Ahavat Olam beit Yisrael am'cha ahavta
With an eternal love have You loved the House of Yisrael, Your nation.
Torah u'mitzvot, chukim u'mishpatim, otanu limadta
Torah and commandments, decrees and ordinances have you taught us.
Al kein Hashem Elokeinu, beshach-veinu uvkumeinu nasi-ach bechukecha,
venismach bedivrei toratecha uvmitzvotecha le-olam va'ed
Therefore Hashem, our G-d, upon our retiring and arising, we will discuss Your decrees
and we will rejoice with the words of Your Torah and with Your commandments for all eternity.
Ki heim cha-yeinu ve-orech yameinu, u'vahem neh-geh yomam valailah
For they are our life and the length of our days and about them we will meditate day and night.
Ve-ahavat'cha al tasir mimenu le-olamim. Baruch atah Hashem, oheiv amo Yisrael. Amein
May You not remove Your love from us forever. Blessed are You, Hashem, Who loves His nation Yisrael. Amein.
Ahavat Olam (Eternal Love or Everlasting Love) is the initial words of the prayer that precedes the Shema'.
Ahavah Rabbah (Great Love) is used in the morning daily service and Ahavat Olam in the evening service. The slight variation of the wording of the blessings for the morning (Ahavah Rabbah) and the evening (Ahavat Olam) services stems from the two versions that existed among the sages of the Talmud. Samuel preferred the version that begins the words Ahavah Rabbah ("great love"), but the majority of the rabbis were in favor of the version that begins with the words Ahavat Olam ("eternal love") (Berachot 11b). This therefore became the version used in the Sephardic rite, both morning and evening. In the post-Talmudic period, the Geonim decided that both should be recited...Ahavah Rabbah at the morning service and Ahavat Olam at the evening service and so such is the practice in the Ashkenazi rite.
Like the morning version the evening blessing, Ahavat Olam...
is an ecstatic expression of gratitude to G-d for the gift of Torah. Only after acknowledging our dependence on, and love for, the Torah, can we go on to express our undivided loyalty and dedication to Hashem, the One and Only G-d, Who gave us this most precious gift.
The blessing begins with an expression of an axiom of Jewish existence: G-d loves us. The fact that He chose to give us His Torah proves that it is the vehicle for our national fulfillment. Therefore we dedicate ourselves to study it...constantly, joyously, and devotedly (Siach Yitzchak) (Artscroll Siddur, p. 258)
- Artscroll Complete Siddur
- Encyclopedia Of Jewish Concepts, Philip Birnbaum
- To Pray As A Jew, Rabbi Donin