The Second Commandment
198. The second Mitzva (commandment) is inseparably connected with the Mitzva of fear, and it is the Mitzva of love – for man to love his Creator with perfect love. What is perfect love? It is a great love, as it is written, “He walks before the Creator in complete sincerity and perfection” (Beresheet, 17:1), which signifies perfection in love. Thus, it is written, “And the Creator said, ‘Let there be Light’” (Beresheet, 1:3) – this is perfect love, called “great love.” This is precisely how man should love his Creator.
There exists conditional love, which appears as a result of all the goodness received from the Creator (“Introduction to The Study of Ten Sefirot,” items 66-74), as a result of which man merges with the Creator with all his heart and soul. Yet, although he merges with the Creator in complete perfection, this love is considered imperfect. It is similar to Noah’s love (Beresheet Raba, 30), who constantly needed to reinforce his feeling – to see that the Creator sends him only goodness.
Avraham, however, needed nothing to reinforce his love for the Creator, as it is written: “He walks before the Creator in complete perfection.” For the words “walks before” mean that he needs nothing to reinforce his feeling of love for the Creator. And even if he does not receive anything from Him, his love remains constant and perfect, and he wishes to merge with the Creator with his heart and soul.
199. Rabbi Elazar said, “I have heard what perfect love means.” He was told, “Tell this to Rabbi Pinchas, as he truly exists on that degree.” Rabbi Elazar said, “Perfect love means that it is perfect on both sides; if it does not include both sides, such a love is imperfect.”
He was told to turn to Rabbi Pinchas, for Rabbi Pinchas had already attained the degree of perfect love and will be able understand him correctly. The words “on both sides” refer to both the good side and the evil side. In other words, if the Creator gives him not only goodness, but restrictions, too (which he perceives as unpleasant), and even if He takes his soul away, still man’s love for the Creator remains perfect, as though he receives from Him nothing but the very best in the world.
200. Therefore, there is he who loves the Creator in order to gain riches, live a long life, have many healthy children, and rule over his enemies – he receives everything he wants, and this is why he loves the Creator. However, should he receive the opposite, should the Creator lead him through a wheel of suffering, he will come to hate the Creator, and will feel no love toward Him whatsoever. Therefore, such a love is baseless.
Since his love depends on what he receives from the Creator, when reception stops, so does his love. Clearly, man can love only one or the other – himself or the Creator!
201. Love is considered perfect if it exists on both sides – on the side of judgment and the side of mercy (success in life). As we already mentioned, when one loves the Creator, even if He were to take away his soul, this love would remain perfect on both sides: mercy and judgment. Therefore, the Light of the First Act of Creation was revealed and then concealed. And because of this concealment, strict judgment appeared in the world, and both sides, mercy and judgment, united to form perfection. And this is the desired love.
The Light that was created on the first day of creation (in the verse “Let there be Light”) was later concealed, as it is written, for the righteous in the world to come. It was concealed so as to let strict judgment appear in this world.
This leads to the unification of the two sides (mercy and judgment) into one, for man receives an opportunity to reveal the perfection of love even when the Creator takes his soul away, and he is given an opportunity to supplement and perfect his love. And had the Light not been concealed, strict judgment would not have been revealed, and the GREAT LOVE would have been concealed from the righteous, and there would be no way of revealing it.
202. Rabbi Shimon kissed him. Rabbi Pinchas approached, kissed and blessed him. He said, “It is clear that the Creator has sent me here. This is the tiny ray of Light that was said to be shining in my house, and would later light up the whole world” (item 186). Rabbi Elazar said, “Certainly, fear must not be forgotten from all the Mitzvot; especially in this Mitzva, the Mitzva of love, fear must be attached to this Mitzva at all times. How is it attached? Love is good when it brings goodness, health, sustenance, and life from the Beloved One. And it is here that fear of sinning must be revived, so that the wheel does not turn against him, as it is written, “Happy is the man who always fears,” for his fear is contained in his love.
