Someone clever once said: “The best gift a father can give his child is to love their mother.” The Secret to Love that Lasts aims to upgrade our relationships, both with our spouses and family, as well as with our Creator. The speech is based on a lesser-known Maamar, where the Alter provides a moving interpretation to a story in the Midrash and defines what it means to love.
In our culture, there are all too many people whose lives feel empty, yet they do not understand why. Often the truth is simply that they are too focused on themselves. Our society puts too much emphasis on getting, and too little on giving. It focuses too much on being loved and not enough on being a loving person. The trouble with this focus is this: None of us has the power to make others love us. But we all have the power to give away love to others. And if we do so, we change the kind of person we are, and the kind of world we live in.
The Secret to Love touches on an issue that many struggle with, and provides a path towards improving our relationships. The speech is peppered with humorous anecdotes, vignettes and stories, such as:
Rosh Hashanah asks us to consider the quality of love in our lives. How is our love in terms of relationships with others? How is our love in terms of our relationship with G-d? On Rosh Hashanah we have the opportunity for renewal. With the New Year comes the chance to make our relationships anew, by reconsidering how we relate to G-d, family and friends.
When we love unconditionally, our lives are blessed. When we love selflessly, that is when the miracles begin to flow into our relationships — both in our relationships with our spouses and family, as well as with our Creator. This is the great paradox at the heart of emotional life. When we worry only about ourselves, when we constantly think about how to make ourselves happier, we guarantee that our deepest needs will go unmet. But when we learn to give our love away unconditionally, then we discover fulfillment and happiness.