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Parshat Vetachanan

Parshat Vetchanan

HOW CAN WE BE COMMANDED TO LOVE AND FEAR HASHEM?

In the Parsha there are numerous commandments, including two positive Mitzvot enumerated by the Rambam, and that is Veahavta - to love Hashem and Otoh Tirah - to fear Hashem.

Most Mitzvot, we can understand the commandment; to eat kosher, to keep Shabbat, to honor one's parents, to give charity, etc.

But love and fear are feelings so how can G-d command us to love and fear him?

Our Sages answer that indeed the actual action required of us is to learn, study and concentrate on the greatness of G-d, which in turn will bring one to love and fear Him.

But how can the same action, result in apparent conflicting feelings -- Love and Fear?

In truth, there is no contradiction, because Love of G-d means we want to be close to Him and Fear of G-d means we fear being disconnected and estranged from Him as a result of not following His directives.

These are the two classical approaches of Musar and Chassidout, both of which teach both, just with Musar placing the emphasis on fear and punishment for disobeying G-d's will, while Chassidout places the emphasis on appreciating G-d and wanting to be close to Him.

There are times, one needs to be broken before he/she can love, similar to a field which needs to be plowed before being planted.

And there are times, an abundance of love will bring about the fear of losing that special connection.

May we all strengthen our learning and become closer to G-d.

Shabbat Shalom

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