How Do You Make Someone Love You?

 

Can you imagine being deeply in love with someone who does not share your feelings? I think it must be incredibly painful and lonely. If you cannot “move on,” then it becomes something of an obsession.

How could you fix it? How do you make someone love you? And by love, I don’t mean merely inspiring desire or companionship, I mean a deep spiritual and physical hunger, one that is only temporarily ameliorated – never entirely satisfied – even by being together.

Other relationships are more straightforward. If you are superior in some way, then I imagine that occasional reminders are enough to command respect. If you are powerful, it is not hard to inspire fear. Parents can achieve both with their children, but neither is the same thing as love.

I think of fear or awe, especially, as being responses to the visual. In part this is because the Hebrew for fear, “yirah”, shares the same root word as “sight”. When we see things we react to them, even though those things may be superficial – think of a gorgeous person or a terrifying monster. It is a reaction that does not require much (if any) thought. Every child can be afraid; it is an instinctive response.

Consider it this way: you can admire a picture or a vision or a person without any other interaction: just as watching television requires no feedback to the actors or producers of a show, so, too, we can be afraid of drought or an earthquake without any acknowledgement or requirement that the rain or earth are conscious of our fear.

By contrast, love requires a combination of factors, from respect to empathy to understanding. It requires interaction, not merely admiration from afar. Interaction between intellectual and spiritual beings is tied to thought – and we think about the things that we hear. Love is a thoughtful interactive thing, and so it is intrinsically tied to the idea of “hearing.”

The Hebrew for this is “shma” and it has no direct English equivalent. “Shma” in Hebrew really means to listen, to think about, to internalize, to chew over. Shma does not suggest obedience, but the acknowledgement that information has been received and will be considered. When we listen to someone we love, we may not agree, but we are engaged and thinking about what they have to say – and vice-versa.

The problem is that it is easier to scare someone than it is to make them think. In other words, if one is powerful, inspiring fear is easy. But inspiring love is much, much more difficult. All the things that a person does to show love to someone else, the thoughtful gestures, the gentle words, the small acts of consideration… these only reach the object of our desire if they are listening.

I think this is a key problem not only between people, but between G-d and man. The Torah is full of G-d’s desire for us to love Him, and providing the symbols and systems in the commandments through which that love can be nurtured and grown. But when we forget G-d’s presence, whether because of idleness or selfishness or simple risk aversion, then we no longer notice all the ways in which we are blessed and through which G-d is calling out to us for a relationship, and for conversation.

G-d’s problem is that the tools to inspire love in mankind are, as we have said, quite limited. Making someone love you is not trivial. But making someone fear you, if you are G-d, is easy enough. So the Torah is full of threats of consequences and punishments for when the Jewish people forget to fear G-d.

Can you imagine trying to make someone love you by threatening them, and punishing them? By making them suffer? It is, to put it mildly, a terrible way to show that you care.

And yet: what else works? What maintains some tenuous connection between man and our creator?

G-d has tried everything. Death. Suffering. Destruction. He has used people who hate Jews as tools to remind Jews of our connection and relationship (the entire Book of Esther is about this). Anti-semitism across the ages is, to me, nothing more than a divine reminder to the Jewish people of what happens when we are not engaging with G-d, loving him in hearing and thinking and speech, as well as through our deeds. Anti-semites are mere symptoms of the underlying disease: that we are not fully engaged in growing our relationship with G-d in love.

Holocausts are a terrible solution to this problem. But perhaps we gave G-d no other choice?

G-d appears to be stuck on the same question that I ask in the title: How can He make us LOVE him? How can he make us not only see and do, but also listen and think? G-d does not want automatons or servants; He wants mankind to be His partner. And that requires love.

 

How do you make someone love you?

 

 

 

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There are 52 comments.

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  1. Bob Thompson Member

    I really like your post. I have no answers or even responses but I have an observation and I will continue to think about what you have presented. My observation is with regard to this part:

    iWe:

    I think of fear or awe, especially, as being responses to the visual. In part this is because the Hebrew for fear, “yirah”, shares the same root word as “sight”. When we see things we react to them, even though those things may be superficial – think of a gorgeous person or a terrifying monster. It is a reaction that does not require much (if any) thought. Every child can be afraid; it is an instinctive response.

    Consider it this way: you can admire a picture or a vision or a person without any other interaction: just as watching television requires no feedback to the actors or producers of a show, so, too, we can be afraid of drought or an earthquake without any acknowledgement or requirement that the rain or earth are conscious of our fear.

    This seems to be a dominant feature in our secular behavior today. People are living in this visual and superficial world. I don’t see much good that results. Yes, one thing required is to listen and think.

    I thought your post was such that I should at least say something. So there! I will think more.

