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As Divided for a Regular Year
Tanya for 5 Sivan
It is this love - [this latter manner of love, which may be generated by contemplation] - that Moses, our teacher, peace unto him, wished to implant in the heart of every Jew, in the passage,  "And now, Israel ..." in the verse [that speaks of G-d's greatness, "Behold, the heavens belong to G-d, your L-rd ...." [and likewise in the following verses that speak of G-d's love for His people: "Only in your fathers did He delight .... You shall circumcise.... With seventy souls [did your forefathers descend to Egypt, and now He has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven]."
[All the above inevitably leads to the first verse in the following chapter, namely]:  "You shall love [the L-rd your G- d ...]."
Hence [Moshe Rabbeinu] concluded his words [in the later verse quoted above] concerning this love,  ".... which I command you to do."
[Here, then, is the answer to the above query as to how it is possible to "do" or to create the spiritual emotion of love].
For this is a love that is produced in the heart through the understanding and self-involving knowledge of matters that inspire love.
[But if the verse is in fact referring to the kind of love that is created through contemplation, should it not first command one to contemplate?
Indeed so, the Alter Rebbe now goes on to say]:
And this he had commanded previously, [in the first paragraph of Shema]:  "And these words, which I command you this day, shall be upon your heart," so that through this [meditation] you will come to love G-d, as is stated in the Sifri on this verse. .
An expression of command "[which I command you to do - to love]" can thus be applied to this second type of [intellectually-generated] love.
[It might seem that to command a person to experience love would be either fruitless or superfluous. Not so, however, with regard to the kind of love that is born of contemplation. Here, one can indeed be given a command], namely, to focus one's heart and mind on matters that arouse love.
But an expression of command is not at all applicable to the first kind of love, which is a flame that ascends of its own accord.
Furthermore, it is the reward of the tzaddikim, to savor a foretaste of the World to Come in this world.
[In the World to Come the righteous bask in the rays of the Divine Presence: they delight in their perception of G-dliness. And it is this delight that tzaddikim enjoy in this world when they serve G-d with love].
Concerning this [level of love] it is written,  "I have granted [you] your priesthood as a Divine service which is a gift,"" as will be explained in its proper place, [namely, where the Divinely-bestowed gift of ahavah betaanugim is discussed].
[The Alter Rebbe now goes on to explain what special quality lies in the lesser manner of service of "educating the child according to his way," so that "even when he grows [spiritually] older he will not to depart from it."
It is true that the lower level of love, that which is engendered by meditation, is a stage in one's educational preparation, so to speak.
Compared with the loftier level of essential and constant love that is revealed only within tzaddikim, it is a child's service, within the reach of all.
Yet there is something in it that must be retained even when one has graduated to the "adult" manner of love of G-d.
For it is possible that the superior kind of love will not always be manifest even when one is on the level of a tzaddik. Particularly so, since his mandatory advances from level to level demand that before reaching a higher rung he must first release his hold of the previous rung; otherwise, it will encumber his ascent.
When the tzaddik is bereft of his own level of love, he then nourishes his divine service with a resource that harks back to his spiritual childhood - with a love born of meditation, the lower level of love in which he was schooled before he attained the state of tzaddik].
- (Back to text) Devarim 10:12, 14, 15, 16, 22.
- (Back to text) Ibid. 11:1.
- (Back to text) Ibid., v. 22.
- (Back to text) Ibid. 6:6.
- (Back to text) The Rebbe Shlita notes that the above enables us to understand a related statement of the Sifri that is otherwise baffling. The Sifri states that the verse that teaches that "you shall love the L-rd your G-d with all your heart" does not explain how G-d is to be loved; the verse therefore goes on to tell us that "these words...shall be upon your heart," for "thereby you come to know G-d and cleave to His ways."
The question here is obvious: How does "upon your heart" give a better explanation of how G-d is to be loved than "with all your heart"?
According to the above explanation of the Alter Rebbe, however, the Sifri is thoroughly understandable: "upon your heart" refers to the kind of meditation that inevitably leads to the fulfillment of the commandment to "love the L-rd your G-d with all your heart."
- (Back to text) Bamidbar 18:7.
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