In his autobiography, the great director Akira Kurosowa muses: “’Mono-no-aware,’ sadness at the fleeting nature of things, like the sweet, nostalgic sorrow of watching the cherry blossoms fall — when I heard this ancient poetic term, I was suddenly struck by enlightenment as if waking from a dream.”
When the cantor repeats the Amidah, there is one prayer the congregation must say for itself — the Modim, the prayer of thanksgiving. One statement in the Talmud teaches that in the time of the Messiah, all the sacrifices will be abolished save one — the sacrifice of thanksgiving. Even in the perfect age, there will be a need to offer thanks.
The first mention of love in the Torah occurs in Genesis 22 when God tells Abraham to offer up Isaac, “whom you love.”
Why should The Torah choose this improbable moment to mention love for the first time? For a moment let us set aside all the other questions involved in the very difficult story to ponder why love is introduced here.