As we enter the Shabbos before Chanukah, I am taking a personal moment to think about Ahavas chinam and where I stand in reaching such an inspired goal. In one of the translations from the derech of Rabbi Asher Freund, Rabbi Freund explains that we are to love each other in a way that is not dependent on any other variables. When I heard that language, I was so very grateful. Here is why.
I have been sharing how arousing love in our heart when we have a challenge is the heart language that helps to dissolve the components of the challenge. The Nefesh HaChaim and the Bilvavi explain that by breaking the challenge back into its elemental parts earth, wind, water, and fire, we are able to infuse into this world of time and space Hasheem’s love.
While it seems like a challenge in and of itself to arouse love for Hashem when we are feeling challenging emotions, the mitzvah of Ahavas chinam becomes something we are more inspired to reach for in the moment when we tie together the knowledge of Hashem from Torah. How can we understand this from our perspective?
Have you ever felt like a martyr, doing for everyone openly and willingly and then needing something and no one is available? I choose this example because I think it comes up for most people at some point or another and it I a great way to show us what is going on in our relationship between Hashem and us. If you think of a situation and remember what you felt, write it down. Now let’s see – is it wind/honor? Fire/anger/fear? Water/desire? Or Earth/sadness/laziness? Or a combination of all four elements? On a scale of 1 to 10 how charged is it?
That same charge represents the power we are being given to POSITIVELY affect the elements, albeit the circumstances are 100% not in our control.
What do we have to do to return the charge in teshuva to Hashem? Simply keep steady and remember that we are sincerely yearning to a value of giving love independently of any variables. We may have to breathe through that for many seconds. We may be exhausted But we can see the bigger picture. If we can hold our own lives steady out of love for Hashem and understand that this is our primary purpose, we contribute something to the revelation of Hashem’s love and light in this world. How? That is the amazing part. Hashem is the One Who is giving every single second everything in the world and we are the ones who take it for granted! We can appreciate His Love so much more when we realize that whatever we are feeling, Hashem could make the same claim yet doesn’t, billions of times more. The pleasure of going to this place of self-nullification and identification with Hashem’s love is the pleasure for which we are created and turns our will into love = which is Hashem’s will -itself.
Good erev Shabbos and may we soon see the revelation of Hashem’s love throughout the world.
The link to the material from Rabbi Asher Freund