Elul 5775/2015

Love is understanding.
Understanding another’s suffering is the best gift you can give another person.
Understanding is love’s other name. If you don’t understand, you can’t love.

Thich Nhat Hanh, How to Love

Love is understanding. It is embracing our humanity, and by humanity I do not only mean the human capacity for love, but rather the human reality of imperfection.

 Perhaps this is radical. Love is not the desperate need to fill the empty ache of the heart. It is not the solution for loneliness. Love is not even the search for companionship.

 Love is a gift, not a get. It is the gift of empathy, of understanding the suffering of another. It is the gift of a broken heart. When my heart understands suffering, understands my imperfections, I can understand yours. There is a mutual understanding, a common acknowledgement of the nature of our humanity. And our imperfections should be met with love and understanding. With as little judgment as possible. That is why it is written in Leviticus: love your neighbor as yourself. We are commanded to have compassion for the humanity in one another. And we are commanded to have compassion for ourselves. Every diamond soul has its flaw.

That is love.