12 Kislev 5781 / Saturday, November 28, 2020 | Torah Reading: Vayeitzei
 
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Fear and Love    

Fear and Love



Our service of Hashem must be filled with both aspects in order to be complete, although in our generation, focusing on loving Hashem takes precedence...

 



According to the Tanya, fear and love are the emotions that give wings to prayer and mitzvot. 
 

The highest level is selfless service with love and joy. How do we get to this lofty level? 
 
We need to remember that Hashem loves each of us like an only child. Rabbi Lazer Brody says that each person has a unique set of fingerprints unlike anyone else in the whole world. The reason Hashem does this is to show that He loves and values each of us like an only child. Knowing that we have a compassionate Father Who cherishes us should fill us with great joy. 
 
Rabbi Avidgor Miller says that he can give a four-word summary of Torah Judaism. “I thank you, Hashem.”  Hashem showers us with blessings every moment of the day and it's up to us to reciprocate. How do we reciprocate to someone who does kindness for us? We try to do the things that gives the benefactor joy and satisfaction. What gives Hashem satisfaction is for us to learn Torah and do mitzvot and more than anything – say “thank you”!  
 
Saying “thank you” Hashem and seeing Hashem’s mercy for us constantly is part of loving Hashem. However, it is also important to have fear of Hashem as well.  
 
The story is told about a famous rabbi who was riding in a wagon. The wagon driver stopped by the side of the road and proceeded to pick some apples from a farmer's orchard. The rabbi shouted, “Someone's watching!” 

 

The wagon driver was startled and quickly ran back to the wagon and began to drive away. He then looked back and did not see anyone there. He asked the rabbi Why did you say that someone was watching? There's no one there? The rabbi said My dear friend somebody is indeed watching. Hashem sees everything that we do. 

 

Quite simply, we always need to keep Hashem before us. We should fear doing anything to disobey His commandments or to act in a lowly, dishonorable manner. Not only should we fear punishment, but we should refrain from anything that would embarrass us in front of our Father and King. The Ramchal says that to fear God is to be moved by a sense of awe, like that which one experiences in the presence of a great and awe-inspiring king.  In every move that one makes, one ought to feel self-abased before the greatness of God.   

 
In the Garden of Healing and in the Garden of Emuna Rabbi Shalom Arush cites the Gemara and explains that there are no tribulations without transgression. We need to think before we act and be aware that prospective tribulations may result from misdeeds or uncorrected character flaws. Therefore, we should try to avoid sin and correct our flaws so that we can avoid suffering of all forms. 
 
When all else fails and we are in danger of succumbing to major sin, our sages advise us to think about the day of death. One thing that helps me is to read about near-death experiences. Rabbi Alon Anava gives a vivid account of what happened to him. Before succumbing to a drug overdose, he was at a very low moral level. He describes in detail what he encountered when he was taken from this world, and it is absolutely terrifying. Fortunately, he was given another chance and he is now a holy rabbi who inspires and teaches people to come to the path of Torah. Thinking of the potential consequences of unrectified sin in the next world is something we need to do in extreme cases when we are in danger of falling prey to the Evil Inclination. 
 
In conclusion, we all need to maintain a healthy blend of love and joy along with fear of Hashem. In our generation the main focus should be on loving Hashem, but we need to make sure that we have the proper amount of trepidation towards sin and its consequences. 
 
By maintaining the proper mixture of fear and love, may our prayers and good deeds have wings and ascend to Heaven. May we find favor in the eyes of Hashem and may the Compassionate One provide us with protection and blessings always, amen. 

 

 

 





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  1 Talkbacks for this article    See all talkbacks  
  1.
  Tseuvah from fear and then from love
Yehudit12/8/2019 8:25:35 AM
     
 

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