203. This is how fear should be evoked from the perspective of strict judgment, for once man realizes that strict judgment hovers over him, he must evoke within him fear of his Master. Thus, his heart will not be hardened, of which it is written, “He that hardens his heart shall fall into evil,” into the other side. This is called evil. Therefore, fear unites with both sides – with goodness and love, as well as with strict judgment, and consists of both. And if fear is united with the good side and love, as well as with the strictness of judgment, such a love is perfect.
The Mitzva of fear includes all the Mitzvot of the Torah; it is the gateway to faith in the Creator – to the extent of his fear, man acquires faith in the Creator’s governance. Hence, he must not forget fear in observing every Mitzva, especially the Mitzva of love, at which time fear needs to be roused even more, for fear must constantly be present in the Mitzva of love. Therefore, man must evoke fear within him in the two states of love: in love from the good side, when he receives good sensations from the Creator, and in love from the evil side, when the Creator sends him harsh restrictions, according to judgment.
However, it would be incorrect to think that perfect love means a state where one receives bad feelings from the Creator, to the extent of feeling one’s soul being taken away. It is incorrect to think that one should not fear the Creator’s judgment and strictness, and, despite his feelings to cling unto Him with love, fearlessly and wholeheartedly.
First, one must rouse fear within him lest his love for the Creator will weaken. Thus, he combines love and fear. Second, from the other side of love, from the side of feeling the strictness, he must rouse within him fear before the Creator, and not let his heart harden, so it would not stop heeding the unpleasant sensations of punishment. Thus, here, too, he includes fear and love, and if he acts so in both sides of love, his love remains forever connected to fear, thus becoming perfect.
It is written about the good side’s inclusion of fear into love: “Happy is the man who always fears.” The word “always” indicates that although man always receives only goodness from the Creator, he fears Him nonetheless, for he fears that he may sin.
And it is written about the evil side’s inclusion of fear into love, when man feels punishments and strictness of judgment: “He who lets his heart be hardened shall fall into awe.” This means that one should in no way and under no circumstances let his heart be hardened under the judgment’s influence. Otherwise, he will fall into the impure forces, called “evil.” In such a case, he must rouse within him even more fear of the Creator, and mingle his fear into the love.
However, neither kind is fear for oneself, for one’s own well-being. Rather, they both refer to man’s fear of diminishing his intentions and actions for the Creator’s sake, and his attempts to direct them all towards pleasing Him.
Thus, we have clarified the first two Mitzvot of the Torah – the Mitzvot of fear and love. The Mitzva of fear is the basis for all the other Mitzvot and of the entire Torah. It is contained in the first word of the Torah, BERESHEET (IN THE BEGINNING), and in its first sentence, IN THE BEGINNING THE CREATOR CREATED THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH. Fear is called BEGINNING, from which THE HEAVENS and THE EARTH are born, meaning ZON and their descendants, the worlds of BYA. And the second sentence in the Torah refers to punishment in the form of four kinds of spiritual death: WITHOUT FORM means strangulation, CHAOTIC means stoning, DARKNESS means burning, and SPIRIT means beheading. The Mitzva of love is described in the Torah in the verse: “AND THE CREATOR SAID, ‘LET THERE BE LIGHT.’”
There are two sides to this Mitzva, which are called “kindness and longevity” and “with all one’s soul.” This implies that man should feel love even under the worst kinds of circumstances, i.e., when the Creator takes his soul away, just as he feels it when everything is well.
Just to reveal this perfect love, the Light of creation was concealed. Fear must also be included in both sides of love: in the part where man must fear to commit a sin, thereby reducing his love for the Creator, and in the part where he must fear because of the concealment and the Creator’s judgment. Yet, to understand these spiritual categories, we must clarify them in a slightly different manner.
Calls for love are used repeatedly in the Torah: “Love thy neighbor…,” “Do not do what you hate to another,” and so on. But the basis of all this is love between man and the Creator; this is where our requests are directed: “Draw us nearer with love…,” “He who chooses Israel with love…”
The revelation of the Creator is the revelation of His love for man. However, altruistic love is completely different from our understanding of love. Our love always relies on egoistic reasons. And should the reasons suddenly disappear, love disappears at once.
