Mussar Ahavat HaShem – Love Your G-d 5
And you shall love the L-rd your G-d with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Devarim (Deuteronomy) 6.5
וְאָהַבְתָּ אֵת יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּכָל־לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָל־נַפְשְׁךָ וּבְכָל־מְאֹדֶךָ: ס
And you shall love ( vahavta ) – everything from Aleph to Tav – HaShem – Elohecha – with all – your heart – and with all – Nafshcha (soul) – and with all – your might.
With all your heart. Your heart should not be divided. We must love G-d with our Yetzer Tov ( our good inclination ) and with our Yetzer Rah ( our evil inclination ).
Love develops between those who are similar. Since man was created in HaShem’s Spiritual Image, there exists a connection between the Creator and mankind that culminates in Divine Love.
The love and fear of G-d are powerful means which draw an individual close to G-d. They enlighten the physical darkness in man, cause his soul to radiate in all its brightness, and thus elevate him step by step until he attains a state of closeness to G-d.
G-d Granted us one particular means which can bring us close to Him more than anything else. This is the study of His Revealed TORAH. The Way of G-d Moshe Chaim Luzzatto Feldheim page 71
The individual Jewish soul and the collective soul of the Jewish people are a rope that binds us to G-d. Our actions in this world influence the root of our souls. This rope ties us to HaShem. So our experiences here in this world are also the experiences Above in the Spiritual Realms. It is an awesome thought to understand that our behavior in this world affects the Divine Presence. See Torah Chumash Devarim The Book of Deuteronomy Kehot page 200
HaShem went with the Jewish people into exile in Egypt, into exile in Babylonia and is destined to be redeemed with them.
For the L-rd’s Portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of His inheritance. Devarim (Deuteronomy) 32.9
And God Said, Let us Make man in Our Image, after Our Likeness…Bereisheit (Genesis) 1.26
The Image of G-d – Tze’elim Demut
In Our Image – according to Our Likeness Bereisheit (Genesis) 1.26
The Image of G-d is a spark that flows from G-d and Infuses Divinity into each person.
As we consider this connection with G-d our first thoughts often lead us to an awareness of how far away we feel from G-d. These emotions should drive us to repentance.
An emotion cannot be compelled. The Mitzvot (Commandment) to Love G-d means that we should think about, contemplate about those things that will lead us to Love G-d. The same holds true for the Mitzvot to Love your neighbor as yourself. Vayikra (Leviticus) 19.18
So we should bring into this discussion a bit of what teshuva, repentance, means.
Reb Zusya of Anipoli, said that the word teshuvah is an acronym for five sacred verses that help us open our whole selves to the Transcendent One:
T: Tamim – Be sincere with HaShem your G-d. Devarim (Deuteronomy) 18:13
Sh: Shivisi – I have set HaShem before myself continuously. Tehillim (Psalms)16:8
U: V’ahavta – Love your fellow as yourself. Vayikra (Leviticus) 19:18
V: B’chol – In all your ways, know Him. Mishlei (Proverbs) 3:6
H: Hatznei’a – Walk discreetly with your G-d. Micha (Micah) 6:8
There are five levels of the Soul but there are only four levels of Teshuvah because at the highest level, our Yechidah Soul does not experience limitation.
Our Nefesh, our animal soul (physical soul) appears to limit us, telling us we cannot change. We believe there are forces out there that prohibit our change for the good.
Ruach is our emotional soul. We are often impacted by negative criticism. We allow those feelings of weakness and unworthiness to impact our resolve to change. We often feel that we cannot change.
Our Neshamah is our intellectual soul. Often our own thoughts and how we analyze our situations get in our way. We do not really believe we have the capacity for greatness.
Chayah is the part of our soul that forms a bridge as it were that connects us with an awareness of G-d as He Continually Creates the world around us. We should not allow this supra rational aspect of our soul to believe that there are limitations that we cannot overcome. Being one with The One is just what G-d Wants.
The point in loving G-d is to perform His Mitzvot (Commandments). You cannot love someone if you have no knowledge of him / her. So where, how, does one acquire knowledge of HaShem G-d?
We heal our souls and the world by converting our desire to receive for ourselves alone.
Through the practice of Torah and mitzvot, the will to receive is eventually transformed into the will to give. Then our souls are able to receive all the Good that is implicit in the thought of Creation. With this, they merit to a wondrous unity with G‑d, since they have earned affinity of form with their Creator through their work in Torah and mitzvot. This state is designated as the end of the healing process, the end of teshuvah.
This is what it means to love G-d with all your heart.
Blessings and Peace
Rebbetzin Revi Belk