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Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Two Levels of Love for G-d: Explaining Chassidic/Kabbalistic Concepts Based on the Writings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe

Continuing the Chassidic discourse (Ma'amar) for the 29th of Iyar, 5712, Shabat Mevarchim Sivan, Parashat Devarim: 

In love (Kesef), there are two levels: Ahavah Zutta (small love) and Ahavah Rabbah (great love). Ahavah Zuttah is a love that is based on reason, when a person reflects on the fact that G-dliness is something good, and through this such love is born in his/her heart. This kind of love is measured and limited, since the love is born from reason, and is therefore limited by intellect that brought it into existence. It is also based on the comprehension of G-dliness that is in this world, which itself is limited. This kind of love is not related to the concept of Kalut HaNefesh (giving up/nullification) of one's soul, which is above measurement and limits. Also, this lower level of love is related to the comprehension that G-dliness is good to the person (meaning it is still somewhat self-centered).

Ahavah Rabbah is a love that is above reason and above any limits or confines. It comes from above a person's own love, but rather comes down from the level of love that Hashem has for Israel, and is a hidden love, which can be found deep within every Jew. It comes after a person has completed his/her own service, and achieve what one could achieve based on one's own limited efforts. Within Ahavah Rabbah there are two levels: (1) a flaming fire (Ahavah K'Rishpei Esh), which is thirst for G-d, from below to above, and (2) Ahavah B'Ta'anugim, a love of delights, which is from above to below.

These two levels, Ahavah Zuttah and Ahavah Rabbah, are related to whether the love (Kesef) comes before (Meshicha - moving the object acquired, Ita'aruta deleTa'ata: arousal from below), or whether it comes afterwards. If it comes before, then it is Ahavah Zuttah, based on a person's own limited intellect. If it afterwards, as a consequence of everything a person was able to achieve on his/her own.

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