Lovesickness

By Rabbi Dovid Markel

 

In the Yedid Nefesh that we say before Shabbos it states: “Majestic, beautiful, radiance of the universe my soul is sick for your love. Please O G‑d, heal her now by showing her the pleasantness of Your radiance. Then she will be strengthened and healed and eternal gladness will be hers.”

The Talmud (Sanhedrin 75a) describes a similar love sickness, but towards a woman:

“A man once conceived a passion for a certain woman, and his heart was consumed by his burning desire [his life being endangered thereby]. When the doctors were consulted, they said, ‘His only cure is that she shall submit.’ Thereupon the Sages said: ‘Let him die rather than that she should yield.’ Then [said the doctors]; ‘let her stand nude before him;’ [they answered] ‘sooner let him die’. ‘Then’, said the doctors, ‘let her converse with him from behind a fence’. ‘Let him die,’ the Sages replied ‘rather than she should converse with him from behind a fence.’”

In Reishit Chachma it writes of a certain individual that from his passionate love towards a woman, he eventually learned how to love G-d.

The same is true of the above section in Talmud; from its description of love-sickness we can learn how we are to be love-sick towards G-d.

We could learn two things from this:

The first, the degree that we should be in love with G-d. To abandon all desire for all corporeal matters, where our life is meaningless and we are ready to die, all for G-d to reciprocate His love towards us.

The second, that though we may not be fully able to experience G-d, or see Him in a manner that it states (Yeshayahu, 30:20) “your Teacher shall no longer be covered (enclothed),” we should at least speak to G-d behind a wall – experience His revelation as it goes through the veil of the Torah.

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