Is Love About Taking or Giving?
Parshat Re’eh



Would you define love as selfish or selfless? Is it a need like other human needs (like shelter, clothing and food), albeit a more sublime need, but still a need (for comfort, companionship, intimacy), or is it something more?

Is love just another element of survival, as Schopenhauer notoriously wrote (“love is based on an illusion and represents what is an advantage to the species as an advantage to the individual… he is surprised to find that after all his lofty, heroic, and endless attempts to further his own pleasure he has obtained but little; and contrary to his expectation, he finds that he is no happier than he was before. He discovers that he has been the dupe of the will of the species”), or is love truly transcendent. Is love impermanent or everlasting?

The mere fact that this remains a question testifies to the mystery and paradox of love, leaving us wondering whether love is about taking or about giving. On one hand, the driving passion of love and the extreme efforts man will make to attain love, seems to indicate that is a need like no other, and it is fueled by an essential human requirement. On the the other, the great lengths we will go to sacrifice our own needs for someone we love would suggest that love is far different than just another selfish need.

Please join Rabbi Jacobson in this Elul workshop and discover how four words — I to my beloved and my beloved to me (ani l’dodi v’dodi li) — contain the secret to true and lasting love, with the emphasis on lasting and enduring love. Everyone can find fleeting love, but how do we find eternal love? Learn the counter-intuitive truth about love: The more you take the less you get. The more give the more you get. And the ultimate paradox: The less you focus on yourself, the more yourself you become.


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Parshat Re’eh”

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