Loving G-d

We all have the same question. It might be phrased differently, but the essence of the question is all the same. We want a genuine connection with Hashem and are frustrated when it doesn’t work out as we plan. This experience can be felt by the most secular of Jews who feel that G-d has no place in their life, if he even exists C”V, and to the season Torah Scholar who’s life dedicated to Talmud Torah, but does not bring about the blessings they expect.

How can we attain this connect to G-d? By simply loving him. How can a person love someone or something that they have never met, never seen, and never felt he even are cared about them? In a generation where technology connects the entire world instantly, we must learn from past generations who did no struggle with the concept for a very important reason. True love is no limited to the above reasons, and we can see this in many historical examples. How can a person be loyal and love a king they have never seen? There are no photos of the king, and the king’s castle is much to far away for a simple peasant to travel to. Even if he was able to get there, the guards would certainly not let him inside the gate let alone in the chamber of the king. Now this simple peasant believes that his life is in the hand of the king, and the choices that he makes will effect how the kings agents treat the simple peasant. Without getting to deep into this mashal (parable), I think the message is clear, and that is that true love is no limited to the physical, and by realizing this, we are able to unlock a loving bond that is unbreakable. King Solomon said in Song of Songs “Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away.” Like any relationship, the success is through putting in the time and effort to grow the relationship through stages. From the first meeting, to being acquaintances, to friends, and so on. Many of us have experienced the “best friend over night” syndrome when meeting someone we really connect with, and these types of relationship rarely last. Why is it that when we date someone, or get married, or even just make friends with someone, that these types of relationships are the ones that take our time and effort, but with G-d we expect some automatic connection with little to no effort. While, what is Chassidus is for another discussion, it is clear that Chassidus connects a person to the essence of G-d and helps to reveal a very special connection in a way that no other way of understanding Torah is able to achieve.

The Alter Rebbe Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi

The Alter Rebbe writes in Chapter 4 of Sefer Tanya (free translation with elucidation) that “middos (character traits), namely fear and love together with their different offshoots and offsprings ie: Chesed (Kindness), Gevurah (Judgement), Tiferes (Beauty/Majesty) etc, become enclothed in the mitzvos that we do in action and speech such as the study of Torah which is equivalent to all the mitzvos. For the love is the root of the 248 positive mitzvos, and from them issue forth (this love), and without it there is no true fulfillment (in life). For he who fullfils in truth, is he who loves (G-d’s) Shem (Name) Havayeh (4 letter name of G-d Y-K-V-K) and who desires to cleave to him in this truth.

Now this concept can be coupled with what is discussed in Chapter 2, mainly that a Jewish soul contains in it a piece of G-d Mamash! (Literally!) This piece of G-dness is vested in our soul, which give us the uncanny ability to tap into G-dliness in a way that is unlike anything else in creation. Through Torah we can access this hidden G-dliness in ourselves and reconnect with the source of this G-dliness which is G-d’s Ein Sof (Infiinite Light).

Later in Chapter 47 of Sefer Tanya the Alter Rebbe describes an unbelievable concept which brings together what was stated above. The Torah is the Wisdom and Will of G-d. We see via ourselves that our Wisdom and Will are our essence, and the same is true of G-d. This means that when you occupy yourself with Torah you actually are unifying yourself with G-dliness on a level that is nearly limitless to the point that the Rebbe Rashab states in Kuntres HaTefillah Ch. 1 that a person can actually expereince Kelos HaNefesh were a person soul flees the confins of its body (in a sense, spiritually assisted suicide) to be absorbed back into the infinite light. (Dont try this at home.) Since the whole purpose of creation was for Jews to reveal G-dliness in this lowly world that is full of falsehood and concealment, and make a dwelling place for G-d down in this world, such a yearning to leave this world is not a positive thing.

Now all of this is fine and true but lets get real. Even if we live a life as above, do we really feel G-dliness? Well it all depends on the effort and time you put in. Most Jews that return to a Torah lifestyle expereince what the Alter Rebbe describes in the Maamar in Lekutei Torah Parshas Vayikra titled “Adam Ki Yakriv” which is an Isarusah D’L’Eliah (an awaking from above) which stimulates the persons soul and ignites the G-dliness inside them. This usually results in the person feeling a complete dissatisfaction with their current lifestyle that is more than likely immersed in materialistic pursuit and pleasure. A person doesn’t necessarily need to hit rock bottom to spark this connection but usually a person is in some way unhappy with life.

Now what happens when you really are happy? You have a family, or a great Girl/Boyfriend, with a nice car, and a nice place to live, and are able to afford the finer things in life. You dont abuse anyone or anything and generally live a fulfilling life because of your hard work and perseverance. Now if its possible to wrap yourself around the concept that every single Jewish soul is bound together to form a Supernal Being that is actually unified with the Torah and G-d himself which reveals the true essence that everything is actually G-dliness, then why would any of those things disappear because you started to look towards G-d, his Torah, and the Jewish people?

The Rebbe Rashab writes in the sefer Kuntes UMaayon that G-dly sustenance manifest into three main categories; Children, Health, and Wealth. Now there are many stories involving the Baal Shem Tov, in which a person asked for a blessing for children and the requirement was that they forfeit their entire estate including millions of dollars. While these three categories try to keep a balance between each other , there is nowhere that says that by living a lifestyle that puts G-d and Torah first that you will have to give up these materialistic things. Chassidus itself speaks of how we are able to use many physical items that seem to be mundane to reveal G-dliness in the world, even a real fancy Macbook laptop which I happen to be writing these words of Torah on.

Still, we want to love G-d and this is a life long goal that has many ups and downs. We have to make a decision, and that is do we want to love ourselves and our things, or do we want to love G-d, because you can’t have both. Just like a person loves their soul mate, and children, and family, and even friends more than themselves, you can’t love G-d in any other way. This means putting aside anything that stimulates ego and selfishness. TV, Movies, High Fashion, Exotic lifestyles all entail a type of nourishing of the ego that does not leave any room for G-d. Not to mention that person is rarely satisfied with any of these materialistic gains. This can be proven by showing many example of world wide celebrities who can for more or less get anything they want and still they live very depressing lives that in many cases end in overdose or suicide.

So yes, Love of G-d is attainable by every single Jew, but like everything in life that is worth something, it takes hard work and long hours.

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