So What is "Ahavah" Anyway?

As most of you know, the name of our farm, "Ahavah," means "Love," but that's the English
translation.  So what does "Ahavah" actually mean and why did we name our farm this?

One of the coolest things about the Hebrew language is that every letter has meaning.  The words themselves are the descriptors. Look up the word "Love" in the English dictionary and you will find something similar to this:


"a (1) strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties 
  • maternal love for a child
 

(2) attraction based on sexual desire affection and tenderness felt by lovers 
  • After all these years, they are still very much in love.
 

(3) affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests:
  • love for his old schoolmates

b an assurance of affection :
  • give her my love" (Miriam Webster)


  • So for many of you, when we say, "Ahavah means love" (which we say a lot), the idea that many receive is an emotional, lovey-dovey, warm and fuzzy feeling of affection - and we get this reaction all the time: "Oh, that's so nice," one would say, and I can immediately see in their heads that they are "feeling" the word, as opposed to "visualizing" the word and it's intended meaning - to serve, to be kind...to give.  You see, this is the literal meaning of the word in Hebrew.  The word "ahav" literally means "to give." The word "ahavah" literally means "I give."



Imagine for a moment that when you kissed your children goodnight, or share a moment with your spouse, or tell a friend "I love you" that what you really meant was "I give of myself to you and will sacrifice my life for yours."  This is the true meaning behind what the word Ahavah means and what Ahavah Farm stands for.  When we say, "Ahavah Farm." what we really mean is "Giving of Ourselves Farm" but that just doesn't have the same ring to it.  


As Jews, our family is called first and foremost to "be love," to "be ahavah": givers of ourselves.  To be kind, to be generous, to be uplifting and encouraging, to serve others, to make a difference in people's lives, to be stewards of our earth and to our environment.   We are called to give of ourselves to the world and community around us a better, more caring place (full disclaimer:  We fail at this all the time, hurt people, make mistakes and misjudgments and disappoint our children and others - so don't get the wrong idea here).  

As Jews we believe that nothing is ours, not even our own bodies, our time or our money.  We believe that the earth was lent to us by an awesome Creator and it doesn't belong to us as individuals to do with it as we please (and whether you believe in a Creator or not, most believe that the world is not ours, regardless of who or what created it).  It is not my right to mine our land destructively for resources, litter our land, waste our resources or squander our health.  It is not my right to kill as many animals as we can and eat as much meat as we can because we are gluttonous.  In fact, did you know that we (Jews) are required, in the Torah (the Bible) to feed our animals before we feed ourselves?  This is the level of service and responsibility we are called to (how much more so to our fellow humans?) and it is a message that we try to drive home to our children on a daily basis (though it doesn't always sink in!):  Kindness is the most important thing in life!

There is a concept in Judaism called "Tikkun Olam": Repairing the world.  It's a concept that shouldn't just be for the Jews, but for all of humanity - whether you believe in a higher power or not.  It's not just about the earth itself, though this is a huge part of it.  It's about repairing our communities, our environment and our souls and relationships.  To not just have a "feeling" towards these things, but to live them out in action.  

So if you say that you "love" something, then you have just called yourself to action: to DO something for and about it.  

Do you LOVE supporting local food?  Then stop going to Walmart.  Do you LOVE our earth?  Then why are you using mined chemicals and resources, wasting food, using plastic and not wrestling with your food choices and purchase decisions?  Do you LOVE people and your community?  Then why are you flipping people off and screaming at them when they cut you off in the car, or yelling and screaming at your children?  Why are you spreading gossip and hatred among your neighbors?  Why are we destroying ourselves and not giving people the benefit of the doubt?  Why are we not taking responsibility for our actions, judging others, treating others with disrespect and destroying our bodies if you LOVE them so much?  It's because we aren't living out true love, we are living out an emotion, a "feeling" and feelings and emotions don't last long or mean much without action.  

To do Tikkun Olam, we must give of ourselves, to be "Ahavah" to the world and sacrifice our own selfish wants and desires.  THIS is what our farm is called to. THIS is what our family is called to.  WE are called to bring kindness, sacrifice, service and giving to our world, to our communities, to our earth and to our own bodies and health - it's the meaning and purpose of life: to serve.  

Finally, I will leave you with this, one of the most important sayings, concepts and proverbs in our faith: "The world stands on three things - on the Torah (teachings and instructions for life, i.e. the Bible), service to others and deeds of kindness."  There is no greater message or mission in life than to be kind - to others, ourselves, our earth and our animals.  This is the meaning of Ahavah, and it is the meaning and mission of our family and our farm.  



Comments

  1. I Ahavah my community local farm and sustainable agriculture, and of course most of all my family.

    And yes Yosef you and your family as well. I want to do the best for my entire Community. Especially those who are leading, and living the example!

    ReplyDelete
  2. How do I join CSA? How much is 1 share of food? I sent u email.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please go to www.ahavahfarm.com to learn more and register.

      Thanks!

      Delete

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