Over the Rabbi’s Disk

Rabbi Howard S. Herman, D.D.

Love’s Measure


Once two men were in a tavern, as the evening wore on, they became increasingly intoxicated and began professing their undying friendship for each other. One turned to the other and said, “You’re my friend. I really love you.”


In the moment of insight that sometimes can be found in drink, the other replied, “How can you say you love me, when you don’t even know how much I need to support my family?”


We say we love our community, but do we really make the effort to know the basic needs of our community? Do we rid ourselves of our responsibilities by giving token gifts to causes? 


We say we love our children, but do we take the time to really learn what bothers them and what their problems are? Or do we just care that they stay out of trouble or at least not embarrass us?


We say we love our spouses, but do we really know what gives them satisfaction? Or do we give them what we think ought to satisfy them?


The real measure of love is to be found in our honest concern of the needs and welfare of those whom we love. The depth of our consideration for their needs and security is the measure of our love for them.

Much of the extra care or concern often has to do as much with our needs as with someone else’s. When the satisfaction and security of another person becomes as significant as our own satisfaction and security, then the state of love exists. So far as I know, under no circumstances is a state of love present regardless of the popular usage of the word.