In this week’s Parsha, we are commanded to love G-d with all our heart, soul, and money (6:5). How can we be commanded to love, and how real can that love be if it emerges from a commandment?
Rabbi Akiva Eiger explains that upon realizing what people and G-d have done for us, our natural response is to appreciate it. When someone genuinely shows us love, it’s natural for us to feel appreciated and return that love. The commandment acknowledges the reflexive nature of love and enables us to behold and appreciate the love reflected in all that G-d has done for us, which will naturally lead to our loving Him back. By extension, this lesson is true of all our relationships; focusing on love and kindness will inevitably bring that back to us in return and contribute to our overall happiness.