Tanya Chapter 44: Loving Hashem-The love for life & love for your father

Chapter 44: Loving Hashem-The love for life & love for your father

2nd Iyar/(LY) 28th Nissan

  1. Finding your personal love-The myriads of levels in the two types of love:
  • Both qualities of love described in the previous chapter, which are Ahavah Raba and Ahavas Olam, subdivide into limitless grades and levels which correspond to each person on his level.
  • One’s level of Love is personally tailored for him: The specific grade and level attained by the individual is dependent on the personal spiritual capacity granted to his soul by G-d. This follows the statement of the Zohar[1], which interprets the verse[2] “Noda Bashearim Baalah/The husband knows in the gates,” that this verse is describing Hashem [i.e. the husband of every Jewish soul] and how He attaches Himself in accordance with the gates of each person’s heart.
  • Torah and Mitzvahs are equal for all while love fluctuates by person: It is for this reason that the Torah[3] describes the feelings of love and fear as “Nistaros LaHashem Elokeinu, matters that are hidden and known only to G-d” as in truth every Jewish soul has ability to experience a unique form and level of love in his heart which is only known to G-d. However, the Torah and Mitzvahs are considered “revealed to us and our children” as they equally apply to all Jews, as all Jews must follow the same Torah laws and perform the same actions of the Mitzvahs. This is in contrast to fear and love, its level and quality experienced by the person is dependent on his heart and mind.

  1. A love that incorporates all levels and is plausible for all people-The love for life:
  • There exists one love that is incorporated of all the aspects and levels of Ahava Raba and Ahavas Olam, and is plausible for every Jew, being an inheritance from our forefathers. This love is referred to in the Zohar as the love of life.
  • G-d is our life and we therefore love Him as we live our life: The Zohar[4] brings the verse[5] “Nafshi Avisicha Balayla etc./My soul, I desire you at night” and interprets it as follows: One should love Hashem the same way that he loves his soul and spirit, just as they are attached to the body and the body loves them. This then is the meaning of the words “My soul I desire you,” it means to say, “Since you Hashem are my soul and true life; therefore, I desire You.” Meaning, I desire and yearn for you like a man who yearns for the life of his soul.
  • It is mostly conscious when you are weak or sleeping: This yearning for life becomes conscious in a person mostly when he is weak, and feels sick, in which case he desires and yearns that his soul return to him. Similarly, when one goes to sleep, he desires and waits that his soul returns to him upon awakening.
  • A yearning to attach to G-d through learning His Torah: To this same measure one has a natural yearning and desire for Hashem and His infinite light who is the true source of life, to draw it down into his innards through learning Torah after awakening at night, as the Torah and Hashem are One. This too is expressed in the Zohar, as it states that man needs out of love for G-d to awaken each night and try to learn Torah until morning.

3rd Iyar/(LY) 29th Nissan

  1. The second natural inherited love-Love for Hashem due to Him being our father:
  • There exists a greater and more intense love than the love described above [which is a love for G-d due to Him being one’s life and spirit] which is likewise hidden in the hearts of every single Jewish soul, as an inheritance from our forefathers. This love is described in the Raya Mehemna [i.e. Zohar[6]] as a love in which the son attempts to help his father and mother, as his love for them is greater than his love for his very own life, spirit and soul [and he is willing to give up his life to save them[7]].
  • Not just for Moshe: Now, [although the above statement in the Zohar refers to Moshe’s Divine service, in truth it includes all the Jewish people as] we all have the same father. [Thus, every Jew has an inherit love for G-d due to the fact that He is our father. Accordingly, this love surpasses the intensity of the previous love for life, as in this love one loves G-d, one’s father, even more than life itself, while in the previous love the love of G-d is a result of one’s love of life and is limited to the intensity of one’s love for it.]


