By Jeff A. Benner, excerpted from his book The Living Words
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In our modern Western culture, love is an abstract thought of emotion, how one feels toward another, but the Hebrew word אהב ahav [H:157] goes much deeper than simple emotion.
The parent root of this word is הב hav. While this root is not found in the Biblical text, a couple of other derivatives are. The word הבהב havhav [H:1890], a noun meaning "gift" and יהב yahav [H:3051], a verb meaning "to provide," help to supply the fuller Hebraic understanding of אהב ahav [H:157].
We do not choose our parents or siblings, but they are instead given to us as a gift from above, a privileged gift. Even in the Ancient Hebrew culture, one's wife was chosen for him. It is our responsibility to provide and protect those privileged gifts. As a verb, the Hebrew word אהב ahav [H:157] means "to provide and protect what is given as a privileged gift." We are to love God, neighbors, and family, not in an emotional sense, but in the sense of our actions.