Vaetchanan: Mitzvah 418 – Concept 4: Shema: How To Love
“You shall love God with all your hearts, and with all your soul, and all your might/resources.”
This is a commandment to love God, but how can love be commanded? If someone holds a hold a gun to your head and says, “Love me!” and you respond, “I love you!” that probably doesn’t mean too much. So this cannot be what this commandment implies.
Rather, this commandment tells us to work at loving God, and it is immediately followed by instructions how to do so: “Let these matters that I command you today be upon your heart…” We learn to love God by building an environment of love—by speaking, learning, and teaching the words of God (Torah) while sitting at home, while traveling, etc. “And bind them up as a sign …” In other words, show how the words of God (Torah) are part and parcel of you as a human being—show how they encompass every part of your life by inscribing them on your gates and on your doorways.
God’s words teach us how to learn about God, so that we can develop a love for God. This takes a lot of hard work. It involves continuously learning more and more about Him, and identifying traits that belong to Him which we would like to have ourselves.