  1. This love is received from Moshe:
  • The light of Moshe shines in each generation: Although it is true, that it would be quite pompous and arrogant for one to attempt to reach even 1/1000th of a degree of love attained by Moshe Rabbeinu [whose love was described in the Zohar], nonetheless, a minute portion of Moshe’s goodness and light shines to the general population of Israel in every generation.
  • It is thus stated in the Tikkunim[8] that an emanation of Moshe is present in every generation, in order to enlighten them. [Now, although it was previously stated that this love is an inheritance from our forefathers, which is in reference to our patriarch Avraham, and not Moshe, this only refers to the love in general, that there is a general feeling of love inherited in the soul of each Jew due to that Hashem is our father. However, that this love reaches the intensity that one loves Hashem more than his own life, this indeed is a result of the service of Moshe and the ray that he shines within the souls of each generation.[9]]


  1. The state in which this love is found in every Jew and how to make oneself conscious of it:
  • State of concealment: The above ray that shines by Moshe into the souls of each generation is in a state of great concealment. Nonetheless, to bring out this hidden love from its state of concealment to a revealed state of consciousness in one’s heart and mind is not beyond one’s reach at all. It is neither daunting nor a distance away but is truly very close to one’s mouth and heart.
  • How is this accomplished-Verbalizing the love? By one accustoming himself to verbally expressing with his tongue and voice this love, until it arouses the concentration of his heart and mind, to immerse his thoughts in the ideas that arouse this love. Meaning, that one’s mind deeply concentrates on the idea that Hashem is the life of all life, and that he is truly our father, and the source of our life. This then arouses the love for G-d, similar to the love of a son to his father.
  • Now, when one accustoms himself continuously to expressing the above and to meditate on it, this feeling will become part of his nature [and will be quite easy to re-enter into one’s consciousness daily even without much deep concentration].

4th Iyar

  1. Even if the love does not feel real-it is real:
  • [What should one do if he tries the above contemplations to arouse a love for Hashem like a son to his father, but is unsuccessful in feeling a true feeling in his heart. Should this love be dismissed or does even its imagination have some power. The Alter Rebbe answers as follows:] Even if one feels that the love aroused through his contemplation is seemingly a figment of his imagination, and not a true love, he should not become saddened by this, as it is intrinsically true, as in truth every Jew contains a hidden love in his heart. [Furthermore, regarding the purpose of this love, it makes no difference if one actually feels it, or imagines that he feels it, as explained next.]


  1. The purpose of the love-To perform Torah and Mitzvahs:
  • The entire purpose of revealing this love is to motivate one to perform the actions of learning Torah and doing Mitzvahs [for the proper reasons].
  • How the love motivates the fulfillment of Mitzvahs: Meaning, that as a result of having this love revealed he will learn Torah and fulfill Mitzvahs in order to give gratification to Hashem, like a son serving his father. [Thus, even if his love is imaginative, so long as he brings these results in his intent of his learning and Mitzvahs, it has fulfilled its purpose.]
  • Hashem attaches the thoughts of love to the action: [Now, although the quality of this intent is lacking if in truth the love is merely imaginative, nevertheless] on this Chazal state that a good thought Hashem attaches to the action to become wings to make the good deed fly above. [Thus, although Torah and Mitzvahs require a motivation of love and fear to make it soar upwards to G-d, which refers to a palpable love felt in the heart, nevertheless if one only manages to conceive a love in his mind, Hashem sees his good intent and turns it into the wings that would have been created through the emotional love.]

  1. The pleasure Hashem gets from one’s Torah and Mitzvahs:
  • Like the joy of a father whose son was redeemed from captivity: [Above, it was stated that the purpose of this love is so one serve Hashem with the intent of causing Him gratification. Now, what gratification does Hashem get from one’s service?] The gratification Hashem receives from one’s Divine service is similar to the joy of a king who greets his son who came to him after being liberated from captivity. [The G-dly soul of a Jew is, as explained above, an extension of Hashem, and akin to a son of G-d. When this Jew performs Torah and Mitzvahs, it redeems the beloved son [i.e. the soul] from the concealment and spiritual captivity that it was found in within the physical world, body and animal soul. This causes Hashem much joy.]
  • The joy of being able to dwell below: Another gratification that Hashem receives through one’s Divine service is due to the fact that He is now able to dwell below. [The entire reason for creation is because Hashem desired for mortal beings who face spiritual challenges to invite Him to the world. Thus, when we serve Him with Torah and Mitzvos we invite Him to the world and fulfill this purpose, thus giving Him much gratification. Accordingly, the above-mentioned love of a son to a father which one is to contemplate and reveal, is to then be used to serve Hashem to cause Him gratification of seeing his son redeemed from captivity and giving Him a dwelling place below.]

