True Love

The Meaning of Love

The Rebbe explains the true meaning of love to a young woman beginning to date. Not the stuff of novels and stormy passion - Chana Sharfstein

“…Then, to my great surprise, the Rebbe asked me about my very personal plans, about marraige. I told him that I had met several young men, but I had not met someone I wanted to marry. The Rebbe smiled broadly and asked my opinion about a specific young man. I swallowed hard. I could not believe it, but the question concerned a young man I had recently met. The Rebbe then asked about another young man I had gone out with, and a third, and I was totally overwhelmed. The Rebbe apparently knew everything about my life, certainly this aspect. I just shook my head and blushingly explained why each one was not the right one for me.

“Love, he explained to me, is not that which is portrayed in romantic novels. It isn't that overwhelming, blinding emotion that is portrayed in a romance. These books do not portray real life, he said. It is a fantasy world, a make-believe world with made-up emotions. Fiction is just that--fiction--but real life is different. And then, as a father to a daughter, he began to explain to me the meaning of real love.

“Love, he told me, is an emotion that increases in strength throughout life. It is sharing and caring, and respecting one another. It is building a life together, a unit of family and home. The love that you feel as a young bride, he continued, is only the beginning of real love. It is through the small, everyday acts of living together that love flourishes and grows. And so, he continued, the love you feel after five years or ten years is a gradual strengthening of bonds. As two lives unite to form one, with time, one reaches a point where each partner feels a part of the other, where each partner no longer can visualize life without his mate by his side.

“Smilingly he told me to put aside my romantic notions developed by my literary involvement, and view love and marriage in a meaningful way.

“I walked out of the Rebbe's office with a huge smile on my face. The Rebbe knew how to communicate with a dreamy young girl. He knew what to say and how to say it. His words, spoken from the heart, reverberated within my heart.”