What's love got to do with Judaism?

I know Christians emphasize loving Christ - isn't Judaism a more rational religion?


American Hebrew Schools tend to over-emphasize the place of logic and rationality in Judaism. Often, they ignore the spiritual aspects of Jewish theology. The basic explanation of Jewish theology is contained in the She'ma. Here's an English translation of the first few lines:

Hear, O Israel, the L-rd is our G-d, the L-rd is One.

The following verse is traditionally recited in an undertone:
Blessed be the name of the glory of His kingdom forever and ever.

You shall love the L-rd your G-d with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you today shall be upon your heart. You shall teach them thoroughly to your children, and you shall speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road, when you lie down and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for a reminder between your eyes. And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gates.

The Shema is a powerful prayer, which Jews are expected to recite twice a day. As you can see from the third line, loving God with all your heart, soul, and might is central to Jewish faith. It's part of the reason that loving your neighbor as yourself is a tenet originating in Judaism - divine sparks reside in all of us and we should appreciate the divine emotionally as well as logically. More to come...

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