Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Love Hashem Your G-d

The Talmud in Yoma (86a) expounds the meaning of the verse "Love Hashem Your G-d" to mean "the Name of Heaven should be beloved to you." The Talmud explains that the Name of Heaven becomes beloved to people when they see Torah scholars acting in a proper and pleasant manner, as Torah scholars embody G-d's teachings. Conversely, when Torah scholars act inappropriately, people disparage the Torah as a vehicle for heinous behavior.

I experienced this phenomenon first-hand last week when I came out to my uncle, who is a Torah scholar in one of the most traditional yeshivos in America. My uncle had almost zero familiarity with the concept of homosexuality and had only a few short minutes to compose his thoughts after my shocking announcement. Though he certainly knows the halachic prohibitions associated with homosexuality, this was not the focus of his response. Instead, he said to me, "Wow, it is really big of you to still be frum while dealing with this issue. What a tzaddik!"

How refreshing it is to see a true tzaddik utilizing the Torah as a source of love rather than as a weapon of hate.