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HaRav Shneur Zalman Miliadi, | updated: 09:23

Judaism Rav Shneur Zalman Miliady
Rav Shneur Zalman Miliady
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כי יש יתרון ומעלה לבחינת אהבה כרשפי אש ושלהבת עזה וכו׳ הבאה מהתבונה ודעת בגדולת אין סוף ברוך הוא, על שתי בחינות אהבה הנזכרות למעלה כאשר אינן כרשפי אש ושלהבת כו׳

For there is a superiority and excellence in the quality of love burning like fiery coals and an intense flame,... which comes from an understanding and knowledge of the greatness and transcendenceof the blessed Ein Sof, over the two categories of love referred to above, when they are not like fiery coals24 and a blaze,... but merely result from feeling (or contemplating) G‑d’s closeness to a Jew, inasmuch as He is “the Source of our life” and “our true Father.” The superiority of this love is:

כיתרון ומעלת הזהב על הכסף וכו׳ כמו שכתוב לקמן

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similar to the superiority and excellence of gold over silver, and so forth, as will be explained later.25

Not only is gold worth more than silver ounce for ounce, in which case a preponderance of silver would be more valuable, but gold is intrinsically of greater value in that it possesses a distinctive gleam which people find highly attractive.

So, too, with regard to love that results wholly from contemplation: it is not a higher level of love; on the contrary, the level of love that comes from above and is termed ahavah rabbah, “great love,” is the higher form of love. The superiority of love that results entirely from contemplation lies in its fiery passion and yearning of the soul. This is one reason why the two previously-mentioned kinds of love that Jews inherit do not suffice; they lack passion when compared to love emanating entirely from one’s intellect.

The Alter Rebbe now provides yet another reason why wholly contemplative love is necessary: It is important to attain contemplative love not only because of the superiority of the resulting passion, but because the contemplation is an end unto itself. By contemplating G‑d’s greatness, one fulfills the whole purpose of creation — that created beings should come to know and understand G‑d’s greatness.

וגם כי זה כל האדם ותכליתו

Besides, this is the whole man and his raison d‘être:

למען דעת את כבוד ה׳ ויקר תפארת גדולתו, איש איש כפי אשר יוכל שאת, כמו שכתוב ברעיא מהימנא, פרשת בא: בגין דישתמודעון ליה וכו׳ וכנודע

that one may know the glory of G‑d and the majestic splendor of His greatness, each according to the limit of his capacity, as is written in Ra‘aya Mehemna, Parshat Bo: “In order that they may know Him,” and so forth, as is known.

Thus, there is a special quality and purpose in contemplation (that leads to love) itself. Contemplation of G‑d’s greatness is exercised to a much greater degree in the love that is created from contemplation, than it is found in a love which is merely revealed through contemplation, as is the case in the two aforementioned kinds of love.

In order to merely reveal the love of “My soul...” by contemplating how G‑d is the “true Source of life,” or to reveal the love of “Like a son..,” by contemplating how G‑d is “our true Father,” one’s meditation need not be exceedingly profound. A much deeper understanding and more profound mode of meditation is necessary in order to create a love of G‑d based solely on intellectual comprehension.

As a result, the divine intention “that they may know Him” — that created beings come to know G‑dliness — is realized to a much greater extent through wholly contemplative love. This is the additional reason as to why the kinds of love inherited from the Patriarchs do not suffice, and it is necessary to exert oneself to attain a love of G‑d that stems entirely from contemplating His greatness.

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Footnotes

24.  Commenting on the words “when they are not like fiery coals,” the Rebbe notes that it is indeed possible for the loves of “My soul...” and “Like a son...” to possess the quality and passion of “fiery coals.” This comes about when the contemplation which leads to the revelation of these two loves focuses [not on His nearness, but] on thetranscendence of “our true Father” and the “Source of our life”; the majestic exaltedness of the Father arouses a thirsting and longing love in the son.

Briefly, the matter is as follows: There are two general modes of contemplating G‑dliness — contemplating His transcendence and exaltedness (or conversely, the distance of the worlds from G‑d), and contemplating G‑d’s close relationship with us. The former will result in the thirsting and longing love of “fiery coals,” while the latter will result in a Jew’s feeling close to G‑d. This love is known as “love similar to water.”

Each of these two modes of contemplation has two possible results: (1) it leads to the revelation of a love (or fear) that already exists in the soul (as an inheritance from the Patriarchs), or (2) it creates love (or fear).

The Rebbe concludes: “It is noteworthy that [love resulting from contemplating G‑d’s] transcendence must refer to a form of transcendence that has some relationship to the person; otherwise the result will be self-abnegation. The same is true with regard to [contemplating the world’s] distance [from G‑d]. Cf. references cited in note to Kuntres Etz HaChayim, ch. 2.”

25.  In ch. 50.





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