Pirkei Avot 5:19
2 ב
כל אהבה שהיא תלויה בדבר--בטל דבר, בטלה אהבה; ושאינה תלויה בדבר, אינה בטילה לעולם. איזו היא אהבה שהיא תלויה בדבר, זו אהבת אמנון ותמר; ושאינה תלויה בדבר, זו אהבת דויד ויהונתן.
Whenever love depends upon something and it passes, then the love passes away too. But if love does not depend upon some ulterior interest then the love will never pass away. What is an example of the love which depended upon some material advantage? That of Amnon for Tamar. And what is an example of the love which did not depend upon some ulterior interest? That of David and Jonathan. [Translation by Rabbi Steven Greenberg]
3 ג

Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. Sexual desire seems to be described here as an ulterior motive that weakens the power of love. Is this true?

2. Is there something about sexual desire that could make it a threat to continuity? Might it work in the other way, to strengthen a relationship? If so, how?

3. What do you make of the volatility of heterosexual desire (Amnon and Tamar) and the stability of the love Jonathan and David?

4. Is the author forcing a platonic picture onto David and Jonathan or might there be another element that makes their love endure despite a similar passion that Jonathan (like Amnon) has for David?

4 ד
Time Period: Rabbinic (Maccabees through the Talmud)