Ch. 43, Class 4

Continuation of Ch. 43

ודבורו יתברך מיוחד במחשבתו כו׳ וכנ״ל פרק כ׳ וכ״א באריכות, בדרך משל מנפש האדם, שדבור אחד מדבורו ומחשבתו כלא ממש כו׳

and His Word is united with His thought… and G‑d’s thought in turn is one with G‑d Himself. Thus, the nullification is not only to G‑d’s Word, but is a total nullification to G‑d Himself, as has been explained above at length (9chs. 20 and 21), by analogy with the human soul, one utterance of whose speech and thought are veritably as nothing…, when compared to the power of speech which is limitless.

Surely, one word pales utterly in comparison to man’s thought, which is the source of speech. Even more so when a single utterance is compared to the source of thought — the power of intellect or emotion, depending on whether the individual is thinking about intellectual or emotional things. Surely, then, this spoken word cannot in any way be compared to the soul itself.

There is, however, a difference between man’s speech and G‑d’s. When a human being speaks, the sound emitted from his mouth departs from its source and becomes a separate entity. G‑d’s creative speech, however, never departs — heaven forbid — from its source, that source being G‑d Himself, Who is omnipresent. Thus, divine speech is always found within its source.

It now becomes even more clear that G‑d’s Word, the source of creation, is truly and totally nullified to and unified with G‑d. Thus all of creation is completely nullified to G‑d.

וזה שאמר הכתוב: הן יראת ה׳ היא חכמה

This is what is meant by the verse:10 “Behold, the fear of G‑d, that is wisdom.”

For as explained earlier, the level of yirah ila‘ah and bittul bimetziut is the same as “wisdom”; it, too, is essentially bittul bimetziut.

אך אי אפשר להשיג ליראה וחכמה זו אלא בקיום התורה והמצות על ידי יראה תתאה החיצונית, וזהו שאמרו: אם אין יראה, אין חכמה

However, one cannot attain this fear and wisdom except by means of the fulfillment of the Torah and mitzvot through yirah tata‘ah, which is an external fear. And this is what is meant by the statement, “If there is no fear, there is no wisdom.”

First must come yirah tata‘ah and the resulting performance of Torah and mitzvot; only then can one attain “wisdom” — yirah ila’ah and bittul bimetziut.

* * *

The Alter Rebbe now explains that there are also two general levels in the love of God. The higher level is called ahavah rabbah (“great love”). It is a gift from above, granted to an individual after he has attained the level of yirah ila‘ah. This love is so lofty that one cannot hope to achieve it unaided.

The second and lower level of love is attained by contemplating G‑d’s greatness. It is called ahavat olam (“eternal love,” and more literally, “love of the world”), because it emanates from one’s comprehension of the world, i.e., from one’s appreciation of the G‑dly life-force that animates the world.

והנה באהבה יש גם כן שתי מדרגות, אהבה רבה ואהבת עולם. אהבה רבה היא אהבה בתענוגים

Now, in love too there are two grades — ahavah rabbah and ahavat olam. Ahavah rabbah is a love of delight [and ecstasy], a love of G‑d which delights in Him. There is no other desire or goal present, such as the desire to cleave to Him or to expire in one’s yearning for Him. The love itself is comprised purely of delight in Him and cleaving to Him,

והיא שלהבת העולה מאליה

and it is a fiery flame that rises of itself. Man does not create or kindle this love within himself; rather, it comes forth spontaneously,

ובאה מלמעלה בבחינת מתנה למי שהוא שלם ביראה, כנודע על מאמר רז״ל: דרכו של איש לחזר אחר אשה, שאהבה נקראת איש וזכר, כמו שכתוב: זכר חסדו

and it comes from above by way of a gift to him who is perfect in fear, as is known from the saying of the Rabbis, of blessed memory:11 “The way of a man is to search for a woman.” And in spiritual terms: Love is called “man” or “male”, as it is written:12 “He has remembered his lovingkindness.”

The second letter of the verb (זכר) is vocalized with a patach; changing this vowel to a kamatz makes it mean “male”. Thus, love is alluded to as “male”,

ואשה יראת ה׳, כנודע

while a woman [symbolizes] “fear of G‑d,” as is known.

The connection between a female and the fear of G‑d is alluded to by the verse that says,13 “a G‑d-fearing woman.” This, then, is the spiritual meaning of the statement of the Sages, “The way of a man is to search for a woman”: the level of love (“man”) is revealed from above (“to search for”) where the level of fear (“woman”) is already present and complete.

ובלי קדימת היראה אי אפשר להגיע לאהבה רבה זו, כי אהבה זו היא מבחינת אצילות, דלית תמן קיצוץ ופירוד, חס ושלום

Without the prerequisite of fear, it is impossible to attain the level of ahavah rabbah, for this love originates from the realm of Atzilut wherein there is no sundering or separateness, G‑d forbid.

In the World of Atzilut nothing exists which is separate from G‑dliness; nothing at that level feels that it exists independently of G‑d, and everything in Atzilut is totally nullified to G‑dliness. Understandably, the love that emanates from such a level cannot light upon one whose fear of G‑d is imperfect, and who still perceives himself as existing independently of Him. Complete self-abnegation is a prerequisite for this level of love.

Footnotes

____

10. Iyov 28:28.
11. Kiddushin 2b.
12. Tehillim 98:3.
13. Mishlei 31:30.

Comments are closed.