I read in one of Rav Dessler's books where he says that the root word of אהבה is הב, which means "give" in Aramaic.

Does anyone know where he mentions this?

  • 1
    Isn't this a gemara
    – sam
    Mar 8, 2015 at 16:20
  • @Sam, I believe it is Rav Dessler's innovation.
    – LN6595
    Mar 8, 2015 at 18:34
  • It makes much sense. In Judaism, love is about giving, not getting as it is lehavdil in the secular world.
    – DanF
    Mar 8, 2015 at 22:09
  • Rav Hirsch, breshis 22:2 אשר אהבת - מלשון הב, דהיינו לתת ולהתמסר לזולת, וגם לראות שהזולת יתחבר אליו, I think all Rav Hirsch is saying is that giving is indicative of love, and that if you love someone, you give them things to ensure that they will love you back. It's a little less romantic than the way Rav Dessler allegedly explained.
    – user9763
    Jul 13, 2015 at 8:13

2 Answers 2


Rav Dessler, I believe, writes this in מכתב מאליהו חלק א קונטרוס החסד

After a quick perusal I did not find it there. However, others cite it from that source, as well. See here and here


Rav Eliyahu Dessler (Michtav Me’Eliyahu Volume 1, Kuntres HaChesed, pages 35-38) says, “Every positive emotion stems from giving and flows outward from us to others, whereas every negative emotion revolves around taking for selfish motives.” Indeed, the root of the Hebrew word for אהבה, love, is הב, to give. In other words, “Giving leads to Love."

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