R.E.L.A.T.E - Part 1 Continued - SELFLESS OR SELFISH
by Rabbi Michoel Gourarie
The great Rabbi Mendel of Kotzk observed a disciple eating fish. "Why are you eating fish?" he asked. "I love fish," the student replied. "If you really loved fish," Reb Mendel replied, "you wouldn't be eating it. It is yourself that you love, not the fish."
This is the core of the issue. Many relationships today are "I love fish" relationships. People enter into them purely to satisfy their own needs and enhance their own pleasure and gratification. They are there to serve their own existence and not to welcome that of another. An ego-based relationship is on very weak ground. As soon as any issue arises that threatens the self-centred goals of the relationship, it begins to breakdown and disintegrate. A relationship based on true love is one where both partners have the ability to give, understand the needs of the other, compromise and make room for each other with mutual respect.
When we enter into new relationships we look for compatibility, chemistry and shared values. These are all critical for a lasting relationship. But even when all these ingredients are present, there is a much deeper and more fundamental question to explore: Am I really ready for a relationship? I might be able to love the other but can I respect them?
When love is based first on respect it can be selfless (rather than selfish) and last.