    • #1
    • August 25, 2019, at 9:26 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  2. PHCheese Member

    After my ex wife told me she didn’t love me anymore and wanted a divorce,I tried for a year to change her mind and then gave up. Best thing that ever has to me.

    • #2
    • August 25, 2019, at 9:59 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. Front Seat Cat Member

    Very intense and thoughtful post. This comment though, “Holocausts are a terrible solution to this problem. But perhaps we gave G-d no other choice?” I don’t agree with that at all. Did you mean Jews gave God no other choice, so he allowed the Holocaust? I don’t believe that God is vindictive or hateful – he is not capable of it, but the devil is – evil is. The world was consumed with evil and had nothing to do with a loving God, who gives free will. The Holocaust was indescribable – what human beings could be capable of and no one deserved that or brought it on themselves.

    Terrible things continue to happen to people, it’s horrible but allowable. You are right. God gives us the tools through prayer and many other ways to express love to Him and each other. I pray to the Holy Spirit to please rescue women and children in harm’s way. I believe the #metoo and arresting Epstein as well as the Hollywood producer, and all the despicable exploiters of the most vulnerable are coming to light more and more – the Holy Spirit is busy.

    • #3
    • August 25, 2019, at 12:33 PM PDT
    • Like
  4. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    Make yourself lovable .

    • #4
    • August 25, 2019, at 12:37 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  5. Bob Thompson Member

    I have heard it explained that a major difference between the Jews and Christians is in the salvation relationship with our Heavenly Father. The Jews are the Chosen people and thus are not subject to the mandate placed on non-Jewish individuals who must accept Christ as their Savior for salvation. I don’t know.

    • #5
    • August 25, 2019, at 12:45 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor

     A person who cares about loving and being loved must ask him/herself just how important love is. For example, G-d’s love for us is everlasting; there were many times he could have ditched the Jews with their bad behavior, but he didn’t. I think we increase the odds of being loved by others when we act in loving ways. But are we really committed to loving and being loved in our relationships? How easy is it for us to be distracted, to be disappointed, to decide we have other priorities that trump love? I think, too often, that is what happens. Loving and being loved is no guarantee of a lifetime of love. One has to be dedicated, committed and continually focused on love in our relationships. When we aren’t, it will fade, even die.

    • #6
    • August 25, 2019, at 12:46 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor

    iWe: Holocausts are a terrible solution to this problem. But perhaps we gave G-d no other choice?

    Could you elaborate on this point? For myself, I’ve always thought that the Holocaust happened because even the most evil people have free will. I don’t know if we even know if and when G-d intervenes, since how do we know whether someone has recovered on their own or because G-d intervened? I know that many people abandoned their belief in G-d because they felt He should have intervened regarding the Holocaust. But he would have been abrogating a lot of people’s free will.

    • #7
    • August 25, 2019, at 12:49 PM PDT
    • Like
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    I have heard it explained that a major difference between the Jews and Christians is in the salvation relationship with our Heavenly Father. The Jews are the Chosen people and thus are not subject to the mandate placed on non-Jewish individuals who must accept Christ as their Savior for salvation. I don’t know.

    Salvation doesn’t factor in for Jews, nor does believing in Jesus. We live a good and proper life simply because we are called to do so. And for me, I figure if I behave well, the afterlife will take care of itself!

    • #8
    • August 25, 2019, at 12:51 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  9. Bob Thompson Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    I have heard it explained that a major difference between the Jews and Christians is in the salvation relationship with our Heavenly Father. The Jews are the Chosen people and thus are not subject to the mandate placed on non-Jewish individuals who must accept Christ as their Savior for salvation. I don’t know.

    Salvation doesn’t factor in for Jews, nor does believing in Jesus. We live a good and proper life simply because we are called to do so. And for me, I figure if I behave well, the afterlife will take care of itself!

    Are Jews the Chosen and, if so, what does that mean? That’s where I chose the word salvation as applying to Jews, nothing based on earthly behavior for them.

    • #9
    • August 25, 2019, at 12:56 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    I have heard it explained that a major difference between the Jews and Christians is in the salvation relationship with our Heavenly Father. The Jews are the Chosen people and thus are not subject to the mandate placed on non-Jewish individuals who must accept Christ as their Savior for salvation. I don’t know.

    Salvation doesn’t factor in for Jews, nor does believing in Jesus. We live a good and proper life simply because we are called to do so. And for me, I figure if I behave well, the afterlife will take care of itself!

    Are Jews the Chosen and, if so, what does that mean? That’s where I chose the word salvation as applying to Jews, nothing based on earthly behavior for them.

    We are called the Chosen because G-d chose us to be an example to the world. We are called to live the Noahide laws,  to be righteous, honorable and ethical people. Although others are not chosen to follow Jewish laws, we are expected to, and to love G-d and our fellow man. It’s a big deal. ;-) For those who thinks it makes us feel elite, trust me, it’s humbling.

