The suggested advice to enable one to accept [it] with love is G-d’s counsel through the mouth of our Sages, of blessed memory—“to examine one’s conduct.”24

וְעֵצָה הַיְּעוּצָה לְקַבֵּל בְּאַהֲבָה, הִיא עֲצַת ה' בְּפִי חֲכָמֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה: "לְפַשְׁפֵּשׁ בְּמַעֲשָׂיו",

The Gemara says that “if one sees afflictions befalling him, he should examine his deeds” and repent.

He will find sins that require scouring by means of suffering. He will then clearly see G-d’s great love toward him, which “upsets the natural order of [Divine] conduct,”

וְיִמְצָא לוֹ עֲוֹנוֹת הַצְּרִיכִין מֵירוּק יִסּוּרִים, וְיִרְאֶה לָעַיִן גּוֹדֶל אַהֲבָתוֹ אֵלָיו, הַמְקַלְקֶלֶת הַשּׁוּרָה,

as in the simile of a great and awesome king who, out of his immense25 love for his only son, personally washes off the filth from him.

כִּמְשַׁל מֶלֶךְ גָּדוֹל וְנוֹרָא הָרוֹחֵץ בִּכְבוֹדוֹ וּבְעַצְמוֹ צוֹאַת בְּנוֹ יְחִידוֹ, מֵרוֹב אַהֲבָתוֹ,

As it is written,26 “When G-d will wash off the filth from the daughters of Zion…with a spirit of justice27….”28

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "אִם רָחַץ ה' צוֹאַת בְּנוֹת צִיּוֹן כוּ', בְּרוּחַ מִשְׁפָּט כוּ'".

When one becomes aware of G-d’s great love for him, a love that is expressed by scouring him with the cleansing agent of suffering:

Then, “as in water face reflects face,”29

וְ"כַמַּיִם הַפָּנִים אֶל פָּנִים",

The verse goes on to say, “…so is the heart of man to man.” And the same is true of the heart of mortal man to Supernal Man:

there will be an arousal of love in the heart of everyone who perceives and understands the preciousness of the nature of G-d’s love for the nether beings, for those who find themselves in this world, the lowest of all worlds.

תִּתְעוֹרֵר הָאַהֲבָה בְּלֵב כָּל מַשְׂכִּיל וּמֵבִין יְקַר מַהוּת אַהֲבַת ה' אֶל הַתַּחְתּוֹנִים,

This [Divine love] is dearer and better than all the [kinds of] life of all the worlds, both spiritual and material,

אֲשֶׁר הִיא יְקָרָה וְטוֹבָה מִכָּל חַיֵּי הָעוֹלָמִים כּוּלָּם,

as it is written, “How precious is Your lovingkindness (chesed)….”30

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "מַה יָּקָר חַסְדְּךָ וְכוּ'",

[It is likewise written,] “For Your chesed is better than life….”31

"כִּי טוֹב חַסְדְּךָ מֵחַיִּים כוּ'",

The motivating nucleus of chesed is love. Thus, it is written, “I have loved you with an everlasting love and have therefore drawn down chesed upon you.”32

For chesed, which is a manifestation of love,

כִּי הַחֶסֶד שֶׁהוּא בְּחִינַת אַהֲבָה,

is the Fountainhead of life that is present in all the worlds; as it is said in the Amidah, “He sustains life through chesed.”33

הוּא חַיֵּי הַחַיִּים שֶׁבְּכָל הָעוֹלָמוֹת, כְּמוֹ שֶׁאוֹמְרִים: "מְכַלְכֵּל חַיִּים בְּחֶסֶד".

Chesed and love are thus the sustaining life-force of all living beings.

And then, i.e., when one realizes G-d’s great love for him that finds expression in afflictions, and when this in turn arouses a love within him so that he will better receive G-d’s love, then:


G-d, too, will grant goodness, of a kind that the naked eye can clearly and palpably perceive as good,

"גַּם ה' יִתֵּן הַטּוֹב",

and make His Face (the innermost dimension of Divinity) shine toward him34

וְיָאֵר פָּנָיו אֵלָיו,

with a manifest love, which had earlier been garbed and hidden in a manifest rebuke,

בִּבְחִינַת אַהֲבָה מְגוּלָּה, אֲשֶׁר הָיְתָה תְּחִלָּה מְלוּבֶּשֶׁת וּמְסוּתֶּרֶת בְּתוֹכָחָה מְגוּלָּה,

The overt admonition that stems from G-d’s hidden love will then be transformed into a revealed love.

and the expressions of Divine severity (the gevurot) will be sweetened at their source,

וְיִתְמַתְּקוּ הַגְּבוּרוֹת בְּשָׁרְשָׁן,

Within their source, these expressions of Divine severity are ultimately benevolent; as they descend to the world below, they become manifest in the form of suffering. The gevurot, then, will be sweetened at their source,

and thereby, these expressions of Divine severity will become nullified forevermore.35

וְיִתְבַּטְּלוּ הַדִּינִין נֶצַח סֶלָה וָעֶד: