Worldly love Chesed Olam

Gepubliceerd op 17 maart 2024 om 18:33


Hebrew Word Study – Wordly Love – Chessed Olam – Cheth Samek Daleth   Ayin Lam Mem 

John 13:35:  “By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples if ye have love one to another.”




In the Aramaic the word used in this verse for love is chava’  which means to cherish, which is another expression of love. The greatest is love.  We hear it all the time. I had a Jehovah Witness tell me the reason she belonged to the organization is because everyone loves each other. Then she pointed to John 13:35 as proof she belonged to the one true faith because they love each other.   I mean everybody today belongs to some group or organization where they get together and love each other. Christians get together and love each other, veterans get together and love each other, Peta gets together and loves each other as they love their animals, and even the LGBT get together and love each other for crying out loud.  So what is the difference? How are people to tell if we are truly His disciples when we love each other like the Socialist Party loves each other?

The word chava’ is a word used for all kinds of love, I don’t see where Jesus pointed out anything special about this love, only that it would prove they were His disciples. So once again I started to search through Jewish literature to see if the first-century disciples heard something that we don’t hear and I think I found it. 

Among Orthodox Jews, there is the belief that there are two types of love. The Rav Chessed and and Chessed  Olam.  Rav Chessed is attributed to Aaron.  Aaron’s name is really from the Middle Egyptian meaning a mountain of strength.  But this is a spiritual strength that was special to Aaron.  The sages called it Rav Chessed, Great Mercy or love, or Master of Mercy or love, but the intent is Divine Mercy or love.  The love of God flowed through Aaron. Aaron was the first Hebrew priest to possess this love.  The letters to Aaron’s name are Aleph, Hei, Resh, Nun.  The sages teach that this also spells out the Nir’ah which means a visual representation of something unseen. In other words, Aaron was a visual representation of the love of God.  This gift was said to be passed down through the generations of priests and is even seen today among members of the tribe of Levi.


This is more than just expressing the love of God but they had the ability to confer the aura of love on a group and nation. When Paul said in I Corinthians “faith, hope, and love but the greatest is love” I believe he was referring to Rav Chessed.  A Divine Love which can be conferred upon others who are willing to receive it.

There is another love called Chessed Olam, this is an earthly or worldly love, a natural love.  I believe the disciples hearing Jesus say that they would know we are Christians by their love for one another knew He was referring to Rav Chessed, a love that they passed on to each other and to the rest of the world. It was a love they could not generate on their own, it was a natural divine love that came from the very presence of Jesus living inside of them.

Did you ever meet a person and just somehow know they belonged to God, even before they spoke? I remember years ago a friend of mine went to the old Soviet Union when it was under Communist rule and it was a crime to be Christian. He was sent by a mission board to make contact with the underground church and find out what American Christians could do to help them. He knew very little about Russia and could hardly read it. He had no idea how he could find a Christian but he just believed God would lead him to them.  He was riding on a bus when a young man sat in another seat facing him. He was smiling. That was his first clue, nobody smiled in that atheistic country.  The American Christian smiled back and then the young Russian reached into a plastic bag and held out some papers. The little Russian my friend knew was enough to recognize these as handwritten copies of Scripture verses.  Bibles were forbidden, but someone had a Bible and hand-copied portions of Scripture.  He smiled and handed the papers back to the young Christian who held those papers to his breast as if they were his very soul. The young Russian handed him a book.  The Americans knew is was a hymn book. He could not read the Russian but he could read the music.  It was that hymn “How Great Thou Art.”  The American began to sing it in English and this Russian young man just began to weep. The American wanted to give him his Bible but the Russian said in broken English; “No, I cannot be seen taking anything from you.”  He then got up to get off the bus but before he did he reached out and hugged this American Christian and said: “I can never see you again, but I will see you again, one day I will see you again.” He then walked off the bus. That was fifty years ago, neither is likely alive today, which means they have met again. 

They will know we are Christians by our Rav Chessed for each other. 



Hebrew Word Study – Wordly Love – Chessed Olam | Chaim Bentorah