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Home -- Content: Series 7 (Laws) -- Translation: English -- Book: 1 (Tora) -- Part: 1 (Positive) -- Command: 3 -- Text
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The Sharia of Moses in the TORA
Part 1 - The 248 Positive Commandments of the Tora

3 - LOVE OF GOD


Deuteronomy 6:5 -- “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”

How?

Deuteronomy 6:6 -- “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.”
Genesis 12:4-5 -- “So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan.”

Scripture therefore says: "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.” (Deuteronomy 6:6); for through this (i.e. the contemplation of God’s words) you will learn to discern Him whose word called the universe into existence.

In the expression “contemplate His works”, Maimonides refers to the manifestation of God’s wisdom through nature*. The attainment of the love of Him may thus be said to be dependent upon a study of the Torah and of Creation.

* Mishneh Torah, Mada, Hilchoth Yesode Ha- Torah, II, 2.

The nature of this love Maimonides defines in the following words: “What is the right kind of love? One is to entertain towards the Lord an exceedingly great and mighty love, so that his very soul shall be bound by lovesick, does not cease to languish after his beloved, with whom he is over enraptured, whether sitting or rising, eating or drinking: nay, greater than this should be the love for the Lord in the hearts of His lovers, who are ever to be enraptured with this love, as He has commanded us, (You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.) (Deuteronomy 6: 5). That is what Solomon said by way of allegory: (For I am lovesick.) (Song of Songs 2: 5). The whole of the Song of Songs is an allegory concerning man’s love for God.”*

* Mishneh Torah, Mada, Hilchoth Teshubah, X, 3

In our everyday life, too, this love should affect our conduct profoundly. According to the Mishnah: “It is incumbent on a man to bless God for the evil in the same way as for the good, as it says, You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, etc. (Deuteronomy 6: 5). With all your heart means with your two impulses, the evil impulse as well as the good impulse*. With all your soul means even though He takes your soul (life). With all your strength means with all your money. Another explanation of with all your strength (me’odecha) is: whatever treatment He meets out to thee.” (Ber. 54a)**

* Exposition based upon the redundant letter ‘v’ in levavekha (your heart).
** Exposition based upon the similarity of the words middah (measure) and meod (exceedingly).

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