Monday, June 22, 2009

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Love And Fear Of G-d – How?

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

Question:

These days I’ve been exploring the mitzvahs of loving and fearing G-d. I really want to do this properly. Is there a preference of which one to do first? Can you give some pointers on what to meditate on to actually feel the love and fear? I would like to accomplish this.

Answer:

Love and fear of G-d have been likened to two wings of a bird. With only one wing the bird will not be able to fly. At best, it will simply go in circles. So too with love and fear of G-d; we need both of these.

There is lower-level love, and there is higher-level love. There is also lower-level fear and higher-level fear.

One who is experiencing lower-level love is concerned only with what the person or object he loves can give to him. Unlike this, someone who is experiencing higher-level love is concerned only with what he can give to his beloved.

To learn lower level-love of G-d think of the many things that G-d gives you. The list seems endless. For instance, heath, peace, joy, prosperity, knowledge, family ….

To learn about higher level love of G-d, think of all the wonderful things that you could possibly give to Him. For instance, if you wanted, you could work hard to help those around you find and fulfill their spiritual mission in life. Oh, would your Beloved be happy with you then! Obviously, if you want to attain this level of mutual love, you must go out and actually give those gifts to your Beloved, and not just think about giving them to Him.

Lower-level fear is concerned with what negative things might come to the one who is experiencing it. To attain lover-level fear of G-d. simply consider what G-d has done to sinners over the years. You can also imagine what lies in store for unrepentant sinners after they leave this world. Oy oy oy, Lo aleinu! (Woe. May this not come to us!) Thinking about the horrible things that have come to people over the years certainly will bring lower level-fear of G-d. But you must not stop there. You have to move higher.

Higher-level fear is not fear at all. It is awe. When most people see the Grand Canyon in Arizona for the first time, their lower stomach seems to rush up into their throat! It is awesome! Some people can get such a feeling by looking at the Hubble telescope photographs of the seemingly endless wonders of His magnificent creation. If these wonders are merely His creation, what must the Creator be like? Actually, these experiences merely point to the higher level of awe that will come when G-d, in His mercy, reveals His Presence to us. (May it be this very day.) Our awesome reaction to these physical wonders is a good example of what awe is. Then, once we feel this minor awe, we can try to magnify that feeling as we apply it to the Creator.

In the end, we want to experience the higher-level fear of G-d with the higher-level of love of G-d mixed in.

Think deeply about these different levels and examples. But thinking about them is only to motivate you to go out and actually do the things that the One you fear and love wants you to do. Then, when you do these things with the awareness that you are giving love to your Beloved, Who is standing right there watching you, you will begin to experience the love and fear you seek.

2 comments:

Mouse said...

My problem with your definition of lower-level fear is - that we actually don't see sinners punished! Not typically anyway (both Jewish and non-Jewish). Sinners thrive and righteous suffer - there's a lot of Rabbinical literature dedicated to exactly this issue.

As for what's in store for those sinners - how do you know, have you been there and saw? Who am I (and who are you) to tell what's to happen to them, or to us in the World to Come? Don't you agree we might be surprised?

The higher-level fear - correctly named Awe - is what I'd start with, and continue with.

Rebbetzin said...

Learn Tanya. It's basically a 'How to Love and Fear G-d' guide.

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