Debbie Franks Cosmic Ordering Guide to Life, Love and Happiness

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It is used in this sense for David and Jonathan, to express natural friendship i Sam. On the other hand, Isaac, for instance, is said to "love" game as Rebekah knew to prepare it Gen.

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Common sense tells that the "love" that these verses require the Israelite to extend to his fellow citizen and to the metic residing in Israel is consideration, or, as Jewish tradition realistically defines it, not treating them in a manner in which one would resent being treated so the interpretation of Pseudo-Jonathan, Lev.

In the Bible, the object of the divine love is generally the people of Israel. The two passages where Jerusalem is presented as the object of God's love Ps.

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The relation of God to His people is conceived as a union marked by love on one side and demanding a corresponding love on the other. This reciprocal love of God and the people is expressed in categories of familial or social unity: father-son relationship, marriage analogy, or covenantal love.

The doctrine of God's love for Israel, and the imperative necessity of Israel's love for God are rarely found in the first four books of the Bible, but they constitute the basic principles of the Deuteronomic teaching.

The Lord's love for Israel is there viewed as the result of His election, manifested in the covenant and sanctioned by it. This clearly appears in Deuteronomy —8, where the divine love for Israel is mentioned paralleling the oath sworn by God in the rite of the covenant-making, and is ultimately justified by God's free choice. His free and personal love to Israel is manifested above all in the deliverance from Egypt. This primal love of the Lord for Israel Deut. Love in Deuteronomy is therefore a love that God can command: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might" Deut.

It is also a love intimately related to fear and reverence Deut. Above all, it is a love which must be expressed in obedience to the requirements of the law. For to love God is to be loyal davaq to Him Deut. It is, in brief, a love defined by and pledged in the covenant.


If the people appear to be unworthy of the divine love because of its ingratitude or infidelity, the love will change into wrath. Moran has established the relationship of this Deuteronomic concept of love with the ideology and the terminology of ancient Oriental treaties, from the 18 th to the 7 th centuries b. This use of the term "love" is no innovation of the author of Deuteronomy , which is generally considered the earliest reference to the love of God in Deuteronomy. Since Judges belongs most likely to the original Song of Deborah and uses the expression "those who love Him," it is probable that the term "love" goes back to a very early period in the Israelite covenant tradition.

The formula "those who love Me" appears also in the passage of Exodus and Deuteronomy , which belongs to the Decalogue. The father-son relationship in Deuteronomy, which reflects the very ancient Israelite concept of Israel as the Lord's son cf. If there is tenderness in this relationship as seen in Deuteronomy ; —11; Isaiah ; Jeremiah ; ; and Hosea , the Lord is in Deuteronomy the father who does not spare the rod, but this divine chastening is considered in Proverbs —12 as a sign of the divine love.

Israel appears as a disobedient son also in Isaiah and He is disloyal even to the point of turning away from the Father to other gods Deut. God intervenes then as one who is angry with his sons for their disloyalty Deut. In Deuteronomy , the relationship between father and son as applied to God and Israel is a motive to obey a particular command. It is thus clearly akin to the covenantal love, which should exist between the suzerain and the vassal, called respectively father and son in the diplomatic terminology of the ancient Near East cf.

Malachi parallels the son with the servant, and expects reverence from each. Since covenantal love involves reverential fear, there may be here a later offshoot of the same tradition. It may reasonably be inferred, therefore, that the ancient Israelite concept of Israel as God's son is very close to the Deuteronomic conception of covenantal love between God and Israel, though it is also associated with the current imagery of father and son.

The husband-wife metaphor of Hosea 2 recurs in the earliest poems of Jeremiah Jer.

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Ezekiel, too, knew the symbolism of the marriage Ezek. This was the historical turning point with which the prophets were confronted. Nevertheless, the people was the Lord's people, the chosen people, the object of God's love. What would become of the election and of the divine plan for Israel if the "repudiation" became definitive? A tension ensued between God's love and God's wrath. Even the end of Judah as an independent state did not mean the complete annihilation of the nation. The reason is that Israel is precious in the Lord's eyes, and is loved by the Lord.

In Hosea it is expressly said that God of His own free will and love will heal the faithlessness of His people.

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Ezekiel emphasizes that the Lord will restore Israel, but not because of her fidelity to the covenant Ezek. A few texts affirm that God loves the righteous Ps. Such texts are relatively rare: the Lord's love is almost exclusively love for Israel, the elect people. Even the prophets never say that the Lord "loves" other peoples, or that mankind is an object of His love; but God's actions in Israel's history are dictated by His love. The same is true of His punitive educative work as well as of His gracious gifts in the continued course of history. This is the main theme of the biblical theology of love, probably because the divine love is generally conceived as related to the covenant.

The love for God is sometimes signified in an indirect way, without mentioning the divine name. Thus when Amos exhorts the people to "love the good," he intends the justice demanded by the divine law cf. Micah ; Ps. Of course, the author meant by law, the stipulations of the covenant. The love of wisdom Prov.

