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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

VaEtchanan 45-6

And I begged

Deuteronomy 6:4-25 

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strengthŠ The LORD commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the LORD our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today.

Deut. 6:4-5, 24 NIVUK

Can we love and fear at the same time?

Man was created with the ability to love, because he was made like the Eternal who is love. And since the Eternal is One, He has to be the reason of our lives. To live for Him implies to love Him, respect Him, and fulfill His commandments. Love for the Eternal has to spring from the innermost parts of our being, from the heart, and then flow through the soul and body.

Love for the Eternal is the greatest thing a human being may have and express. To love Him is superior than to fear Him. Fear is the right response from the created beings to the greatness of the Creator. Love is our right response to His goodness. We love because we've received from His love. That's why love is the outcome of having met and known Him. The one who doesn't love, doesn't know the Eternal.

Where there is no fear of the Eternal there can't be love, and where there is true love to the Eternal there is also fear. Fear of the Eternal doesn't contradict love. The one who only fears doesn't know the Eternal's love; and the one who loves without fearing doesn't really love. True love respects and respect is a form of fear. The one who loves the Eternal obeys Him. The one who doesn't love doesn't obey; the one who doesn't obey doesn't love.

The Eternal sees what lies in the heart, while men see what is in front of them. The love in the heart is only seen by the Eternal.

The religious man without fear of the Eternal is a hypocrite who seeks his own glory. It's possible to live a religious life fulfilling all the rules without love, but it is an empty life - dry within. If there is no love, the most important element is missing.

So there can be religiosity without fear and love, and there can be religiosity with fear but without love. But there cannot be love without fear and external religiosity that reflects or manifests inner devotion.

May the Eternal help us be aware of His love to be able to receive it and love Him back with all our heart, soul, strength and wealth. The one who does this has achieved perfection. How can we reach such perfection? This text gives us the answer: by listening to what He says and by placing those words in our hearts. Then those very words will produce love in us.

Blessed be the Eternal for having loved us first, and for having given us His words!


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