The Knowledge Of G-D – 3:7

The next level of Divine excitement is the first level of actual love and fear of G-d, but only as it relates to action.  This is called a “good thought” which connects to the performance of the Mitzvot, thus enabling them to ascend.  (Love and fear of G-d are called the “two wings that fly upward”.)  The difference between this level and the previous level is as follows:  In the previous level, although his intent is specifically for G-dliness, nonetheless, his desire is only that he should be close to G-d, rather than far from Him.  This desire comes about only out of the preciousness and greatness of G-d in his mind.  Nonetheless, there is no actual excitement for G-dliness in his mind, for it is still far from him.  He desires to come close, but has not yet accomplished it. He has only come to acknowledge the absolute truth of matters of Divinity, through Hitbonenut.  This is, therefore, not called a “good thought”, but rather, a “cold thought”.

The difference between the two is like the difference between thinking about your own money as opposed to thinking about someone else’s money. This is like thinking about the fact that someone else won the lottery, rather than winning it yourself. For example, if a business man hears that another business man, who he greatly admires because he has amassed billions of dollars in wealth, has just cut a multi-billion dollar deal, this will arouse thoughts of awe and respect in his mind. He will consider the huge sums of money, (which he values greatly), over and over in his mind, and will be struck by the awesome size of the deal. However, if he hears that a hundred thousand dollar deal that he, himself, has been working on has just come through, he will become far more excited in a way which is incomparable, both quantitatively and qualitatively to his excitement over the billion dollar deal. Why? Shouldn’t he be more excited about the billion dollars than a measly hundred thousand dollars?

The reason is because the billion dollars is not his. Whatever excitement he might have over it, is not because he just earned a billion dollars, but rather, because he wishes that he did. This is called a “cold” or “dispassionate” thought. However, the hundred thousand dollars is his. It affects him personally and will have a profound effect on his lifestyle. Therefore, it is incomparably more important to him than someone else’s billion dollars. If he hears good news or bad news in relation to his own business deal, his thoughts become completely aroused, focused and engrossed in it and he takes it personally.  His mind becomes excited and completely involved in it, and he is genuinely moved by it.

The second level which arises from contemplation of G-dliness, is this type of thought, in which the mind becomes attached to G-dliness as something which is directly relevant and meaningful to him.  This is called a “good thought” which becomes attached to action, as mentioned above.  In other words, this type of thought gives rise to actual heartfelt love and fear of G-d as it relates to doing the mitzvot (Commandments).

However, on the level of “cold thought”, although he desires to come close to G-d and be divinely inspired, this has not yet happened. It is an acknowledgement and commitment to G-dliness, but from afar. The only thing born of it is his embarrassment and shame when he realizes just how far he is from G-dliness. Because he realizes the lowliness of this world and its affairs, he makes a commitment to desist from evil (the 365 negative commandments) and to fulfill the 248 positive commandments.  However, this is only because he realizes that this is a very proper and good thing to do, and is the true path to achieving his goal, which is closeness to G-d. This is similar to one, who after the “cold thought” upon hearing that someone else has won the lottery, as mentioned above, is motivated to go and buy a lottery ticket.

This level is therefore not actually a true level of love and fear of G-d, for it is not directly relevant to him.  Nonetheless, it is still the first level on the proper path to G-d.  Furthermore, there is an aspect of G-dliness here, due to the contemplation on G-dliness. However, it is still not an actual excitement of love and fear of G-d.  (This is in contrast to the levels detailed above which have no G-dliness in them whatsoever, since there, his only desire is for his self gratification and pleasure, rather than for G-dliness.)

However, it must be pointed out that the level of a “good thought” is not an actual excitement of the heart, but rather, only of the thought.  Furthermore, this love only relates to action, i.e. desisting from evil and doing good.  It is not at all an internal arousal of the emotions of the heart.  Nonetheless, in regard to the action, it is higher than the level of “cold thought”, which is just the matter of commitment and resolution.  In the level of “good thought, although there is no actual arousal of the emotions in the heart, nonetheless, the mind is aroused with great yearning and desire. There is a great yearning for the revelation of G-dliness, to fulfill the positive commandments and to desist from evil.  Therefore, though it is relevant to action only, it is still considered to be love and fear of G-d.  This is similar to what was explained above regarding one’s thoughts in personal matters that, at the very least, there is an excitement of the emotions of the intellect.

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