How much do you love G-d?

A year or so ago, I was at at another Chabad for a morning service and noticed a Jew standing with a tallis praying.  I approached him and offered to put on tefillin with him.

He looked at me, and with a heavy Israeli accent responded, "I only put on tefillin at the Western Wall.  You have no clue how close of a relationship I have with G-d, and He doesn't need my tefillin."

Given the sincerity of his prayers, I was kind of taken about with his rejection, especially since I could tell from his answer that he wanted me to respond to him (some Israelis are like that.  They just want to see how you'll respond).

I said to him, "Are you married?"

"I was" he said.  "Divorced now."

"In that case" I said, "you know at least kind of what marriage is about."

"Imagine if your wife asked you to take out the trash, and you responded by explaining her how your love transcends taking out the trash for her, and she doesn't really need you to do it for her.  How would that play out?"

You see, relationships are relationships.  Whether they are between spouses, friends, parents, children or between us and G-d, the fundamentals are the same.  I've found that every situation that arises in my relationship with Hashem can mirror situations that I'll have with Natanya and vice versa.

Each mitzvah (commandment from G-d) is like a spouse asking us to do something.  It's an opportunity to become closer, and show that we care.  To say that my love transcends doing mitzvah's may be true, and you may indeed "love" G-d, but you can't have a healthy relationship without the investment.

This is one of the things that is so different about Judaism.  Unlike other religions that rely primarily on "faith, love or grace" to connect with G-d, Judaism is an intense, intricate relationship that needs to be invested in, just like we invest in our marriages.

I sincerely believe that the secret to life is mastering all these relationships and becoming closer and closer, until we become one. 

Shabbat Shalom, 

Rabbi Abrams


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