Hear O Israel, the Lord is our G-d, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your G-d... (6:4-5)
The Maggid of Mezeritch expounded on the verse "And you shall love the Lord your G-d": how can there be a commandment to love? Love is a feeling of the heart: one who has the feeling - loves. What can a person do if, G-d forbid, love is not imbedded in his heart? How can the Torah instruct "you shall love" as if it were a matter of choice?
But the commandment actually lies in the previous verse, "Hear O Israel." The Hebrew word Sh'mah ('hear') also means 'understand'. So the Torah is commanding a person to study, comprehend, and reflect upon the oneness of G-d. Because of the nature of the human mind and heart, and the relationship between them, this will inevitably lead to a love of the Almighty since, in essence, the mind rules the heart. If one contemplates deeply and yet is still not exited with a love of G-d, this is only because he has not sufficiently refined and purified himself of the things which stifle his capacity to sense and relate to the Divine. Aside from this, such contemplation by the mind will always result in a feeling of love…
- Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok of Lubavitch
Note: In his Tanya, the bible of Chabad Chassidism, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi states: "By its very nature, the mind rules the heart." This axiom, known as the 'Aleph of Chassidus', forms the cornerstone of the Chabad-chassidic approach to life.
The renowned chassid Rabbi Moshe Meisel of Vilna, youngest of Rabbi Schneur Zalman's disciples, once told Rabbi Eisel of Homel: "The Alef of chassidus saved me from a certain death."
Rabbi Moshe Meisel, an extremely learned man, was fluent in German, Russian, Polish and French. During Napoleon's war on Russia he served as a translator for the French High Command. Rabbi Schneur Zalman had charged him to associate with the French military officials, to attain a position in their service, and to convey all that he learned to the commanders of the Russian army. Within a short while Rabbi Moshe had succeeded in gaining the favor of the chief commanders of Napoleon's army and was privy to their most secret plans.
It was he, Reb Moshe, who saved the Russian arms arsenal in Vilna from the fate which befell the arsenal in Schvintzian. He alerted the Russian commander in charge, and those who tried to blow up the arsenal were caught in the act.
"The High Command of the French army was meeting" related Reb Moshe "and hotly debating the maneuvers and the arrangement of the flanks for the upcoming battle. The maps were spread on the floor, and the generals were examining the roads and trails, unable to reach a decision. Time is short. Tomorrow, or, at the very latest, the day after, the battle on the environs of Vilna must begin.
"They were still debating when the door flew open with a crash. The guard stationed inside the door was greatly alarmed and drew his revolver. So great was the commotion, that everyone thought that the enemy had burst in in an attempt to capture General Shtaub…
"But it was Napoleon himself who appeared in the doorway. The Emperor's face was dark with fury. He stormed into the room and raged: "Has the battle been planned? Have the orders to form the flanks been issued?"
" 'And who is this stranger?!' he continued, pointing to me. In a flash he was at my side. 'You are a spy for Russia,' he thundered, and placed his hand upon my chest to feel the pounding heart of a man exposed. At that moment, the Aleph of chassidus stood me by. My mind commanded my heart to beat not an increment faster. In an unwavering voice I said: 'The commanders of His Highness the Emperor have taken me as their interpreter, as I am knowledgeable in the languages crucial to the carrying out of their duties…' "