Shema: Stable Love
In summary, in the Shema God states: “I love you, I want you to love Me back. And I want you to know that there are obligations here, just like in any relationship. You have obligations, and I have obligations. And I am reliable. Tremendously reliable. I am proven to be reliable.
Reliability in a relationship means that each side is sure the other will come through.
A man once came into my office, wanting advice how to reveal something devastating to his wife. He expected—and I expected—that when she heard what he had done, she would divorce him. And she took it very hard, but she asked for time to work it out alone. After she had time to think about it, and after she talked it over with me, she decided that she had made a commitment to the marriage. She was a very strong woman. She told her husband that she loved him, that they would get though this, and that their marriage would be healed. The look on his face, seeing that there was stability in the relationship, and that it was reliable, was one of incredible love—it was the look you see between a chattan and kallah.
If we have experienced the reliability of another in stressful circumstances, we can use these experiences to develop a relationship with God. If you haven’t, or we we’ve experienced the opposite, we can say to God: “I know what it means to be in a relationship and feel that someone hasn’t been reliable. What I need from You is this sense of reliability. I need to feel loved.”
So, either way—whether our experiences have been positive or negative—they can lead us to create a connection to God. And we can attach these experiences to this prayer.