    • #10
    • August 25, 2019, at 1:10 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. iWe Reagan
    iWe Post author

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):
    This comment though, “Holocausts are a terrible solution to this problem. But perhaps we gave G-d no other choice?” I don’t agree with that at all. Did you mean Jews gave God no other choice, so he allowed the Holocaust?

    It is a dovetail of two elements:

    1: Man has free will – even evil men. 

    2: Jews are responsible for this world, for combating evil. We have to understand that our mandate is much larger than when – initiating non-Jewish notions of humility – we think we are mere grasshoppers. 

    We did not take responsibility. We did not combat evil far and wide. Which means we lost the plot AND the nazis were not opposed by the Jews in any meaningful way. 

    • #11
    • August 25, 2019, at 1:12 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  12. iWe Reagan
    iWe Post author

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):
    Terrible things continue to happen to people, it’s horrible but allowable. You are right. God gives us the tools through prayer and many other ways to express love to Him and each other

    Prayer is one tool. But we have so many tools, and should not limit ourselves to just one.

    I think G-d has also charged us to combat evil. Evil exists because we are not fighting it.

     

    • #12
    • August 25, 2019, at 1:14 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  13. iWe Reagan
    iWe Post author

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Make yourself lovable .

    Oh, I wish it were this easy! I know so many lovable people who are taken for granted.

    • #13
    • August 25, 2019, at 1:15 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  14. iWe Reagan
    iWe Post author

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    For myself, I’ve always thought that the Holocaust happened because even the most evil people have free will.

    They do. But as per my other comment, G-d wants the Jews to understand our role, and when we do not, then anti-semitism is there to jolt us back.

    • #14
    • August 25, 2019, at 1:16 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. Bob Thompson Member

    iWe (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    For myself, I’ve always thought that the Holocaust happened because even the most evil people have free will.

    They do. But as per my other comment, G-d wants the Jews to understand our role, and when we do not, then anti-semitism is there to jolt us back.

    This appears to be punishment here for actions here and that is quite different from Christian belief, no?

    • #15
    • August 25, 2019, at 1:19 PM PDT
    • Like
  16. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    For myself, I’ve always thought that the Holocaust happened because even the most evil people have free will.

    They do. But as per my other comment, G-d wants the Jews to understand our role, and when we do not, then anti-semitism is there to jolt us back.

    This appears to be punishment here for actions here and that is quite different from Christian belief, no?

    This was a comment from @iwe, @bobthompson. Maybe when Jews do not act against evil specifically directed against them, we are to learn there are consequences? It’s not so much that we are being punished by G-d but that we have not taken action to save ourselves?

    • #16
    • August 25, 2019, at 1:24 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. Bob Thompson Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    For myself, I’ve always thought that the Holocaust happened because even the most evil people have free will.

    They do. But as per my other comment, G-d wants the Jews to understand our role, and when we do not, then anti-semitism is there to jolt us back.

    This appears to be punishment here for actions here and that is quite different from Christian belief, no?

    This was a comment from @iwe, @bobthompson. Maybe when Jews do not act against evil specifically directed against them, we are to learn there are consequences? It’s not so much that we are being punished by G-d but that we have not taken action to save ourselves?

    You are making a distinction based on whether the evil is directed at Jews versus evil directed at non-Jewish people? And that distinction then determines whether Jews have a responsibility to oppose evil?

    • #17
    • August 25, 2019, at 1:30 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    For myself, I’ve always thought that the Holocaust happened because even the most evil people have free will.

    They do. But as per my other comment, G-d wants the Jews to understand our role, and when we do not, then anti-semitism is there to jolt us back.

    This appears to be punishment here for actions here and that is quite different from Christian belief, no?

    This was a comment from @iwe, @bobthompson. Maybe when Jews do not act against evil specifically directed against them, we are to learn there are consequences? It’s not so much that we are being punished by G-d but that we have not taken action to save ourselves?

    You are making a distinction based on whether the evil is directed at Jews versus evil directed at non-Jewish people? And that distinction then determines whether Jews have a responsibility to oppose evil?

    No, Bob, I was talking about the Holocaust. I’m sorry that wasn’t clear. Since the Holocaust was primarily (although not exclusively) directed at Jews, they had a particular responsibility to act against that evil. I think all moral people should act against evil, even if it is only speaking out against it. (Obviously all of us can’t act against all evil in the world.)

    • #18
    • August 25, 2019, at 1:46 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  19. Bob Thompson Member

    There are those, among the so-called Evangelicals in particular, who believe both Jews and Christians are right in their religious beliefs and pursuits. This is, I think, one of the reasons for strong support for President Trump and his connection to Israel. I also think this might be the backdrop for the President’s comment about Jews being disloyal by supporting Democrats who fail to fight Anti-Semitism within their ranks, Anti-Semitism across the board and specifically the BDS campaign against Israel.

