If you’re a person who believes that there is nothing outside the material world: no G-d, no spiritual forces, no power beyond what the senses can experience, then you might be inclined to say that love, for lack of a better word, is non-sense.
Love may, in fact, be an evolutionary development. Knowing that human beings survive better in groups than alone, evolution may have driven our attachment to others. We know that hormones in our brain create the passionate emotions which give us amorous feelings, and our specific desires in our romantic partners come from a process of trial-and-error; our brains learning to attach value to those who have the qualities that make us happy, creating “love maps” which guide us to the right partners.
If love is simply a result of thousands of years of natural selection, then it’s trivial to have a holiday like Valentines Day. After all, we do not have a holiday that celebrates other biological phenomena. This urge to make love the central theme of celebration points me in the direction toward believing that love is in some way “real” beyond physiology.
Ask anyone who does not believe in spirituality if love is real, and you’ll generally get a “yes” reply. That’s because there is something within people that takes the emotion called love, and removes it from this material, biological, personal experience. We can objectively see love as a pleasure button in the brain, but we don’t. We treat love as though it is a condition outside of human experience, like an ideal to strive for, to celebrate, and to insist on from the whole of the human race. Love is both personified, and transcendental. Love is so close that we feel our skin tingle, but so far away that we yearn for it.
Does this remind you of anything?
In the same way that we feel about love, we can feel about G-d. G-d is a condition outside of human experience, an ideal state to achieve, to celebrate. If you believe in the idea of human redemption, then G-d, like love, is something that the whole world should be drawn toward. We feel G-d close to us, and yet, so far away. G-d, like love, seems to hurt us sometimes, and heal us sometimes. And we know from science that our brains may be wired to experience religious ecstasy in the same way that our bodies create the chemicals of love and attachment to those around us.
Science proves what religious has said for thousands of years, that G-d and G-d’s love, are inside us.
It makes perfect sense to celebrate Valentines Day and to feel its Jewishness, because our covenant to cling to G-d, to create a just world, act in compassion for our neighbor, are all rooted in a sense of love that is beyond the material world. So remember this Valentine’s Day, whether it’s romantic love, the love of a friend, familial love, or the love of a child, remember that love, and G-d, are within us, always
And as a side note, there is a Jewish Valentines Day called Tu B’Av.