We can take as an example the natural love between father and son. Parents naturally love their only son more than anything in the world. Accordingly, the son should hold the same kind of love for his parents. Yet, we see that this is not so: if the son feels unconditional love from his parents, then, in accordance with nature’s law and regardless of himself, his love for them will decrease.
This is so because the father’s love for his son is natural; and just as the father wants his son to love him, his son wants to be loved by his father. This reciprocal desire gives rise to fear in both their hearts: the father is afraid that the son may hate him (even a little), and the son fears the same.
This constant fear begets good deeds between them: each of them aspires to show his love to the other, so as to promote reciprocity. Yet, when their love reaches peaks, and there is nothing else that can be added to it, the beloved son discovers absolute and unconditional love in the heart of his loving father.
The loved one immediately stops fearing that he will be loved less; neither can he hope that the love for him will grow. And this leads to a situation where the son grows lazy and stops expressing his love with good deeds. And as they lessen, his love lessens, too, until it is reversed into its opposite – hatred, for he deems everything his father does as worthless and insufficient in comparison with what the father’s actions out of “absolute” love should be. Therefore, the union of love and fear within man brings him to the state of perfection.
The four letters HaVaYaH (Yod + Hey + Vav + Hey) correspond to Sefirot H-B-ZA-M. The Zohar calls them, FEAR, LOVE, TORAH, COMMANDMENT, respectively.
YOD - HOCHMA - FEAR
HEY - BINA - LOVE
VAV - ZA - TORAH
HEY - MALCHUT - COMMANDMENT
Partzuf AA is the main Partzuf, and includes the entire world of Atzilut. It shines upon all the other worlds through its garments, called AVI, YESHSUT and ZON, where AVI and YESHSUT clothe AA from its Peh to Tabur, while ZON clothe AA from Tabur down to its SiumRaglaim (end of legs) that stand on Parsa.
AA is called “the concealed Hochma,” as its Ohr Hochma is concealed in its Rosh and does not shine upon the other Partzufim and worlds, and only its Bina shines below. Thus, it is Bina (and not AA) that is called BERESHEET – BEGINNING, for she is the foundation and the source of all the worlds.
And she is also called FEAR OF THE CREATOR, i.e., fear of His greatness, “for He is the only Master and the root of all, and all that exists is as nothing compared to Him.” And ZON (called HEAVEN AND EARTH) emerge from Bina.It is therefore written in the Torah, IN THE BEGINNING (with fear) AVI, THE CREATOR CREATED HEAVEN (ZA) AND EARTH (Malchut).
Hence, it is said: “Fear of the Creator is the beginning of wisdom (Hochma)” and “Fear of the Creator is the beginning of knowledge (Daat).” Ohr Hochma stems not from the Sefira Hochma de AA, but from Bina de AA alone. For when Bina de AA ascends to Rosh de AA, it turns to the Sefira Hochma and then passes the Light downward. It follows that the Sefira Bina, fear of the Creator, is the source of Ohr Hochma; hence, it is said, “Fear of the Creator is the beginning of Hochma.”
Also, fear is the beginning of knowledge, for the Sefira Daat is the beginning of ZON: ZON raise their request to Rosh de AA in order to receive Hochma. And this request of ZON regarding reception of Ohr Hochma, which is received and felt by AA, is called Daat, knowledge. This is why it is written: “Fear of the Creator is the beginning of knowledge (Daat).”
The Zohar also tells us that afterwards fear and love unite so as never to part again, for Hochma is called “love.” Indeed, the letter Yod of the name HaVaYaH is Bina,i.e., GAR de Bina (AVI) that wants only Ohr Hassadim, where as Ohr Hochma is concealed within it.
And the place of revelation of Ohr Hochma is ZAT de Bina, called YESHSUT, the first letter Hey of the name HaVaYaH. Therefore, this place is called love, and it is the second Mitzva that follows the first Mitzva of fear, which shines in ZON, for this Ohr Hochma does not stem from Hochma de AVI, but from Bina, and Bina is known as fear.
