Concepts in Kabbalah and Chassidus: Ahavas Hashem


Ahavas Hashem:

Ahava Betaanugim is higher than Yirah Ilah, Bittul Bemetzius. Accordingly the seder is Yirah Tataa, Ahavah, Yira Ila and Ahava Betanuim.[1]

Impossible to have love without fear:[2] Fear of Hashem is the gateway for achieving love of G-d. One who does not have fear of G-d, cannot achieve love, and if he feels love, it is not real and is a fiction of his hearts imagination. Love of Hashem is given to a person from Hashem, and Hashem only gives it to a person who has fear of Him.

How to achieve love: Way to reach Ahavah is by first having Yirah which is fighting and subjugating desires of animal soul.[3] Must break animal soul, which is breaking heart in order to feel love.[4] In order to do Ishapcha must first have Bittul. In order to feel love must first have bittul.[5] If has heart of stone think about Rachmnaus of soul [level of Yaakov] and this will arouse love.[6]

Contemplate how the matter is good for you:[7] Love is created through contemplation of Hashem. However, in order for this contemplation to bring an emotional fruition one must contemplate how Hashem is good for him and how attaching to Him is beneficial.

Contemplations that arouse love of Hashem: He is our life. All is nullified to him.[8] The seichel and contemplation which arouses fear is not the same contemplation that arouses love.[9]

The wings that elevate the Mitzvos:[10] The Zohar states that love and fear of G-d are the wings that elevate the Mitzvos to the upper worlds, and cause their Divine unification [i.e. Yichudim]. This means that the love which motivates the Mitzvah, which is the longing to attach and cleave to G-d, serves as the rocket or propeller for the Mitzvah to reach the supernal worlds. A Mitzvah without this motivation of longing and is like a bird without a wing which is unable to fly above, and the Mitzvah hence remains below under the sun.

Kabalas Ol: Even the love of Hashem and fulfillment of the Mitzvah must be done with Kabalas Ol. The Arizal thus stated that one is to recite “Hareini Mikabel Alay Ol Mitzvas Asei Shel Kerias Shema prior to reading it.[11]

Yosef represents the hidden love:[12] Every single Jew contains a hidden love of G-d within his soul. This love is nurtured to one’s soul through Yosef Hatzadik. Yosef collected all the money of the world and hid it into three treasures. Spiritually, this represents the hiding of the love of G-d within the soul. On this the verse states Or Zarua Latzadik, that the light of G-d, which is Chesed, and love, is hidden in the Tzaddik, in Yosef Hatzadik, and from there is planted in the G-dly soul.

Klos Hanefesh:[13] One’s inner passion for G-d can be so powerful that he will die if he does not receive his desire. Feeling that touch one’s inner soul can actually lead to death.

Two loves: There are two levels of love, one comes on its own and it has no request of passion to attach [as it already feels the attachment]. The other where it desires the attachment. One is to have this passion to attach to Hashem in prayer and then learn torah and do Mitzvos with great Simcha, as when he does so he attaches to Hashem. This is meaning of serving Hashem with Simcha, to perform the Mitzvos with passion to attach to Him, and rejoice over the attachment. [14]

Action is main part:[15] The world thinks the main thing is the feeling and love, excitement and passion one feels in doing the Mitzvah. In truth however the main thing is the action without any pleasure, and it’s just that the pleasure helps for the action.

Natural love is higher than new love:[16] The hidden love found in a Jew is greater than the independent love that a Jew creates through contemplation.

Intellectual love:[17] At times, as well as in certain souls, it is not possible to arouse a palpable love of G-d in one’s heart. Rather one arouses an intellectual pull towards attaching to G-d, with his heart remaining a distance from this desire. Although this love is not true love of Hashem, nevertheless, since it is a viable motivation and cause for one to perform Torah and Mitzvos and overcome the evil inclination, therefore Hashem considers it as a true love of Him, and attaches it to the actions done. This intellectual desire to cleave to G-d becomes similar to palpable love felt in the heart and acts as the wings to elevate one’s Torah and Mitzvos above to Heaven. These wings help elevate the Mitzvos to the world of Beiryah, just as would occur if there was actual love created in the heart. However to be elevated to Yetzira it anyways suffices to have the natural born love contained hidden in the heart, and one does not need intellectual love to bring it there. On this Chazal state “A good thought Hashem attaches to the action.”[18] On this the verse states “Ki Karov Eilecha Hadavar Meod” as although it is difficult to arouse a palpable love within the heart, it is nevertheless very much within one’s capability to arouse this love in the mind, as every person has control of his thoughts. Through contemplation one can arouse an intellectual desire to cleave to Hashem through his Torah and Mitzvos.[19] A true Rasha however does not have control of his thoughts, as their hearts are in control of their minds and not the opposite. This is a result of their great sin. In order to regain control of the mind over the heart, the Rasha must first do Teshuvah.[20]

