February 3, 2013 6:03 am at 6:03 am #608051
I heard bishaim R’ S.R.Hirsch and others that the shoresh of the word ahavah is hav and the reason for this is because the more a person gives to s/o, the more he loves that person. I see this is so in practice, e.g. I buy s/t for one of my children, and as I hand it over to him, I feel overwhelmed with love for him.
My question is, why is this so? Shouldn’t it be the other way around-the recipient should feel love (and the donor should feel a few dollars poorer?)February 3, 2013 7:38 am at 7:38 am #941784
Because you’ve given over part of yourself to that person, you love that person, who is part you. It’s really an acceptable form of self-love.February 3, 2013 7:46 am at 7:46 am #941785locaMember
I have the same question.February 3, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am #941786avnerParticipant
the only thing you can love is yourself, so in order to love someone else you need to make them a part of you.
Your true self is the decisions you make to overcome your nature.
So by giving, you are overcoming your nature, and building yourself.
But when the giving is brought on by the other, they become part of your self, thus you love them.
This is the same reason we love a cake we make much more then a cake we bought.February 3, 2013 1:33 pm at 1:33 pm #941787Veltz MeshugenerMember
The answer to this question is rooted in classic game theory. Let me explain:
Imagine that two people are facing a negotiation for a piece of property. There are four options. The most basic ones are more and less – the buyer can pay either more or less for the land. However, there are two more options as well. Both the buyer and the seller can create extra value in the transaction by giving up things that are less valuable to themselves, but more valuable to the other person. E.g., the seller knows that there is no lead in walls and so it would be almost cost free for him to give a financial guarantee to that effect; while the buyer might be very nervous that he will have to immediately spend a bunch of money deleading the walls and would raise the purchase price if he could get such a guarantee. Meanwhile, the buyer has a lot of liquidity and could close the deal almost immediately, while the seller is borrowing money on bad terms to stay afloat until the deal is complete.
The highest value will be achieved if everyone “sells” the value that is worth little to them for an amount between the value to them and the value to the other. However, for each individual person, the best decision in each individual circumstance is to claim the value for themselves. If the seller can refuse to offer his guarantee and instead simply wait for the buyer to offer an early closing date, he will be better off than if he offers the guarantee. Meanwhile, if the buyer simply refuses to offer the early closing date, and simply waits for the seller to offer the guarantee, then he will be better off than if he offers the guarantee. Because of this “self-centered-ness”, the transaction might fail, and even if it goes through it is not as “efficient” as it could have been.
In order to overcome this problem, both parties need to trust that the other is going to act in the interests of the two of them. If that happens, they will both be giving, not only as a result of their own altruism, but also because their trust allows the two of them to gain value that would otherwise be impossible to unlock.
Thus, in “giving” through an understanding of mutual trust, it is not only possible but likely that you are personally better off than you would have been by simply waiting to receive.February 3, 2013 3:04 pm at 3:04 pm #941788
VM, nice shtickel. What does that have to do with love?February 3, 2013 3:31 pm at 3:31 pm #941789Veltz MeshugenerMember
DY: Because this benefit requires trust, which is both a cause and function of love. In the real estate transaction that I used for illustration, it is only a smidge that is required and the benefit is purely financial. But in order to get the maximum out of a relationship in terms of both creating and benefiting from love, giving with trust is a cornerstone.
Alternatively, love is essentially a material transaction.February 3, 2013 3:57 pm at 3:57 pm #941790golferParticipant
Although we all think that our emotions affect our behavior- if I’m angry I scream; if I’m happy I smile; it’s a basic concept in Yiddishkeit that our actions influence our thoughts and emotions. Working on our middos and elevating our Neshamos is thus acomplished through actions and mitzvah observance. Not that we need their approval, but in the secular world psychologists also observe that the act of smiling makes us feel happy, and frowning can make us feel more pain. (Interesting to read study on subjects whose smiling is impaired due to Botox injections.) Acting in a giving, loving manner towards another person, will therefore make us feel inside the love we are acting out.February 3, 2013 4:00 pm at 4:00 pm #941791yitayningwutParticipantFebruary 3, 2013 4:40 pm at 4:40 pm #941792
VM, I think the cause/effect is more direct than that.February 3, 2013 4:41 pm at 4:41 pm #941793golferParticipant
Veltz M, love which is a material transaction does exist. It is called “Ahava sheh’tluya b’davar.” As our Chachamim have told us, it cannot last; it is not true, everlasting love.February 3, 2013 5:03 pm at 5:03 pm #941794
Golfer, correct. VM is using, I think, a different definition of love than we are.February 3, 2013 5:04 pm at 5:04 pm #941795benignumanParticipant
Just as an aside, I believe the source for this idea is Rav Dessler not Rav Hirsch.February 3, 2013 5:26 pm at 5:26 pm #941796JayMatt19Participant
Giving brings one closer. Taking makes one resentful.
