Are You in Love with Love?
By Rabbi David Aaron
love is a process of getting to know somebody. To love you I have to get to know
you because how can I make a big space inside of me to include you if I don't know
who you are? So if I just met you, I can't even begin to know who you are. However,
I might spend a great deal of time with you over long periods and still not know
My friend David was going out with a woman to whom he ultimately became engaged.
Then, one day, shortly before the wedding, he went to see her. It was raining outside
and he had borrowed a friend's raincoat, which just happened to be one of those
hip Australian oilskins like those that ranchers in the outback wear. He came into
her house, and she took one look at him and said, "Just like I've always pictured
"What do you mean-in the rain? What are you talking about?"
"That's how I've always seen you-riding on the range."
"But I've never even been on a horse," David said.
At that moment he realized that, with the coat, he looked something like the Marlboro
Man, and maybe she was picturing him as somebody else. Maybe she had somebody else
in mind and had only projected her image of what she wanted onto him. And suddenly
it hit him. The whole time they were dating, she was "cheating" on him. She was
seeing another man, and that man was him. She was in love with her fantasy, not
with who he really was.
People are often in love with love. They are fantasizing their own love story. What
they don't realize is that it isn't this person whom they love. This person merely
represents the person they want to love. They love love, not the person they are
with.Because truly, they don't even know the person they are with. That's a very
Love is a process of getting to know somebody. Because how can I make a big space
inside of me to include you, if I don't know who you are? So, if I just met you,
I can't even begin to know who you are. Indeed, I might even spend a great deal
of time with you over a long period of time and still not know you.
There is a wonderful Hassidic story of two men who are enjoying a drink together,
and the one guy says to the other. "You know you are my best friend. I love you."
And the other guy responds, "Oh yeah? If you really love me, tell me what's hurting
Of course, he is saying, if you love me, you know me -- you know what's hurting
All too often when we realize that we don't know the other person, that is when
we realize that we are not in love.
In the movie, The Graduate, in which a young man is having an affair with the mother
of his own fiancé, there is a scene that brings home this point. Dustin Hoffman
tells Ann Bancroft, who is playing the mother, that he can't go on with the affair
And she looks at him with eyes of love and asks what's wrong. "I love you!" she
But he says he can't do this anymore.
She presses: "Why not?"
"Because," he says, "I don't even know your first name, Mrs. Robinson."
They are having an affair, she loves him, but he doesn't even know her first name!
This is actually the problem with the relationship between the first man and woman
in the Garden of Eden. It was love at first sight. "And Adam said, ' this is flesh
of my flesh, bone of my bone: she shall be called woman, because she was taken out
of man.'" This was the original fall in love. Only after the sin and the tension
it caused in their relationship that Adam recognizes the woman deserves her own
name. "And Adam called his wife's name Eve..." Prior to the sin he did not acknowledge
her as an independent character with a name. He did not appreciate her uniqueness,
nor did he sufficiently respect her as an individual, who is other than himself.
He saw his wife only in terms of himself; as an extension of himself. He was man
and she was woman. They were essentially one and the same. He was enthralled with
their oneness; however, he failed to see that she was other than himself, another
human being, with her own character.
Only after the breakdown in their relationship did their quest and work for true
oneness and love start. Only then did he acknowledge her as different and other
than him. Now he is Adam and she is Eve. Now they are different and now they can
do the work to get to know each other, making the space to include each other, help
each other and become one. It is very significant that only then does the Torah
tell us, “And Adam knew his wife Eve.”
Rabbi David Aaron,
Founder and Dean of the Isralight
Institute, is recognized internationally as an expert on the Kabbalah and is best
selling author of:
Seeing God: Ten Life Changing Lessons of the Kabbalah,
Endless Light : The Ancient Path of Kabbalah ,
The Secret Life of God: Discovering the Divine within You