When people asked Jesus about the greatest of all commandments, he answered without hesitation. Jesus just like Rabbi Hillel before him affirmed that both of the commandments had to do with love – One was to be directed to the One True God and another to God’s imperfect people.
As you know, there are all kinds of people that we come across, some we like a lot, others we can tolerate, while others we can’t stand at all.
Right about now, you should be asking yourself why are we discussing how difficult it is “to like” some people and not what is really commended – “to love” them. Please, allow me to explain.
In many (if not most) languages there is a clear distinction between “liking” and “loving”. It is often said that God did not command us to like people, but to love them instead!
The problem is that there is no such distinction in Hebrew!!!
In Hebrew, one and the same word is used for a verb “to like” and “to love” – leAhov (לאהוב). To love means to like and to like means to love. There is no difference!
Recent studies in human behavior support this Hebrew notion. The research shows that we develop positive attitudes/feelings/likings towards the people that we did not previously enjoy, AFTER we begin to behave lovingly towards them.
What this university research shows is the same thing that we should have already known from Biblical Hebrew.