R’ Dessler speaks about this. He asks why it is that in ?? ?????? we see that the father does not intend on harming his son, yet we see that the son will harm the father.February 3, 2013 9:16 pm at 9:16 pm #941797
avner-“Your true self is the decisions you make to overcome your nature.So by giving, you are overcoming your nature, and building yourself. But when the giving is brought on by the other, they become part of your self, thus you love them.”
The idea that your self is the decisions you make, and by overcoming your nature you are improving your essence is very profound-and I feel like you are on to something, however I do not understand the connection between that and that the person who brought about this betterment in you becomes a part of you. If some one were to give you constructive criticism(tochacha) or advice on how to shteig, does he too become a part of your self?February 3, 2013 9:41 pm at 9:41 pm #941798
DaasYochid -“Because you’ve given over part of yourself to that person, you love that person, who is part you. It’s really an acceptable form of self-love.”
Since posting the question I was told to look into the Michtav Mei’eliyau and he says exactly what you said-you put it down very well.
golfer-“Acting in a giving, loving manner towards another person, will therefore make us feel inside the love we are acting out.”
That makes a lot of sense, since this is a basic concept in hashkafa-now that you mention it, I am surprised that the Michtav Mei’Eliyahu does not state this reason. He does point out that a person does not give because he loves-rather, he loves because he gives-but not for your reason-he mentions what DaasYochid said.
I’m thinking of another possibility. Part of a feeling of love is an overwhelming desire to protect and care for the person you love. If you feel that person is vulnerable, you feel more important and needed in their life, and therefore a part of their life. If however, that person is self sufficient, you don’t feel needed, and therefore do not feel part of their life. When you give to some one you are filling their need. You therefore are, and want to continue to be an integral part of their life. I haven’t really thought this through yet, but I think there is something to it.February 3, 2013 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm #941799
I’m sure that’s where I got it from, now that you mention it.February 4, 2013 7:12 am at 7:12 am #941800HaLeiViParticipant
I wouldn’t quite say that a Lashon Kodesh word comes from an Aramaic word, but you can Darshen Osyos and point to relationships, on the basis of the Kedusha Of Osyos.
The point itself is surely true. Obviously it is no different than any other case of Nifal Ha’adam Kefi Pe’ulosav. The Maharal explains the Maamar Chazal where Rav Simla’i says that the embryo lays folded like a pad. He says that this is to show us what a person is all about. A person is essentially a notenook whatever you write into it defines it. If you write acts of Sechel, you are a Secheldike person; if you write kind deeds you are a kind person.
Your actions don’t only show the world your inside thoughts, they show them to you as well. Moreover, a person is fertile ground for many emotions and attitudes. You constantly stand at a crossroad with a choice of two attitudes. When you act out one of them you have chosen and solidified your view and approach.
This is why a Mitzva is supposed to consist of thought, verbal expression, and action. First realize what you are about to do, then express it and act on it.
As much as we like to think of ourselves as ironclad, our emotions and attitudes can be as easy as the flip of a coin. You can often just as easily love someone as hate them. When you think, ‘I will give this person (that I love/respect/care for) something,’ and then actually give it, you now think that way.March 31, 2013 4:58 am at 4:58 am #941801avnerParticipant
BSD- “I do not understand the connection between that and that the person who brought about this betterment in you becomes a part of you”
Just like the cake that i make i love more, because by struggling to make it, i have to overcome my nature slightly. so to anything that is a cause for overcoming my natural/instinctive behavior becomes connected to my essence.
(see this idea of self expressed in even sheleima, of the vilna gaon)
by this logic any cause for change becomes impetus for love, including tochacha
additionally not all giving causes love (ie. if i give a million dollars to a homeless guy i dont love him, rather i despise )(or if one spouse gives so much to the other and the other spouse is a jerk, they will come to resent the other)
benignuman-it is from both
hirsh says hav is to give and all roots that start with the letter Aleph are talking about the individual. so it would be a giving of selfMarch 31, 2013 8:28 am at 8:28 am #941802RABBAIMParticipant
Look up and learn Rav Dessler in Kuntres Hachessed in the first volume of Michtav MEliyahu. He describes that real love is created by giving. Juxtapose a birth parent who has not seen a child in 30 years since the birth and an adoptive parent who has been giving their all to raise an adopted child for 30 years. Undoubtedly at the end of 30 years the adoptive parents will have much much more love for the child than the birth parents. Giving (hav) creates ahava!
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