In the story of Isaac and Rivka, the Bible tells us that Isaac first knew Rivka, then she became his wife, and then he loved her. Normally, we meet someone, fall in love, and then get married. That’s the typical scenario. Why is it that the Bible specifies that Isaac knew Rivka, she became his wife, and then he loved her?
Many people become involved in a relationship mainly for companionship. You enjoy doing things together and you feel comfortable with that other person. So when does it become love? At what point did Isaac and Rivka’s relationship become a relationship of love? The answer lies in the Hebrew word for love, ahava.
In Hebrew, Ahava is spelled Aleph Hei Bet Hei (אהבה). The numerical values of these letters add up to 13. The Hebrew word for one, ehad, also has the numerical value of 13. So what is ahava? What is love? Love is two people functioning as one unified entity. It is the intermingling and the interdependence of two souls.
Most relationships do not function on this level. They function out of emotional need, financial reasons, or a fear of being alone. But a true relationship between souls is one in which one soul complements the other. When one soul is down, the other’s strength lifts them up, and vice versa. The two souls function and act as a whole, a complete unit. This is what it means to love, and this is why the Bible explains that the love that existed between Isaac and Rivka was one of unity.
May we all learn the true meaning of love in our lives. Happy Valentine’s Day to all.