Thursday, December 1, 2011

Shema Israel. Pasuq 2. "You shall love HaShem your God"

The words of the Shema Israel are so important that we say them three times a day, every day of our lives. 

The first thing we are taught in the Shema is to love God. 

"You shall love HaShem your God with all your heart, with all your sold and with all your might." 

Our love for God is a reflection of His love for us. Because He loves us we love Him in return and we must inspire others to love Him.

To love God "with all our heart" means that we are happy just by knowing that He loves us. And if we do wrong, we are unhappy until we ask His pardon and obtain His love again.   How can you make sure that you really love HaShem? When you are happy doing what is right in His eyes, and unhappy when you do what is wrong in His eyes.  On the contrary, if you feel obligated but unhappy to do what is right in His eyes, then you might "fear" God, but not "love" God.
To love God "with all our soul" means to love Him so sincerely that we will willingly give our life for Him.   Our ancestors risked their lives and were willing to be killed and not abjure God. If so many of our ancestors gave up their lives for the sake of HaShem, should not we be willing to live our lives for the sake of HaShem?

Loving HaShem with "all our might" means: with all our possessions, our money, our time.  In this sense we should understand "to love God" as "to prioritize God" over our possessions, our money, our time.  The strength of our love for God is proved by the greatness of the sacrifices we are willing to make for Him.