It has previously been noted that the higher level of love can come about only after one’s fear of G-d is total. However, the lower level of love may sometimes come about, as shall soon be explained, even without being preceded by the fear of G-d.

This [latter] category of love sometimes precedes fear, according to the quality of the daat which fathers it, as is known. (17For daat incorporates both Chasadim and Gevurot, which are love and fear; chesed is love, and gevurah is fear. Daat reveals both these emotions. Thus, binding one’s daat intensely to the greatness of G-d gives rise to both feelings, fear and love,

וְהִנֵּה, בְּחִינַת אַהֲבָה זוֹ, פְּעָמִים שֶׁקּוֹדֶמֶת לְיִרְאָה, כְּפִי בְּחִינַת הַדַּעַת הַמּוֹלִידָהּ, כַּנּוֹדָע [שֶׁהַדַּעַת כּוֹלֵל חֲסָדִים וּגְבוּרוֹת, שֶׁהֵם אַהֲבָה וְיִרְאָה,

and sometimes, the Chasadim descend and manifest themselves first).

וּפְעָמִים שֶׁהַחֲסָדִים קוֹדְמִים לֵירֵד וּלְהִתְגַּלּוֹת],

The Chasadim may sometimes precede the Gevurot; this means that daat may sometimes evoke love before fear.

Therefore, it is possible for a wicked and sinful person to repent by virtue of the love that is born in his heart at the time he remembers the L-rd his G-d.

וְלָכֵן אֶפְשָׁר לְרָשָׁע וּבַעַל עֲבֵירוֹת שֶׁיַּעֲשֶׂה תְּשׁוּבָה מֵאַהֲבָה הַנּוֹלְדָה בְּלִבּוֹ, בְּזָכְרוֹ אֶת ה' אֱלֹהָיו.

Although up to the point of his repentance, he was wicked and lacked a fear of G-d, still there may be born in him a love for G-d that will lead him to repent.

At any rate, fear, too, is included therein—in the love, as a matter of course, except that it is [there] in a state of “minuteness” and “concealment,” namely, as the fear of sin—of rebelling against Him, G-d forbid, while the love is in a revealed state in his heart and mind so that consciously, the individual is only aware of a love for G-d.

וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם, הַיִּרְאָה גַּם כֵּן כְּלוּלָה בָּהּ מִמֵּילָא, רַק שֶׁהִיא בִּבְחִינַת קַטְנוּת וְהֶעְלֵם, דְּהַיְנוּ, יִרְאַת חֵטְא, לִמְרֹד בּוֹ חַס וְשָׁלוֹם, וְהָאַהֲבָה – הִיא בְּהִתְגַּלּוּת לִבּוֹ וּמֹחוֹ.

However, such a case—where the wicked and sinful person should suddenly attain a love of G-d and become a penitent, where love precedes fear, is an extraordinary occurrence, and an “emergency prescription” through G-d’s particular providence as the occasion requires, as happened with Rabbi Elazar ben Durdaya,18 who had been sinful and suddenly became a penitent, repenting out of a love for G-d. Indeed, so intense was his penitence that it caused his soul to depart his body.

אַךְ זֶהוּ דֶּרֶךְ מִקְרֶה וְהוֹרָאַת שָׁעָה, בְּהַשְׁגָּחָה פְרָטִית מֵאֵת ה', לְצוֹרֶךְ שָׁעָה, כְּמַעֲשֵׂה דְּרַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן דּוּרְדַיָּיא.

This was an “emergency prescription” required for that occasion. For it is written19 that Rabbi Elazar ben Durdaya was a gilgul—the reincarnated soul—of Yochanan the High Priest, who served in that office for eighty years and then became a Sadducee.20 All the Torah and mitzvot fulfilled by Yochanan were elevated through the transmigration of his soul into the body of Rabbi Elazar ben Durdaya, whose life story followed the reverse course, that of a sinner who ultimately repented out of his love for G-d.21

However, the [regular] order of divine service, which is determined by and depends on a man’s choice, is to begin with the fulfillment of the Torah and mitzvot through yirah tataah in its state of “minuteness,” at least, departing from evil and doing good, i.e., refraining from committing any sins and performing all the mitzvot,

אֲבָל סֵדֶר הָעֲבוֹדָה הַקְּבוּעָה וּתְלוּיָה בִּבְחִירַת הָאָדָם – צָרִיךְ לְהַקְדִּים תְּחִלָּה קִיּוּם הַתּוֹרָה וְהַמִּצְוֹת עַל יְדֵי יִרְאָה תַּתָּאָה בִּבְחִינַת קַטְנוּת עַל כָּל פָּנִים, בְּ"סוּר מֵרָע וַעֲשֵׂה טוֹב",

so as to illuminate his divine soul with the light of the Torah and its commandments

לְהָאִיר נַפְשׁוֹ הָאֱלֹהִית בְּאוֹר הַתּוֹרָה וּמִצְוֹתֶיהָ,

whereupon the light of love will also shine upon it,

וְאַחַר כָּךְ, יָאִיר עָלֶיהָ אוֹר הָאַהֲבָה

(22for the word Ve’ahavta, (“And you shall love [the L-rd your G-d],”) has a numerical value twice that of ohr (“light”), as is known to the students of the Kabbalah).

[כִּי "וְאָהַבְתָּ" בְּגִימַטְרִיָּא ב' פְּעָמִים "אוֹר", כַּיָּדוּעַ לְיוֹדְעֵי חֵן]:

Thus, first must come the illumination earned by the fulfillment of Torah and mitzvot, and only then can one be granted the illumination of experiencing a love of G-d.