Rabbi Avi Weiss’s father was the Askenazi Rabbi of Natanya in Israel. And at that time, Rabbi Weiss was the only one of their children living in New York. So, when his parents would come to visit him from Israel it was quite an honour.
Before one visit to the States, his dad calls and says, “Look Avi, we’ve changed our plans and instead of coming in on Thursday, we’re coming Wednesday morning. Can you please pick us up from the airport?”
Rabbi Weiss replies, “Abba, [father] you know how much I love you, you know how much I love Mommy…I was able to pick you up on Thursday but I can’t make it Wednesday morning.”
His dad calls him his childhood name, “Avrumi! You know your mother is not well, you know it is hard for us to schlep all our stuff and hail a cab. Please Avrumi, pick us up!”
“But Abba, I’m sorry, I can’t make it. I’ll send someone.”
“Avrumi, you’re now a hotshot rabbi in Brooklyn New York and you don’t have time to pick your parents up at the airport?”
“Abba, you know how much I love you, but…”
“Avrumi, do me a favour. Don’t love me so much and just pick us up at the airport!”
Source: As told by renowned Orthodox Rabbi Avi Weiss
at a meeting of the San Francisco Board of Rabbis
“Love ought to manifest itself more by deeds than by words”
Ignatius Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, #230.
What is your understanding of love?
Remember Fiddler on the Roof? One early scene illustrates one Jewish understanding of love. Tevye asks his wife Golde the very modern question: “Do you love me?”At first she tells him that he’s a fool or maybe sick and he needs to lay down. But Tevye presses her, “Do you love me?” and she responds, “For twenty-five years, I’ve washed your clothes, cooked your meals, cleaned your house, given you children, milked the cow. After twenty-five years, why talk about love right now?”
Well, what do you think? Did Golde love Tevye?