True Love

By Basya Feldman, Brighton, MA
Essays 2016

MyLife Essay Contest 2016


What is true love, really? How can we implement a Torah inspired love that does not reflect some of the unhealthy “romantic” or crass material that bombards us everywhere we turn? This is a sometimes confusing yet very important question.

What is real love? Not clouded by cravings for self-gratification, or the need to fill up a nagging, existential, emptiness or the need to conform to society’s expectations and mimic the external displays of affection that are so often misleading and contrary to everyday reality?

How do we transcend this? How can we, as G-ds chosen carriers of His infinite wisdom think, feel, and act out of love at its highest level?

We all know that this is an important topic, we know from Rabbi Akiva, and we know from Hillel who stood on one foot when asked for the whole Torah and said  “Do not do to your fellow what you would not want done to yourself.”

It is written in the 32nd Chapter of Tanya, written by the father of Chabad Chassidus, the Alter Rebbe – “They all have one father, one source, and within that they comprise of one entitiy…only the bodies are distinct from each other”

This entire world, all that we have and will ever know, is all one entity. “Ain Od Milvado” There is nothing besides Him.

What does this really mean and how does this apply practically?

It means…that love is easy.

Yes, you read that right. Love is easy. We do not have to create it; we do not have to fix it. All we have to do is uncover it.

In of Chapter Three of Tanya it is explained that there are three levels G-dly revelation in this world. Two of which are relevant to this concept:

There is that which is Kadosh- holy, that which is obviously G-dly, that which is openly cherished, respected, and appreciated- a Torah scroll for example. Then there is that klipat nogah- a shell. This is not-as-obviously G-dly.- an apple for example. An apple can be used to litter, which would degrade it, and conceal its awesome potential, or an apple can be acknowledged as the aspect of G-dliness that it is. This can be achieved by being grateful for the apple, that it has come from G-d, that it has been made by and with G-d, and by using the energy from eating it to further positive progress in the world (G-ds world).

We, the people, are all part of G-d- we are all connected. One person’s best interest is in everybody’s best interest. And what do we call it when your best interest is my priority? We call that love. So yes, we all love each other, we all love ourselves. All we need to do is tune in- to how connected we truly are even though our bodies may appear to be separate- all we need to do is reveal it. So we do not have to create love, we just have to feel it and see it- and the action will follow.

So how do we tune into this true love?? How do we tune into the oneness that we are all comprised of, that can potentially be so beautiful and earth shattering when revealed?

  1. Buy yourself a book that just came out, called the The Universal Inspiration Project (available on Amazon). When you do a good deed for another person, you write it in the book and pass it along to them, and then they do a good deed for somebody else, write it down and pass it to another person and so on. When the book is full, it is given to a local library. This is a project that can help us all realize how much our loving actions can impact the world in an exponential way, and how connected we really are.
  2. Connect to the Creator. The more profound your relationship is with G-d, the deeper it will be towards your fellow people and all of G-ds creations- when you pray, pray sincerely and pray for all of us, pray with the knowledge that everything ripples, and the best interest of other people, all of humanity, is in your best interest.
  3. Love yourself. You cannot love others if you do not love yourself. Everybody you encounter is reflecting you and your self-talk. Speak to yourself nicely and others will be nice to you. Appreciate yourself. Compliment yourself, all the while acknowledging that you are innately great, but even greater when you channel the Infinite Force of G-d. Your love for yourself, when combined with this humbling mentality will result in an overflowing of love from yourself that will ripple to the rest of the world.
  4. Feel the love. We all know that feeling- the soft, encompassing, tickling in the heart center. If you are having a hard time loving- yourself, another person, a future activity, a past negativity, or the present moment, think about something or somebody that you really love, that is easy to love- whether it’s a baby sibling, a cousin, or a friend, or something that is exhilarating for you. Close your eyes and feel that feeling. Just breathe. Now imagine that loving feeling spreading from your heart center throughout your entire body- lighting you up all the way.

You are love. You were created when two people partnered with the Creator to multiply His loving existence. You are and always will be connected to the oneness of everything. When you see the world this way, the way it truly is, loving is easy.