Igniting Our Love for Hashem
Rabbi Yitzchak Schwartz
Every Pesach we read the book of Shir Hashirim in our Shabbos chol hamoed services. In addition to this some people have the very meaningful custom to read it immediately after completion the seder. The book of Shir Hashirim is the most beautiful love story ever written. But unlike most love stories it is no mundane affair. It is the love at it highest elevation: the love of Am Yisrael and Hashem. Shlomo Hamelech's monumental tribute, in song, of our love for Hashem and His for us is a commanding testimony to the reality that Hashem plays in our lives. By reading this spectacular book on Pesah we poignantly articulate that our relationship with Hashem is not otherworldly. It is here and now.
The most powerful force in creation is not a tsunami, an earthquake, or even a volcano. The most forceful mover and shaker in existence is love. When wrongly pursued or when gone bitter it has the force to bring out the absolute worst in man and potentially wreak havoc and destruction for many generations. The flip side is that when we employ it correctly it can change our lives for the better in ways that we never dreamed possible.
There are two ways that we can improve our character. One is to focus stern discipline and admonishment upon our flaws and weaknesses. The other way is to intensifying our love for Hashem through a deeper appreciation of His love for each and every Jew. When we really internalize His love for us we will be able to genuinely reciprocate. There is no labor of love that is too difficult. There is no burden between lovers. Our love for Hashem can help us evoke our deepest strengths and talents. It will empower us to do His will with strength, zeal and passion.
This Pesach, as we ponder the kindness and love of Hashem in taking us out of the bondage of Egypt we should take care to ignite our love for Him. The love of Hashem for Am Yisrael brought us freedom. By intensifying our love for Hashem we can liberate ourselves from the pettiness and narrow limitations that often afflict us in our service of Hashem.