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Kayatz, Studien zu Proverbien 1 — 9 , 98— The biblical passages mentioning the love for the Temple or Jerusalem Isa. The Song of Songs has been called the world's greatest love poetry. In range of imagery, lyric quality, and personal insight, it has taught the true nature of love to much of mankind. While it was admitted to the Bible only after a struggle, and then, apparently, because it was seen as an allegory of the love of God for Israel, the manifest content of the poems could never be denied.

Thus an intimate link was established in Jewish literature between human love and the love of God. Jewish mysticism made this a major motif in its esoteric teaching. Rabbinic literature likewise reveals its appreciation of love only tangentially but with the same deep feeling: "A man once said, 'When love was strong, we could have made our bed on a sword-blade; Now that our love has grown weak, a bed of 60 cubits is not large enough for us'" Sanh.

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It is not the love in itself, or the passion associated with it, or its sexual fulfillment which are valued in these writings, as much as the understanding and the generosity which love creates and sustains. Thus, understanding and generosity become the highest ideals for human relationships. Love between man and woman is almost always connected with marriage, which is either the goal of love or the motive which brings it into being. This ideal of love in marriage which leads to understanding and generosity, though influenced by the various cultural circumstances among which Jews found themselves, remained relatively stable over the centuries.

Though the ideal of romantic, courtly love did penetrate the Jewish community in the 11 th and 12 th centuries, unrequited passion never became a major Jewish concern. They viewed the love of God as an essentially cognitive matter. Maimonides explains that "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart" means that "you should make His apprehension the end of all your actions" Guide of the Perplexed , ; see also ; Yad.

Since he then connects will and goodness with God, it is obvious that the appropriate response to such a benevolent God is love Or Adonai , , 3. This feeling becomes for Crescas the desired basis of man's service to God ibid. God is worthy of human love because He is good, beneficent, and pleasant, the three criteria Aristotle posited for the object of love Nicomachean Ethics ; cf. Maimonides, Commentary to Mishnah Avot God's love for people is analogous to a king's love of his subjects, a father's love of his children, and a husband's love of his wife. The mystics, though they had an anti-corporeal, ascetic strain in their teaching, similar to the Aristotelian view of Maimonides, nevertheless, had a more emotional understanding of love, and, following the Song of Songs, could see in the sexual passion between man and wife the model of the reintegration of the presently fragmented divine unity Zohar b—50a.

In modern times, Jewish thinkers have tended to accept the general, gradual reaffirmation of the physical aspects of human existence as essentially healthy. In the 19 th and early 20 th century, before this change of attitude toward the physical aspects of love, most Jewish discussions of love remained under the influence of German idealistic philosophy.

For them, love becomes the very ground of one's being, the source of all meaning and the guide to all action. Rosenzweig characterized divine revelation as an expression of love of man.

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Since revelation occurs in the present — creation being the past and redemption the future — the love of God is the embodiment of the human-divine encounter in every present moment. God being the source of love, He can also command man to love Him "Love the Lord your God" as an expression of His love for man. Buber emphasized the necessary connection between love of one's fellow re'a and love of God, whom he calls "the eternal you Thou. In his morning prayer the Jew asks God to "unify our hearts to love and fear Thy Name. Both terms are widely used in the Bible, but the concept of fearing God appears much more frequently than that of loving Him.

It is not clear, however, exactly what the biblical writers sought to convey about their faith by using a word for it which, when related to normal experience, regularly describes emotions of dread and fright Josh. In many of its uses, the term loses all denotations of fear, and conveys a broad sense of one's religion, one's god, or one's pattern of worship ii Kings ; Isa. In some cases the term occurs in conjunction with the love of God, so that the two appear to have a similar content Deut. Some scholars have therefore argued that the terms are identical in meaning, but this interpretation seems unlikely in view of the heavy biblical emphasis on God's punishing sin and His utter transcendence of man.

He is never described as simply loving man, though He does love Israel; rather the emphasis is on His mercy and benevolence, that is, though He is the master, He deals kindly. Hence, while the primitive denotations of fear have been sublimated in much biblical usage to a more intimate relationship with God, there is good reason to believe that the fear of God is a primary Hebrew response to God as the transcendent one, but it shades off into the love of God as the benevolent one.

In both terms, however, the immediate connotation is action. Neither is used to commend an emotional state, worthy because of the feelings it arouses.

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Both are used as motivations for doing the will of God. They are means to observance. By early rabbinic times, the emphasis on love had risen to parity with that on fear. Throughout talmudic times, the emphasis was increasingly placed on love as the most appropriate motive for the service of God. This is in accord with the rabbinic stress on carrying out the commandments for their own sake lishemah. The implication arises that, in doing them out of fear, it is reward and punishment which move the doer, which, to the rabbis, are extrinsic and inferior motives.