In the portion of Vaetchanan, we are introduced to the Shema, the second verse of which begins with the command: “And you should love G‑d . . . ”

When it comes to loving, you either do or don’t. You cannot be made to love. How then do we fulfill this commandment?

To be understood is to be loved.

Most women know this naturally, as they yearn to be understood. When they feel understood, they feel loved.

To understand, you must listen. To listen is to remove your personal understanding and feelings on the subject, and hear it from the other person’s perspective exclusively. To listen is not just about hearing. It’s about picking up on nuances, such as facial expressions, body language and hints. To experience the other.

Again, most women naturally know how to listen. Most men do not. Hence comes the complaint, “He doesn’t listen!” Like anything, good listening takes effort.

G‑d wants to be understood (to the extent that we can understand Him). The more we understand about G‑d, the more we love Him. Since He is infinite, there is always more to know.

G‑d is saying, “Try to understand me, from my perspective. Hints are found all over the Torah. Pick up on the hints. Listen.”

G‑d is asking us to understand why He created this world and how we fit in the scheme of things. He wants us understand Him, to know Him.

A hint to this is found in the first verse of the Shema. In the Torah, this verse has two oversized letters: ע and ד. Together, they make up the Hebrew word da (דע), “to know” or “to understand.”

“Hear o Israel” (If you will listen, da, you will understand) “the L‑rd is our G‑d, the L‑rd is One.” This will then lead you to the next verse: “And then you will love G‑d. . . ”

Knowing G‑d’s purpose for you will motivate you and animate you; you will find deep meaning in fulfilling His will. Not from a feeling of obligation, but rather from love.

Listen, understand, love.

(For a deeper understanding of G‑d. I would suggest learning Chabad chassidus. Contact your local Chabad rabbi for more info.)