והנה ענין אהבה זו רצה משה רבנו עליו השלום ליטע בלב כל ישראל, בפרשה: ועתה ישראל וגו׳

It is this love — this latter manner of love, which may be generated by contemplation — that Moses, our teacher, peace unto him, wished to implant in the heart of every Jew, in the passage,1 “And now, Israel,...”

בפסוק: הן לה׳ אלקיך השמים וגו׳

in the verse that speaks of G‑d’s greatness, “Behold, the heavens belong to G‑d, your L‑rd...” and likewise in the following verses that speak of G‑d’s love for His people:

רק באבותיך חשק וגו׳, ומלתם וגו׳, בשבעים נפש וגו׳

“Only in your fathers did He delight... You shall circumcise.... With seventy souls [did your forefathers descend to Egypt, and now He has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven].”

All the above inevitably leads to the first verse in the following chapter, namely:

ואהבת וגו׳

2“You shall love [the L‑rd your G‑d...].”

ולכן סיים דבריו על אהבה זו: אשר אנכי מצוה אתכם לעשותה

Hence [Moshe Rabbeinu] concluded his words in the later verse quoted above concerning this love,3 “... which I command you to do,”

Here, then, is the answer to the above query as to how it is possible to “do” or to create the spiritual emotion of love:

שהיא אהבה עשויה בלב, על ידי הבינה והדעת בדברים המעוררים את האהבה

for this is a love that is produced in the heart through the understanding and self-involving knowledge of matters that inspire love.

But if the verse is in fact referring to the kind of love that is created through contemplation, should it not first command one to contemplate? Indeed so, the Alter Rebbe now goes on to say:

ועל זה צוה כבר תחלה: והיו הדברים האלה אשר אנכי מצוך היום על לבבך

And this he had commanded previously, in the first paragraph of Shema:4 “And these words, which I command you this day, shall be upon your heart,”

כדי שעל ידי זה תבא לאהבה את ה׳, כדאיתא בספרי על פסוק זה

so that through this [meditation] you will come to love G‑d, as is stated in the Sifri on this verse.5

והנה על אהבה זו השנית, שייך לשון מצוה וצווי

An expression of command (“which I command you to do — to love”) can thus be applied to this second type of intellectually-generated love,

It might seem that to command a person to experience love would be either fruitless or superfluous. Not so, however, with regard to the kind of love that is born of contemplation. Here, one can indeed be given a command:

דהיינו: לשום לבו ודעתו בדברים המעוררים את האהבה

namely, to focus one’s heart and mind on matters that arouse love.

אבל באהבה ראשונה, שהיא שלהבת העולה מאליה, לא שייך לשון צווי ומצוה כלל

But an expression of command is not at all applicable to the first kind of love, which is a flame that ascends of its own accord.

ולא עוד, אלא שהיא מתן שכרם של צדיקים, לטעום מעין עולם הבא בעולם הזה

Furthermore, it is the reward of the tzaddikim, to savor a foretaste of the World to Come in this world.

In the World to Come the righteous bask in the rays of the Divine Presence: they delight in their perception of G‑dliness. And it is this delight that tzaddikim enjoy in this world when they serve G‑d with love.

שעליה נאמר: עבודת מתנה אתן את כהונתכם, כמו שיתבאר במקומה

Concerning this [level of love] it is written,6 “I have granted [you] your priesthood as a Divine service which is a gift,” as will be explained in its proper place, namely, where the Divinely-bestowed gift of ahavah betaanugim is discussed.

* * *

The Alter Rebbe now goes on to explain what special quality lies in the lesser manner of service of “educating the child according to his way,” so that “even when he grows [spiritually] older he will not depart from it.” It is true that the lower level of love, that which is engendered by meditation, is a stage in one’s educational preparation, so to speak. Compared with the loftier level of essential and constant love that is revealed only within tzaddikim, it is a child’s service, within the reach of all. Yet there is something in it that must be retained even when one has graduated to the “adult” manner of love of G‑d.

For it is possible that the superior kind of love will not always be manifest even when one is on the level of a tzaddik. Particularly so, since his mandatory advances from level to level demand that before reaching a higher rung he must first release his hold of the previous rung; otherwise, it will encumber his ascent.

When the tzaddik is bereft of his own level of love, he then nourishes his divine service with a resource that harks back to his spiritual childhood — with a love born of meditation, the lower level of love in which he was schooled before he attained the state of tzaddik.