Lessons from the Shema Prayer
The mitzvah of loving G-d, V’ohavto es Hashem Elokhecho – stated in this week’s Torah portion – is one of the most fundamental (as well as one of the most famous) principles in Judaism, recited several times daily in the Shema prayer.
But what does this – so common and perhaps taken for granted – directive really mean? Does G-d need our love? What significance and value can the love of mortal creatures have before Almighty G-d? And what is the purpose of this command – what is accomplished by us loving G-d?
The Baal Shem Tov, offers us a novel and radical interpretation of this mitzvah. And one that sheds a new light on the meaning and root of human suffering and the power of love in face of distress, teaching us an incredible lesson how our attitude impacts our pain.