“You built a world that exhibits love” (Psalms 89).
“עולם חסד יבנה”
Love might be the most misunderstood yet trusted emotion we have. We really can’t define it, yet we all know how crucial it is to our experience. In the verse above King David sings how love is the fabric of creation. In that light, the Kabbalists teach that love is the earliest emergence of God’s brilliance in this world. His other six features are merely the tweaking and definition of that original ‘love-light’!
In Torah 34 Rebbe Nachman teaches something very deep. He quotes the verse in Psalms 69 “חרפה שברה לבי” (Humiliation breaks my heart) and says that, indeed, disgrace and disrespect break our hearts. But the remedy is to connect our hearts to our ‘inner core’ and weaken that embarrassment. (In the lesson he explains how speaking to the Tzaddik, talking seriously to our friends and even positive self-talk are the tools to relate to our ‘inner core’).
But what is our ‘inner core’ (הנקודה)?
Reb Nosson explains beautifully (‘ליקוטי הלכות, הלכות נדרים א) that our inner core is a profound and unique holiness. That holiness is an intensely deep love for ourselves, for the world and for God. The holiest and healthiest thing in the world is love!
The childish definition of holiness online is: “sacred and consecrated to God and religion”. Or in Greek Mythology a ‘god of love’ is naively a god of sexual attraction. Reb Nosson blows all this out of the water! He is saying that holiness is love! Every bit of true love is so unique and personal. When we express love to others it feels unbelievably right! There’s no way to describe it except by saying that it’s so balanced and harmonious. That’s what holiness is! It’s hitting the target dead-on. It’s living life accurately.
Although there’s one caveat. Because our essence is love, we have a deep urge to project that love outward. For reasons beyond the scope of this article that love is too often expressed in unhealthy relationships such as addictions, narcissism, promiscuity, greed and gluttony. Those relationships irk us and cause us anguish and uncomfortability. Our essence is being expressed but in a means that doesn’t suit it. That expression is accompanied by feelings of humiliation, disgrace and embarrassment. But those irritating feelings are really a blessing in disguise. Those annoying sensations are the real us, the holiness in us, screaming out to look for a more befitting match. May it be God’s will that we have the good fortune to listen to that inner space when it calls out and express our love wholeheartedly in healthy giving. Amen!