And The Zohar says that fear unites with love so as to never let it go. This means that Bina forever unites with Hochma and does not part with it. And wherever there is Bina, Hochma is there alongside her. And although it seems to write that one Mitzva is fear and another is love (that these are separate Mitzvot), they are nonetheless always together and are never apart: just as the first Mitzva includes the first, so the first includes the second.
The reason they have separate names is that we distinguish them by their dominance: in the first Mitzva, it is AVI, GAR de Bina, Bina herself along with her property. Hence, it is called “fear.” However, in the second Mitzva it is Hochma that is dominant; hence, it is called “love.”
Therefore, the words of the Torah, IN THE BEGINNING THE CREATOR CREATED constitute concealment, and the revelation of these words begins with the words LET THERE BE LIGHT, designating the ascent of Bina (BEGINNING) to Rosh de AA, where Bina becomes like Hochma.
The combination of Hochma and Bina is then called GREAT LOVE. This is the meaning of the words, LET THERE BE LIGHT, for Bina ascends to AA and passes the Light to all the lower worlds with GREAT LOVE, i.e., by means of two Lights: Hassadim and Hochma.
This is why it is said that the CREATOR’S LOVE IS CLARIFIED FROM TWO SIDES, as it is written: LET THERE BE LIGHT IN THIS WORLD AND IN THE WORLD TO COME. Because the Creator saw that this world cannot receive the Light, He concealed His Light and raised it above Parsa de AA, called (according to its corrected properties) “the world to come,” above Chazeh de AA, where AVI or GAR de Bina reside.
Parsa is located below Chazeh de AA, and itseparates the Supernal Waters (AVI) from the lower waters (YESHSUT + ZON). Since Ohr Hochma does not shine below Chazeh de AA, it is said that the Light is concealed from Partzufim YESHSUT and ZON.
Thus, we see that Bina is divided into two parts: GAR de Bina (AVI), located above the Chazeh (Parsa de AA or the Supernal Waters), upon whom the Upper Light shines, meaning that secrets are revealed within them. He who ascends to this degree receives its Light, thereby meriting “wealth (Hochma) and longevity (Hassadim). His sons (his future corrections) are like olive sprouts (olive oil symbolizes Hochma), they gather round his table (Hassadim), and he rules over his enemies (impure forces), and whatever his wish may be, he succeeds in it (for Ohr Hochma is clothed in Ohr Hassadim).” ZAT de Bina are the lower waters, located below Chazeh de AA.The Light is concealed from them, and those who receive from them must love the Creator with the kind of love called “even if He takes away his soul.”
These are the two degrees of love for the Creator. That is to say, love for the Creator is not the desire and decision of man alone. Rather, like any of our other desires, it appears only by attaining a particular degree: if one attains the degree of YESHSUT, it allows him to love the Creator “even if He takes away his soul.” However, an even more perfect love emerges within him who reaches the degree of AVI: he receives such Light from it that his love for the Creator becomes perfect on both sides.
Yet, fear must be included in both kinds of love. For at the degree of AVI, one needs fear so as to not sin while in a state of spiritual ascent in AVI. And while at the degree of YESHSUT, one must fear lest his heart be hardened, for Hochma and Bina correspond to love and fear in a state of eternal unity. Therefore, one must include the properties of Bina (fear) into GAR de Bina (AVI), as well as into ZAT de Bina (YESHSUT).
Only then will love be perfect on both sides, in both forms: GAR and ZAT de Bina. Love cannot possibly be perfect only on one side, but only if fear exists on both sides, for Hochma (love) cannot exist without Bina (fear).
It follows that conditional love is the degree of AVI, whereas unconditional (perfect) love is the degree of YESHSUT. Yet, YESHSUT is below AVI. The thing is that man first receives Higher Sefirot of his emerging Partzuf, in the order KHB-ZA-M, but the Light enters them in the reverse order of NRNHY: first, he receives the Sefira Keter with the Light of Nefesh, and in the end he receives the Sefira Malchut, though the Light of Yechida enters Keter.Therefore, if we measure according to the Sefirot (Kelim), the degree of AVI = GE = K-H (conditional love) is smaller than the degree of YESHSUT = AHP = B-ZA-M (unconditional love).