Jewish Social Philosophy
For centuries, mankind as a whole has always desired or searched for love at some given point if not for their entire life span. Love is a concept that while the dictionary will give you various definitions, can not really be defined, but rather felt. Even if we believe we are experiencing feelings of love at some point, there is no guarantee that the experience then is an ever-lasting true love. Love grows and changes throughout one’s life starting hopefully with ones parents leading to peers, and on to life partners. Over time, many philosophers have looked into this topic, trying to explain and break down what exactly the concept is.
It is the object of this paper to look at both Soleveichick as well as Maimonedes, and apply their views to both a modern day perspective and social work.
Love being a concept that has been around since the beginning of time according to some may have been a divine idea. If you look at the way Soleveichick breaks down the character of first man into Adam I and Adam II, I think my point can be clearly seen. According to Soleveichick it seems that Adam I is the utilitarian character by action and attitude, I will return to him later. Adam II on the other had is an existential character by his nature. By that it seems to mean that Adam II in the case of love would be the more romantic character, the one which many at some point of life desire this type of a loving relationship.
This is the character where love comes truly within; it is a spiritual kind of love, where one really needs nothing in return but the love itself. In today’s standards these are the people one would just buy flowers for, take long walks on the beach with, as well as exploring and experiencing issues as well as acts of intimacy with. These are the people we desire as life partners (does not necessarily have to be for a marital type of relationship.) at times. I know that from my personal experience at this point in my life I am having my first experience of true love other than the parental one I had. The person I am referring to is now my fiance.
The feeling I have towards her are one’s of total joy which run through my body, that words can not do justice. It is that burning desire within to constantly see, be with, and hold on to her. For me I believe that it is mostly an Adam II type of a relationship we are having. Of course love in this manner for different people can have different feelings as well as meanings, after all every man has their own characters. Another thing derived from the character of Adam II that it was Gods intention to find someone they love and eventually spend the rest of their lives with this person. Maybe God was even saying in a way that one can not go through life and be complete without a partner.
I quote in Genesis (chapter 2 vs.22-23) “and he took one of his sides and he filled in flesh in its place. Then Hashem, God fashioned the side that he had taken from man into a woman”. Not only did this end first man’s utilitarian loneliness, it also may have been showing us how we should feel about a loved one. The second person whether she was actually created from the first persons rib or side is unimportant. What one can derive from this is that not only was there a creation made at this point but a strong bondage as well, bonding man to his fellow man.
Scripture seems to be saying that when we love someone it should be as if they are in fact a part of ourselves, as if they are physically attached to us. It seems God’s doing the creation in this manner was giving an important message. It seems to be saying that an individual can not lead a healthy, comfortable life without sharing it with love ones. We see that first .