May 25, 2012

Shavuot: "Unconditional Love"

Shavuot: "Unconditional Love"
(c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor
In honor of my mother, my teacher, Ruby Eisenberg-Creditor

We read the Scroll of Ruth on Shavuot, the day we harvest our fields and the day we stood at Sinai.  What is the unconditional love the rabbis believed connected Naomi and Ruth, a mother and daughter-in-law who traversed life's complicated journey together.? It is, as the rabbis put it, 'sofo lehitkayem' (destined to be fulfilled). A love built to last.

How might we become blessed by this greatest of all loves? By loving unconditionally, by granting those closest and farthest from us the right to be right, the space to dream their own dream, and - perhaps hardest of all - to love us on THEIR terms. That means that, while every one of us aches for and is worthy of love, the form that love takes is going to be shaped by the giver's soul, not the receiver's. No matter the shape of my love-intake valve, if I truly love another, my intake valve is ready and blessed to learn to receive love shaped by my another.

And what is the example of this mature and deep shared love? Torah. This world is only physical. The dimension of reality we inhabit can only know, perceive, and contain that which exists in space and time. But Jewish tradition, the unfolding of Torah we celebrate on Shavuot, invites us to allow the love-intake valve of our world to receive God's Love, an Eternal Love that knows no limit. God stirred in my ancestors' hearts and stirs in mine.

God, or the Life-force of the Universe, or the Collective Potential of the Human Imagination, or Source of All, is beyond the paltry words we use as pointers. We can't define Infinity. But we yearn to feel its reassuring presence.

It doesn't make sense. The words don't fit. But, as tradition teaches, Love only requires a small crack to enter. The question we face, we who ache to love and be loved unconditionally, is one we are blessed to hear by virtue of having souls.

Open your heart just a crack, and allow the strange shape of God to find a way to love you right.

May that be the Torah we receive and the harvest we share.

Amen.

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Rabbi Menachem Creditor
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