“Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am Hashem.” Leviticus 19:18 (The Israel Bible™)
The famous song declares, “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing”. Yet with today’s skyrocketing divorce rates, the true essence of love seems to have gotten lost in time. With the word “love” (אהבה) appearing hundreds of times throughout the Bible, learning some Biblical ideas about love brings a deeper understanding of God’s plan for building a meaningful and lasting relationship.
“The Bible is the blueprint for how we should live our lives every day,” shared Roni Segal, academic adviser for eTeacher, an online language academy specializing in Hebrew, with Breaking Israel News. “By looking into Hebrew words, like ‘love’, we grasp God’s intention for man in this realm.”
The root of the Hebrew word for love is אהב (the Hebrew letters aleph, hay, bet). Every Hebrew letter has a numerical value, called Gematria, as well as a specific meaning. Aleph always stands for God and has a value of one. Hay means “gives”. Bet has the numerical value of two, meaning more than itself. Therefore, the essence of love is when one gives to another other than himself. Giving is a Godly act.
“The sages teach that giving leads to love,” continued Segal. “In Judaism, the essence of marriage is that each partner gives and doesn’t look at it as a ‘give and take’. Obviously, when both are giving then they both must also take. That is a healthy relationship. But it’s the outlook and desire that builds the relationship. The Bible teaches that we love the people we give to.”
Continuing to reap insights into the Biblical view on relationships, in Hebrew, the word for man is eesh (איש-aleph, yud, shin) and the word for woman is eesha (אשה-aleph, shin, hay). The only difference between both words is the yud and the hay. Yud hay (‘ה), is one of God’s names. We learn from this that when a man and woman unite in a holy and giving way, God is with them.
However, should a couple remove God from their relationship (the yud and hay), only aleph and shin remain in both names. Aysh (אש-aleph, shin) is fire. If a couple take God out of the picture and only lives for pleasure, materialism, and self satisfaction, eventually they will be consumed and burn out. It will be difficult for the relationship to thrive.
The name for couple in Hebrew is zee-voog (זוּג-zayin, vuv, gimmel). Zayin represents man, gimmel represents the woman and vuv is a connecting letter. Therefore, zeevoog is when a man and a woman are connected.
In Judaism, the greatest kindness a person can do is to help another become independent from taking help. When a child is weaned, in Hebrew it is called gamoel
(גמוֹל). In fact, gammal (גמל), is made up of the gimmel plus mol (מל) which is the cutting for a bris milah (circumcision). This demonstrates that we are to give to others until we can cut it off and they are self supporting. However, in a loving relationship, we keep giving.
Segal shared with Breaking Israel News another Biblical idea relating to love and relationships. “God’s ineffable name is yud-hay-vuv-hay (יְהוָה), which equals 26 in Gematria. Ahava-love (אהבה) equals 13-aleph=1, hay=5, bet=2, hay=5. When a man and a woman each give love fully, they are God-like.”
Learning Hebrew is the best way to truly understand the Bible and the secrets God wanted to share with mankind through the Holy Language. To learn more, click here.