  1. How to make oneself conscious of the first love-the love for one’s life:
  • [All that was stated above regarding the second form of love of a son to his father, is equally true regarding the first form of love, the love for one’s life.] Also, the first form of love for Hashem, who is one’s life, is very easily attainable to bring it from its dormant state into one’s consciousness.
  • Verbalize and think of the love to arouse it: This is accomplished through habituating oneself to verbalize and think of this love, thus making the love be equally on his lips and heart.
  • Even if can’t arouse love simply imagining it suffices: Nonetheless, even if he is unable to accomplish an arousal of a true emotion of love in his heart, he is still able to serve Hashem, learn Torah and perform Mitzvahs, for the sake of Heaven, through imagining this love in one’s mind, and Hashem will then attach this good thought to the action [as stated above.]

5th Iyar/(LY) 1st Iyar

  1. The above two loves attain the status of intellectual love and fear:
  • The above two loves [a) love for Hashem who is one’s life, and love for Hashem who is one’s father] although they are both an inheritance from our forefathers, and have become like a nature within our souls, nevertheless they are not considered like natural love. [Rather, they are considered similar to the intellectual love and fear of Hashem, as will be explained.]
  • The fear that is embedded within these loves: Likewise, the fear that is embedded within these two loves, which is a fear against become separated from G-d who is the source of one’s life and one’s true father, although are an inheritance from our forefathers, and have become like a nature within our souls, nevertheless they are not considered like natural fear.
  • Natural love is not consciously revealed in the heart-Goes to Yetzirah: The reason for this is because a natural love is only defined as such if it remains within one’s mind alone and is not consciously revealed within the heart, and rather remains there in a concealed state. Such natural love can only be elevated to the ten Sefiros of the world of Yetzirah, to which it brings the Torah and Mitzvahs that were performed with this love.
  • Intellectual love is in Beriyah: Rather, the above two loves when they are revealed within the person, are considered similar to intellectual love, and is called by the Zohar “Reusa Deliba.” Such love is elevated to the ten Sefiros of the world of Beriyah, to which it brings the Torah and Mitzvahs that were performed with this love.
  • The reason: The reason that the above natural loves are considered intellectual is because it takes deep intense and lengthy contemplation from the depths of the heart on the infinite light of G-d, and how He is truly our life and father, to bring it into a state of consciousness and revelation within the person. Now, the Zohar states that Binah, which is the understanding of the heart and contemplation of G-d, rests in Beriyah, [and hence this is the natural place for the above natural love].
  • Includes Ahava Raba: The above two loves include within them the levels of love known as Ahavas Raba.
  • Higher than Ahavas Olam: Furthermore, the above two loves are even higher and greater than regular Ahavas Olam, which is an intellectual love.

6th Iyar/2nd Iyar

  1. The necessity for arousing the love of Ahavas Olam-Contemplation of G-d’s greatness:
  • It does not suffice to arouse the previous loves of “My life” and “My father,” but one must also arouse the love of Ahavas Olam which consists of contemplating G-d’s greatness with intent to arouse an unquenchable passionate love for G-d which cannot be extinguished even through many waters and cannot be drowned even by rivers.
  • Its advantage of passion: This form of love is advantageous over the previous forms as it is the result of one’s intellect, creates a stronger passion, and is likened to the value of gold over silver.
  • The purpose of man: In addition, this love fulfills the entire purpose of man’s creation, which is to know G-d’s splendor and greatness, each person to the best of his ability as it states in the Zohar that G-d created the world in order to be known, as is well known.


[1] Zohar 1 103b [Lech Lecha]

[2] Mishlei 31:23

[3] Devarim 29:28

[4] Zohar 3 68a

[5] Yeshayahu 26:9

[6] Zohar 3 281a [Parshas Ki Seitzei]

[7] Zohar ibid

[8] Tikkun 69, 112a, 114a

[9] Based on a gloss of the Rebbe printed in Lessons in Tanya

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