אהבה Ahavah means love. We all want love in our lives. As we start the “Head of the Year” it is a time to discover or re-discover the love in ourselves and in our world. The Yamim Noraim, the days of awe gently point us toward love in our lives, for awe is not only the beginning of Wisdom, it is the foundation of love. I am in awe of the amazing person whom I call wife. I am in awe of my children and my grandchildren and I am in awe of the Godding process that is love. The Hebrew root of love is אהב and those 3 letters are awesome in their teaching. the first letter, א alef, is also the first letter of the Hebrew Alef-Bet. It is silent and infinite and coaxes us to look within and find love in and of our soul, love of our self. Looking inward in those quiet moments of meditation, we can discover self-love. we discover the depth of soul and the goodness, the ‘Godness’ that is within. Loving the self is the first step in our process of bringing love to our lives and a world that is desperate need of love. I look at myself, ‘warts and all’ and find that I can be comfortable in my body and in my soul. That comfort, that love allows me to look out on the world in a more compassionate way. It helps me move into the world with love and care and joy.
The ה Hey is the love of G. In G’s sacred name we find 2 heys. It represents the love that we send out and the love that we take in. G is always emanating, always ‘Godding and it would be so wonderful to connect to that love which flows from the Godding process. There is an old Jewish idea that G wears a Tallis and that we are reaching to hang on to G’s Tzitzit. My Rebbe begins his davenin every morning by saying: “G, I hope that I give you a good ride today!” We cry out to G in our despair and if we go deep enough, we call out in joy to G when life is good. In both ways we can access G’s love and offer love to the Source of love. The Tfilah that we say 3 times a day begins with 3 praises, continues with 13 requests and ends with 3 thanks and hope for a better world. The Tfilah is an offering of and request for love with the Wholly One, from whom all love flows.
The ב Bet is the second letter of the Alef Bet. It is the number 2 in Hebrew and represents the love we have for the other. In deep inter-personal relations, for lover, friend, child, parent or “the stranger in our midst” we are encouraged to love our neighbor as ourselves. That love connects the inner and the outer realms and brings a wholeness to our lives. My grandfather זצ’ל would say: “A friend is someone who knows all your faults and likes you anyway.” That compassion that we receive and return informs how we live our lives and can be of great comfort and true joy.
א ה ב Alef Hey Bet the love of self, the love of G and the love of another makes us whole and is our part to play in creation. We are taught that G created the world but did not complete it. Completing creation is our task and that task’s greatest tool is love אהב.