Tuesday, February 14, 2012

With All Your Heart

Have you ever wondered about the connection between love and the heart? Love is a complex emotion. The heart is the organ in the body that is responsible for blood circulation. The two don’t really have any connection other than, perhaps, the fact that feelings of love often release adrenaline, which makes the heart beat faster.

While the origin of the heart-love connection is lost to all, amateur researchers cite the ancient Egyptian myth of Ab, in which the heart of the deceased is weighed on a scale against a feather to determine his/her afterlife destination. After the Egyptians, they next cite Greek/Roman mythology and the culture of the Middle Ages.

Although the Torah contains references to interpersonal love (Isaac loved Rebecca - Genesis 24:67, Jacob loved Rachel - 29:18, etc.), these emotions are generally stated outright. There is, however, one very important scriptural reference in which the heart and love are connected, and this might very well be the root of all such heart-love metaphors.

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:5). While this verse defines how one is to connect to God, it can also be seen as a rudimentary description of how love develops. “With all your heart” describes a love based purely on emotion, which is the first level of love...the one that leads people to date and to marry. “With all your soul” describes the development of a deeper spiritual connection between two people. “With all your might” is a description of true love, when one wants nothing more than to give one’s all to make the other happy.

Copyright © 2012 National Jewish Outreach Program. All rights reserved.

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