Jewish Philosophy And Social Work Jewish Social Philosophy For centuries, mankind as a whole has always desired or searched for love at some given point if not for their entire life span. Love is a concept that while the dictionary will give you various definitions, can not really be defined, but rather felt. Even if we believe we are experiencing feelings of love at some point, there is no guarantee that the experience then is an ever-lasting true love. Love grows and changes throughout one’s life starting hopefully with ones parents leading to peers, and on to life partners. Over time, many philosophers have looked into this topic, trying to explain and break down what exactly the concept is. It is the object of this paper to look at both Soleveichick as well as Maimonedes, and apply their views to both a modern day perspective and social work.
Love being a concept that has been around since the beginning of time according to some may have been a divine idea. If you look at the way Soleveichick breaks down the character of first man into Adam I and Adam II, I think my point can be clearly seen. According to Soleveichick it seems that Adam I is the utilitarian character by action and attitude, I will return to him later. Adam II on the other had is an existential character by his nature. By that it seems to mean that Adam II in the case of love would be the more romantic character, the one which many at some point of life desire this type of a loving relationship. This is the character where love comes truly within; it is a spiritual kind of love, where one really needs nothing in return but the love itself.
In today’s standards these are the people one would just buy flowers for, take long walks on the beach with, as well as exploring and experiencing issues as well as acts of intimacy with. These are the people we desire as life partners (does not necessarily have to be for a marital type of relationship.) at times. I know that from my personal experience at this point in my life I am having my first experience of true love other than the parental one I had. The person I am referring to is now my fiance. The feeling I have towards her are one’s of total joy which run through my body, that words can not do justice. It is that burning desire within to constantly see, be with, and hold on to her.
For me I believe that it is mostly an Adam II type of a relationship we are having. Of course love in this manner for different people can have different feelings as well as meanings, after all every man has their own characters. Another thing derived from the character of Adam II that it was Gods intention to find someone they love and eventually spend the rest of their lives with this person. Maybe God was even saying in a way that one can not go through life and be complete without a partner. I quote in Genesis (chapter 2 vs.22-23) “and he took one of his sides and he filled in flesh in its place.
Then Hashem, God fashioned the side that he had taken from man into a woman”. Not only did this end first man’s utilitarian loneliness, it also may have been showing us how we should feel about a loved one. The second person whether she was actually created from the first persons rib or side is unimportant. What one can derive from this is that not only was there a creation made at this point but a strong bondage as well, bonding man to his fellow man. Scripture seems to be saying that when we love someone it should be as if they are in fact a part of ourselves, as if they are physically attached to us. It seems God’s doing the creation in this manner was giving an important message. It seems to be saying that an individual can not lead a healthy, comfortable life without sharing it with love ones. We see that first man was not content on his own even though he had the entire world in his hands, neither are we.
I am not saying that this love must exist between man and woman per say, nor am I saying that the only form of reaching this feeling is through marriage. Rather I am saying is we can not go through life alone, without love, it is simply not in man’s nature. Adam I on the other hand asks more of the question, what will I get out of this relationship, what is in it for me. It is here where I can see Soleveichick referring to more of a Freud Id driven character. This is the type of person that will say I am going with this person for she will cook for me every night. I will bring a personal example to this scenario as well.
I love my father for he is the provider of my family. I will not go into the issues of why I really feel I only love him that way I ma just pointing out that that kind of love can exist. Of course the characteristics of Adam’s I and II can be combined into one relationship, and it seems that it is often the case. Returning to the concept of life partners once again we could go again to Soleveichick concept of loneliness. Continuing to use Soleveichicks characters of Adam I and II, the utilitarian/ Adam I aspect of loneliness can be taken care of through loved ones, especially a lifetime partner, making us physically not alone. The person we have feelings of love toward we desire to be with, we yearn for. These people who are able to resolve ones loneliness can also act as friends or even co-workers.
So at least it is possible to conquer the Adam I type of loneliness with being around others. It is the Adam II aspect of loneliness which may be far more difficult to conquer. Soleveichick accepts this aspect of an internal loneliness and uses it positively, turning him to a better relationship with God. He believes that God is essential here , due to his faith he can not come to terms with this loneliness in any other manner. He feels that humans can not dispel it ultimately because it is part of humanity only through God can this loneliness be shared. There are many people whose belief and faith in God are not as strong, or simply there are those who do not believe in any God.
It is here were ones immediate reaction might be to turn to the social worker. It would be great if we could just say that the person suffering with the Adam II loneliness may simply fear the unspeakable or the underlying unconscious has some kind of unresolved issue that needs to be looked at. It would be easy to try a psychoanalytic approach and go through ones history to try and find the root of the problem. If one can in fact connect to God, why can he connect to man as well? Why can’t empathy as well as a strong model of interve …