Let My People Know

"A process of spiritual education from love of the crudest sort to the most refined"


One of the great rabbis of  the Chabad movement, the Rashab, who died in Russia in 1920, used to say that man sins, and when he is brought before the Heavenly court, he is judged twice. 

First, he is asked why he did not keep the Commandments and refrain from transgression; second, if he had to transgress, why could he not have chosen at least to do something beautiful? 

And the sinner is adjudged for the ugliness of his deeds as well as for their wrongness. 

What is indicated here is a process of spiritual education from satisfaction to satisfaction, from love of the crudest sort to the most refined, to the level of the love of God. 

In this sense, the love of God is, as was once said by a certain Tzadik, a lust like any other appetite, except that in order to satisfy this particular passion, one has first to shatter all the other lusts. 

As a lust, Divine love is a form of egoism, even if it is a passion that a person seeks to satisfy within himself. 

It is egoism in that one does not negate oneself; one only probes and penetrates deeper into oneself. 

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From The Sustaining Utterance, p. 8, by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz