V’ahavta – “and you shall love…”

V’ahavta   וְאָהַבְתָּ

The following verses are commonly referred to as the V’ahavta according to the first word of the verse immediately following the Shema, or in Classical Hebrew V’ahav’ta meaning “and you shall love…”. They contain the command to love God with all one’s heart, soul, and might (Deuteronomy 6:5). The Talmud emphasizes that you will, at some point, whether you choose to or not, and therefore uses “shall” – future tense – love God.

Devarim 6.5 “And thou shalt love the L-RD thy G-D with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”

Devarim 6.6 “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be upon thy heart; […]”.

Yochanan: upon thy heart: Meditate upon them continually; (as if they were a precious secret told between two lovers, as it says, “love is stronger than death.” Shir HaShirim 8.6) as the passuk (Y’hoshua 1.8) says, “And you shall meditate upon them day and night.” And as Melek David said,

“But his delight is in the law of the L-RD; and in His law doth he meditate day and night.” Tehillim 1.2 – וּבְתוֹרָתוֹ יֶהְגֶּה, יוֹמָם וָלָיְלָה. Yeehegeeh יֶהְגֶּה (to meditate) is related to the words Haggadah, Aggadah and Maggid מַגִּיד to tell or relate; to wit, to inspire, or even to “illuminate”. (a traditional Jewish religious itinerant preacher, skilled as a narrator of Torah and religious stories).

Y’hoshua 1.8 “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate וְהָגִיתָ (vehagitha) therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein; for then thou shalt make thy ways prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” וְהָגִיתָ בּוֹ יוֹמָם וָלַיְלָה

Shir HaShirim 8.6 Set me as a seal upon thy heart, as a seal upon thine arm; for love is strong as death, jealousy is cruel as the grave; the flashes thereof are flashes of fire, a very flame of the L-RD.

Shir HaShirim 8.7 Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it; if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, he would utterly be contemned.” {S}

2 thoughts on “V’ahavta – “and you shall love…”

  1. the fire, (Ahavah – Love) it must not go out – VeYiqrah (Leviticus) 6.5 And the fire upon the altar shall be kept burning thereby, it shall not go out; and the priest shall kindle wood on it every morning; and he shall lay the burnt-offering in order upon it, and shall make smoke thereon the fat of the peace-offerings. 6 Fire shall be kept burning upon the altar continually; it shall not go out. {S}


  2. Tehillim 145.4 ד דּוֹר לְדוֹר, יְשַׁבַּח מַעֲשֶׂיךָ; וּגְבוּרֹתֶיךָ יַגִּידוּ. 4 “One generation shall laud Thy works to another, and shall declare יַגִּידוּ Thy mighty acts.” To What is this (יַגִּידוּ) referring? To none other than the Exodus (The Haggadah) as it says, “And thou shalt tell thy son in that day, saying: It is because of that which the L-RD did for me when I came forth out of Egypt. And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thy hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the law of the L-RD may be in thy mouth; for with a strong hand hath the L-RD brought thee out of Egypt.” (As it says, “And Avraham took the wood [the Torah compares “man is as the tree of the field” Devarim 20.19, Tehillim 1.3, 92.13, Isaiah 65.22, Jeremiah 17.6] for the offering and he laid the wood on Yitzchaq, his son.” wood – an euphemism for generations…) Also, NOTE: This Week’s Parasha, Terumah – “make thee an Ark of shittim wood and overlay it with gold” – Shmoth (Exodus) 25.10, 11, 22 “where I will meet with thee” (22 And there I will meet with thee, and I will speak with thee from above the ark-cover, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel. {P})


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