure that new generations will develop history.
It reminds us that life depends on women and that every life depends on this reality. Jewishness is quite aware of that in the Tradition, even if denials do exist and strongly affect a correct understanding of human relationships. On this day, women could also go through the fields and streets and try to find a man. It is some normal action of “wooing, flirting, “hunting””. It mainly explains that God is the Only One Who loves, that love is a special name and word in Hebrew = it means a unique connection with the ahavah/אהבה , i.e. the 13 Attributes or Middot/י”ג מידות of loving-kindness and fullfillment, plenitude of existence.
Judaism has progressively learnt what “love” means: Abraham buried his wife Sarah, but he was “kind” to her. Isaac was strongly attracted to Rebecca. Yaakov/Israel loved Rachel and worked 7 more years to marry her. Love comes from God and is a sign of high consciousness, awareness, conscience of what the human beings can and should be. God loves.
We are called or tend and aim to love. Love is not only sexual. The word does not mean a lot in hebrew: “sex comes from Latin “sctare: to cut, separate”, while “min/מין” is linked to questions: “who, what, how, out of what, out of where, what for and where to” if compared to Aramaic and Hebrew, Bible and Oral Tradition alike.
Love is not physical, bodily or sexually oriented only. It is mental, emotional, beyond patterns and frames. Love is indeed in that sense the highest level of humane existence. It is also the highest form of freedom: nobody can impose love, buy or sell love. These are not words. Love enhances, makes individuals and societies grow.
It is not limited to space, cultures, languages, rules, activities, poverty or wealth. Love includes and “obliges” to pardon and atonement, forgiveness. In that sense, “love” is like “Hebrew/ivri = עברי ”: it transcends and “goes over, beyond, overcomes and surpasses barriers. It is also one sign of the “Spirit”. Love can make people blind or err, wander.
True love leads to some specific goals usually unknown and creative. Love knows how individuals can feel lonely, abandoned. It corrects self-centeredness, selfishness, pretence and compels to discover, share, give and not crunches but to be generous. This means that it is so far of Divine nature. Religious people are often considered as professional preachers for “love”: switch on, click and you get it, quite often from persons or institutions that whistle like parrots try to utter some coherent words and phrases.
Love is an action that makes sense and can be ascertained by true acts that confirm and testify for the veracity of mental and spiritual convictions.Thus, it is not a paradox to mention the Israeli and Jewish Love Day, in particular with the decision of the women to come and speak with Moses. It also deeply relates to Christianity.
Theologians have reflected at length on it means that Jesus “gave a new commandment to love each other as he loved/loves us” (Joh n13:34). Generation after generation, from the Sinai till today – just this very day of today – clergy and lay people of all creeds have tried to make distinctions: new as in opposition to so-called “old = Biblical”.
Love precisely relies on realities that cannot be segmented, fragmented. The women asked Moses for new men whatever tribe they belonged to, breaking and rendering vain the separation that had existed between and among the Tribes of Israel. This is exactly what Jesus achieved because he meant that there is no difference among any of you, us, any living soul. Love is at that level.
Love calls to confidence: our generation often lacks confidence, self-reliance, self-confidence. When we confide in ourselves and somehow to the others, we can walk ahead. It is the real meaning of “emunah/אמונה = faith” that has a large scope in our mental apprehension of life.
Love needs to wake up and there is no use to wake it up before it should come to “consciousness”. “… do not wake, do not awake love before (He) pleases (to God)” (Song of the Songs 2:7) shows a measure that seems to utopic or impossible to reach, useless. Thus, love can cause jealousy and hatred. It is still “strong as death/חזק כמות ” (Song 8:6). Indeed, each of us was born alone and naked and leaves life alone, but the length of love is of no humanly seizable dimension. A day of love, goodness, reflection too.
av aleksandr (Winogradsky Frenkel)

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