The loves of Bechal Levavcha, Nafshecha, Meodecha:[21] The love of Bechol Levavcha is a passion to attach to Hashem that comes from both his animal and G-dly soul. It is triggered by contemplation in Mimalei Kol Almin and how the true life of everything is Elokus. The love of Bechol Nafshecha is a passion to attach to Hashem that comes from the Chaya of the G-dly soul, to the point of Mesirus Nefesh. Meaning, that one desires to expire. It is triggered by contemplation in how everything in creation is a mere ray of G-dliness. The love of Bechol Meodecha is an attachment to Hashem from the Yechida of the soul to the point of absolute nullification where he does Mesirus Nefesh not because he wants to, but because there is no other option as its impossible to separate from G-d. It is triggered by a revelation of Atzmus Or Ein Sof.

Hashem loves the Jewish people:[22] Hashem loves the Jewish people like a father loves his son. This love will never change.

One can arouse his hidden love at any moment:[23] At any time and at any moment a person has the ability and choice to arouse love for Hashem which is hidden inside his heart. One has the choice to banish the spirit of folly that clouds his emotions and mind and reveal his hidden love for G-d.

Balancing love and fear:[24] It is not possible for one to simultaneously experience both love and fear regarding worldly matters. However in service of Hashem one is able to carry both feelings simultaneously.

The levels of love and fear that derive from Elokim and those that derive from Havayah:[25] Both regarding love and fear we find verses that connect them to Gevurah/Elokim. Thus both love and fear derive from Elokim. The reason for this is because both love and fear of G-d come as result contemplating Elokus, G-d“s greatness, and how He invests a ray of Himself within the creations, which is only applicable by Elokim. As Havayah is above comprehension, thereby the love and fear cannot derive from it.  Nevertheless, this is not to say that there is no love which derives from Havayah, on the contrary the love which comes from Havayah is much more powerful than that which comes from Elokim, rather this is discussing love that can be reached by the person through his own efforts, and in this regard only the love that derives from Elokim can be reached. Nevertheless, this love of Elokim is really only a prerequisite for receiving from above the love that derives from Havayha. Thus, the love of Elokim is an “Arousal from below” to receive the love of Havayah from an arousal from above.  Now, since this love from Havayah comes from level above worlds, Ein Sof, therefore it cannot become invested the way it is within a soul, being that a soul is limited, as are all creations. Therefore the revelation from above goes through Tzimtzum (which is the concept of the name Sha-day, which means a stop of revelation to the worlds) and becomes invested within the name Elokim (z”a of Atzilus”) in order for it to be drawn below. This love then becomes called Havayah Elokim, as it involves both Devine names.

The above levels of love in prayer: From Pesukei Dezimra until Kerias Shema is the service of the love of Elokim while shema itself is receiving from above the love of Havayah.


[1] Likkutei Torah Maseiy Last Mamr

[2] Or Torah [Maggid] Parshas Vayechi 59

[3] Likkutei Torah Maseiy Last Mamr

[4] Likkutei Torah Behar 1st Mamar

[5] Torah Or Vayakehl 2nd Mamar

[6] Likkutei Torah Emor p. 99

[7] Torah Or Vaeira 58a

[8] Torah Or Vayakhel 1st Mamar

[9] Torah Or Toldos

[10] Tanya chapter 40

[11] Likkutei Torah Yom Kippur p. 138

[12] Torah Or Vayigash 44a-b

[13] Likkutei Torah Rieie 26a

[14] Likkutei Torah Savo 43a

[15] Torah Or Chayeh Sara 17a

[16] Torah Or Vayigash 44c

[17] Tanya chapter 16-17

[18] Tanya chapter 16

[19] Tanya chapter 17

[20] Tanya chapter 17

[21] Mamar Shuva Yisrael 1977, printed in Melukat 4/6

[22] Torah Or Bo p. 60d

[23] Tanya chapter 25

[24] Keser Shem Tov 36 in name of Ramban

[25] Torah Oar Vaera 2nd Mamar

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