    Is this repeating what happened in NAZI Germany?

    • #19
    • August 25, 2019, at 1:56 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  20. Doctor Robert Member

    iWe: Can you imagine being deeply in love with someone who does not share your feelings?

    You can’t be “deeply in love with someone who does not share your feelings”. Love and especially deep love is a mutual feeling between two people. It requires reciprocity and feedback and adjustment.

    One may be deeply infatuated with someone who does not care about you, but not deeply in love.

    • #20
    • August 25, 2019, at 6:29 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  21. iWe Reagan
    iWe Post author

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    There are those, among the so-called Evangelicals in particular, who believe both Jews and Christians are right in their religious beliefs and pursuits.

    Agreed

    Is this repeating what happened in NAZI Germany?

    Not in my opinion.

    • #21
    • August 25, 2019, at 7:01 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  22. iWe Reagan
    iWe Post author

    Doctor Robert (View Comment):

    iWe: Can you imagine being deeply in love with someone who does not share your feelings?

    You can’t be “deeply in love with someone who does not share your feelings”. Love and especially deep love is a mutual feeling between two people. It requires reciprocity and feedback and adjustment.

    One may be deeply infatuated with someone who does not care about you, but not deeply in love.

    I think Leah deeply loved Jacob; it was not reciprocated.

    • #22
    • August 25, 2019, at 7:01 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  23. Bob Thompson Member

    Doctor Robert (View Comment):

    iWe: Can you imagine being deeply in love with someone who does not share your feelings?

    You can’t be “deeply in love with someone who does not share your feelings”. Love and especially deep love is a mutual feeling between two people. It requires reciprocity and feedback and adjustment.

    One may be deeply infatuated with someone who does not care about you, but not deeply in love.

    There’s a lot going on in this post. We were asked only if we could ‘imagine’ being deeply in love with someone who does not share your feelings, not whether there were any instances of that reality. I’m one of those who subscribes to a theory that each of us resides on a spectrum where thinking and feeling are each concentrated in some unspecified way. The above question was posed in terms of ‘feelings’ but further in the post it becomes clear that nothing is going very far until ‘listening and thinking’ is engaged. I have much I could elaborate on just with these points but I’m stopping here.

    • #23
    • August 25, 2019, at 7:12 PM PDT
    • Like
  24. Bob Thompson Member

    iWe (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    There are those, among the so-called Evangelicals in particular, who believe both Jews and Christians are right in their religious beliefs and pursuits.

    Agreed

    Is this repeating what happened in NAZI Germany?

    Not in my opinion.

    Do you have an opinion regarding the rather monolithic behavior exhibited by Jews unrelenting support of Democrat Party politicians in the face of the growing Anti-Semitic views and acts emerging among some members? 

    • #24
    • August 25, 2019, at 7:18 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  25. iWe Reagan
    iWe Post author

    People who are Jewish by birth tend to be Democrats. Most are secular and ignorant of Judaism itself.

    People who actively try to be practicing observant Judaism are predominantly conservative voters.

    • #25
    • August 25, 2019, at 7:36 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  26. Bob Thompson Member

    iWe (View Comment):

    People who are Jewish by birth tend to be Democrats. Most are secular and ignorant of Judaism itself.

     

    Anti-Semitism doesn’t bother this group?

    • #26
    • August 25, 2019, at 7:39 PM PDT
    • Like
  27. Bob Thompson Member

    What does the theology Judaism have to say about theological matters affecting non-Jews?

    • #27
    • August 25, 2019, at 7:41 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  28. Bob Thompson Member

    Is Anti-Semitism theologically-based against Jews or is it ethnically-based?

    • #28
    • August 25, 2019, at 7:51 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  29. iWe Reagan
    iWe Post author

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment):

    People who are Jewish by birth tend to be Democrats. Most are secular and ignorant of Judaism itself.

     

    Anti-Semitism doesn’t bother this group?

    Mostly not, no. I think this is because these largely un-Jewish Jews assume the anti-semitism is really directed at other Jews. Like the Zionists. Or Charedim. Or the Observant. Not the good, liberal Jews.

    • #29
    • August 25, 2019, at 8:20 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  30. iWe Reagan
    iWe Post author

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Is Anti-Semitism theologically-based against Jews or is it ethnically-based?

    Hating Jews is not theological, not any more. Jews are “the other”, we tend to be successful and innovative. We clearly think differently. And Jews tend to assume moral superiority – even (or especially) when we are wrong about what is moral. (See Jewish Liberals.)

    Jewish liberals are defined by race (Jewish by birth, not conviction). Jewish conservatives are usually characterized by observant practise.

    • #30
    • August 25, 2019, at 8:23 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
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