Is Love Supposed to be Selfless?
Is love supposed to be selfless? If one gains personally from a relationship infused with love, is that considered to be selfish?
At a Chassidic gathering sometime in the 19th century, a heated discussion took place among those gathered. The debate focused on the three primary components that make up Judaism. Namely, G-D, Torah, and the Jewish people. The question was, whilst it is paramount that we are imbued with a love towards all three, which one is most important?
Upon hearing of the discussion, the founder of Chabad, the Alter Rebbe offered the following insight. He said that while it was fundamental to love all of the three above mentioned entities, the love towards a fellow Jew was most central.
The reason he gave was that only by demonstrating that one loves whom the person we love, loves, can we know that our love is genuine.
In other words, as long as we remain at the center of the equation, the love we have towards someone else is self-serving. And when there is no longer anything in it for me, the love fades.
The litmus test for identifying genuine love is when you love what the other person loves.
One can’t love a man or a woman if you don’t love their children. Nor can one love G-d if they don’t love his children, the Jewish people.
This profound insight, which provides brilliant clarity to a complex esoteric idea, is the hallmark of Chabad Chassidic teachings as taught to us by the Chabad Rebbis.
These intensely confusing times make it more compelling to find a brighter light to help us navigate the challenging times in which we are living.