I've been wanting to write about this subject for a while. I mentioned previously when I first commented on Deathly Hallows that I didn't think that Snape's love for Lily was true love, but rather seemed like obsession to me. But in the style of Harry Potter and Torah, I wanted to write about it based on a Torah perspective.
In the meanwhile, I happen to have gotten engaged a few weeks ago, so the subject has been on my mind. (Love, that is, not obsession.)
So, was Snape's so-called great love for Lily true love, or not?
I think that the starting point is to see what the Torah says a relationship is all about. Why do couples love each other?
Many people have the impression that a religious marriage is only for the purpose of having children. Certainly having children is a mitzva, and the Torah commands us to "be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and tame it." This is a mitzva, a commandment, and obviously a reason to get married.
That said, I think that it's clearly not the reason that relationships exist.
In the book of Genesis, in the story of the creation of mankind, the Torah tells us that G-d said "it is not good for man to be alone," and then proceeded to create the entire gender distinction in human beings. After G-d seperated men and women into two distinct genders, the Torah says "therefore a man leaves his parent and joins his wife."
It's clear from this that the entire creation of relationships in the world was for a simple reason: it's not good for people to be alone. We've been created, straight from the beginning of Creation, in way that it's better for us to be in a relationship.
So phase one of my conclusion about Snape and Lily was that whatever there was between them, it wasn't true love, at least not from the Torah's perspective. True love needs a relationship, needs two people to be together, not to be alone. Lily was with James, and Snape was apparently alone his whole life. That's not a relationship in the sense that the Torah tells us that people should have.
Obviously there's a lot more to write about this. The Torah elsewhere defines "love" as doing for others. The ethical book Michtav MiEliyahu (translated into English as Strive for Truth) defines love as doing for another without wanting to get anything in return. But I'll stop here for now, and write more later.
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