Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

The Duties of the Heart

Gate Ten: "Loving G-d Wholeheartedly
Intro.

We're about to enter the very last gate of our book, entitled "Loving G-d Wholeheartedly. It's comprised of some very precious, fervent notions that have transported sensitive souls to higher and higher planes of Divine service.

Ibn Pakudah offered it at this point, he tells us, because he'd already cited the idea of loving G-d in the previous gate (see Ch's 3-4 there) so he thought he'd finish off the book itself with insights into how to come to love G-d in fact. After all, as he put it, "it's the greatest skill to have" to achieve spiritual excellence, "and the highest level of service to Gd humanly possible".

Loving G-d wholeheartedly is also absolutely central to the subject of this entire book, he also says. Since everything mentioned in it "about (fulfilling) the duties of the heart, about achieving good personal qualities and being benevolent is but a rung and a step up to the great level we intend to explain in this gate". And besides, "every single obligation and good quality required of us ... is an aspect of and a step up to the love of Gd, which is their aim and purpose. For there is no higher, more advanced level than it."

Now, we're taught there's another way to react devoutly to G-d aside from loving Him. And that's by fearing or, better said, *revering* Him. But the two are fundamentally different. After all, when we revere G-d, we stand apart from Him in utter awe and trepidation, respectfully; while when we love Him we draw close to Him, Intimately. So, given that both are important, though each is unique unto itself, which should we concentrate on first?

The Torah itself often places reverence for Gd before the love of Him, as in "And now, Israel, what does Gd your Lrd ask of you but to revere Gd your Lrd... and to (then) love Him" (Deuteronomy 10:12); and, "You will revere Gd your Lrd ... and (then) cling to Him" (Ibid. 10:20). Hence it seems important to learn to revere G-d before learning how to love Him. And Ibn Pakudah agrees, since "reverence is ... the most accessible step to the love of Gd, and the first gate to it". In fact, it's actually "impossible to come to the love of Gd without having come to revere Him first".

We're also told, incidentally, that "one of the greatest deterrents to the love of Gd ... is the love of *the world*", and that's another reason why Ibn Pakudah placed the Gate of Abstinence before this one. We're thus counseled to "empty our heart of the love of the world", and that "the love of Gd will fix itself in our heart, and establish itself in our soul" as a consequence.

We'll be focusing on these seven things in the course of this final gate: just what the love of Gd is; the various kinds of love of Gd; how we come to love Gd; whether it's actually humanly possible to love Gd, seeing how sublime a phenomenon it is; what prevents us from loving Gd; the various signs of the love of Gd; and finally, on the practices of those who do indeed love Gd.


Text Copyright 2005 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON KI SEITZEI AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

'Sin... Don't Laugh!'
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5755

Overlook It When You've Been Wronged
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

The Extended Family Called Society
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5766

> Thoughts for Pre-Rosh Hashanah
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5755

An Opportunity Not To Be Missed
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Mankind's Song
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5764

ArtScroll

Double Standards
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5766

A Right to Repent?
Shlomo Katz - 5771

Thanks to Egypt
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5760

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Zero Tolerance
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5763

Tough Love
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5768

Mitzvos That Come Our Way
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Going In To War
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5760

Elul: A Month of Preparation
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

We're Our Own Enemy
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5761

Oh, Brother...
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5759



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information