Rabbi Lawrence Kelemen wrote a part of this book
Let me quote bits and pieces from Rabbi Lawrence Kelemen, he lectures on Medieval and Modern Jewish Philosophy…
There’s a Hebrew word which is often translated as “love”. It is the Hebrew word for love, but I don’t think it means the same thing that we in the West mean when we say “love”. The Hebrew word is ahava. Ahava is… the word hav conjugated. Hav means “to give”. Ahav is “I will give”. Ahava is the state of “I will giveness”, 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. 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. The Jewish perspective is different because Orthodox Jews, they believe that the model of a perfect spouse is God.
The Jewish perspective is different because Orthodox Jews, they believe that the model of a perfect spouse is God. …
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 why He created the whole universe, so that there should be someone to care for, someone to give to. That’s what they believe. Then He is the model spouse. He just gives and gives and gives, and He really doesn’t want anything back. All he wants is our welfare, what’s good for us.
In fact, they don’t even have the word “marriage” in their vocabulary. The word they use, the Hebrew word, nissuin, nissuin is the plural of the word “carry“. Their word for marriage is the word “carryings“.
Listen especially to this next bit…
One of the rabbis once explained to me, “Why do we call marriage “carryings”? He said, “Because on the day of the wedding you step underneath the marriage canopy, you pick up your spouse and you say — I won’t put her down no matter how heavy she gets.“
Nice visual image huh? If I did that for my (future) wife, I’m sure she would feel absolutely secure in our relationship.
The idea is that I’m getting married because I’m so full of love, that is, I’m so full of ahava, that is I’m so full of the need to give, that I want to take full time responsibility for somebody else for the rest of their life. I want to care for them in every single way.
Now listen to this…
When a person has a desire to care for somebody else, to take care of them, then it’s time to start looking for a partner who they can take care of. So what you’re saying is that readiness for marriage is not marked by some vague feeling of wanting to settle down or by a desire to satisfy my own needs for love and security. The mark of readiness is rather the feeling that I’m prepared to make a deep commitment to somebody outside myself.
Is that profound?
Marriage as defined by Hollywood is not at all like this. A Hollywood marriage makes ME feel good. “WE” are intended to make “ME” feel good. Or perhaps “WE” are meant to make “US” feel good. God showed me something a short while back. One day someone explained to me that the right time to have a baby is when a couple has enough love left over to share it with another person. When the couple is prospering, and they have love to share, THAT is the right time to have a baby. That is also ahava. When a couple has love to give. Givings. Carryings. A deep committment to someone outside of myself.
Hmmm… so the right time for me to be with someone is when I’m a lot less self centered than I currently am… (way back in 2010)… when I have more to give and share… when I’m willing to carry someone else and nourish and cherish and protect that someone else.