In order to fullfil Devarim 10:12

And now, Yisroel, what doth Hashem Eloheicha require of thee, but to fear Hashem Eloheicha, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve Hashem Eloheicha with all thy lev and with all thy nefesh,

How can one learn to love our Creator?

  • See Hinuch here quoting Sifre.
    – Oliver
    May 8, 2019 at 15:05

4 Answers 4


Rambam Yesodey Hatora 2 gives one way to do that:

But how may one discover the way to love and fear Him? When man will reflect concerning His works, and His great and wonderful creatures,1 and will behold through them His wonderful, matchless and infinite wisdom, he will spontaneously be filled with love, praise and exaltation and become possessed of a great longing to know the Great Name, even as David said: "My soul thirsts for God, for the living God," (Ps. 42,2);
and when he will think of all these matters, he will be taken aback in a moment and stricken with awe, and realize that he is an infinitesimal creature, humble and dark, standing with an insignificant and slight knowledge in the presence of the All Wise, as David said: "For when I see Thy heavens, the wonderful works of Thy fingers, of what use is man that Thou mayest remember him?" (Ibid. 8,4). And, in harmony with these matters, I elucidate great, general principles of the works of the Lord of the universe, so that they might serve as an opening for one who understands by which to love the Name, as some sages said on the subject of love: "Out of it thou wilt recognize the One who spoke, and the universe was called into existence."


This is an excellent question and forms the basis of the end of chapter 49 and the beginning of chapter 50 in section one, Likkutei Amarim of the Tanya by the Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, discussing the 2nd blessing preceding the recital of Shema where he explains:

To quote [again] "As water mirrors the reflection of a face": As the Holy One, blessed be He, has, as it were, laid down and set aside, figuratively speaking, His great infinite light, and has stored it away and concealed it by means of three different kinds of "contractions"— and all this because of His love for lowly man, in order to raise him up to G‑d, for "Love impels the flesh," how much more, and an infinite number of times more, is it fitting that a man also should relinquish and set aside all he possesses, both spiritually and physically, and renounce everything in order to cleave to Him, may He be blessed, with attachment, desire and longing, without any hindrance, within or without, neither of body nor soul, nor money, nor wife and children.

Thereby will be understood the true reason and meaning of the Rabbinical enactment, ordaining the recitations of the blessings of the Shema: two preceding it.... For it would appear, at first glance, that they have no connection whatever with the recital of the Shema, as "Rashba" and other codifiers have stated. Why, then, were they termed "Blessings of the Shema?" And why were they ordained to to be recited specifically before it?

But the reason is that the essence of the recital of the Shema is to fulfil the injunction "With all thine heart,..." to wit, "With both thy natures,..." that is to say, to overcome anything that deters from the love of G‑d.

and continues...

Then follows the second blessing, "With an everlasting love hast Thou loved us, O Lord, our G‑d." That is to say, that He set aside all the supernal, holy hosts and caused His Shechinah to dwell upon us, so that He be called "Our G‑d," in the same sense that He is called "The G‑d of Abraham," as explained earlier. This is because "love impels the flesh." Therefore it is called ahavat olam ("worldly love"), for this is the so-called "contraction" of His great and infinite light, taking on the garb of finitude, which is called olam ("world"), for the sake of the love of His people Israel, in order to bring them near to Him, that they might be absorbed into His blessed Unity and Oneness.

This is also the meaning of "With great and exceeding pity [hast Thou pitied us]," namely, exceeding the nearness of G‑d towards all the hosts above; "... and us hast Thou chosen from every people and tongue," which refers to the material body which, in its corporeal aspects, is similar to the bodies of the gentiles of the world; "And Thou hast brought us near... to give thanks,..."— the interpretation of "thanks" will be given elsewhere;"... and proclaim Thy Unity,.. ."— to be absorbed into His blessed Unity, as has been explained above.

When the intelligent person will reflect on these matters in the depths of his heart and brain, then— as [surely as] water mirrors the image of a face— his soul will spontaneously be kindled and it will clothe itself in a spirit of benevolence, willingly to lay down and resolutely to abandon all he possesses, in order only to cleave unto Him, may He be blessed, and to be absorbed into His light with an attachment and longing, and so forth, in a manner of "osculation" (נשיקין ) and the attachment of spirit to spirit, as has been explained earlier.

But how does the attachment of spirit to spirit take place? To this end it is stated [further on]: "And these words shall be ... upon thine heart. And thou shalt speak of them...." As is explained in Etz Chayim that the union of "osculation" is essentially the union of ChaBaD with ChaBaD, that is, concentration in the Torah; while the mouth, as the outlet of the breath and its emergence into a revealed state, represents the category of speech engaged in words of the Torah,

for "By the word that proceedeth out of the mouth of G‑d doth man live." However, one does not fulfil one's duty by meditation and deliberation alone, until one expresses the words with his lips, in order to draw the light of the blessed En Sof downwards [even] unto the vivifying soul which dwells in the blood of man— which is produced by [the intake of food from] the mineral, vegetable and animal [worlds]— thus to raise them all to G‑d, together with the entire Universe and to cause them to be absorbed in His blessed Unity and Light, which will illumine the world and its inhabitants in a revealed manner— "And the glory of G‑d shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together...." For this is the purpose of the descent of all the worlds, that the glory of the Lord may pervade this world especially, in a revealed manner, to "change darkness to light and bitterness to sweetness," as has been explained above at length. And this is the essence of man's kavanah in his service: to draw the light of the blessed En Sof down below. However, the initiative must come through the elevation of the מ"ן to surrender to Him his soul and possessions, as has been explained above.

All the distinctions and gradations of love, that have been mentioned above, derive from the "right side," from the distinction of "Priest, man of grace" and are called kesef ha-kodoshim ("longing for holy things") etymologically as in "Thou sore longedst after thy father's house."

There is, however, yet another distinction of love which excels them all, as gold is superior to silver, and this is a love like fiery coals from the distinction of the "Supernal Gevurot" from Binah ilaah ("Supernal Understanding"). This is when, through contemplation on the greatness of the blessed En Sof, before Whom everything is truly accounted as nought, the soul is kindled and flares up towards the glory of the splendour of His greatness, in order to gaze on the glory of the King, like glowing coals of a mighty flame which surges upwards, striving to be parted from the wick and the wood on which it has taken hold. This is brought on by the preponderance of the element of Divine fire that is in the divine soul. In consequence of this it develops a thirst, as is written: "My soul thirsteth for Thee"; next it attains the distinction of "love-sickness"; and then it reaches a state of very rapture of the soul (כלות הנפש ) as is written: "Yea, my soul is enraptured."

From here [supernal Gevurot] issues forth the root of the Levites [on earth] below (and in the World to Come, when the world will be exalted, they will become the priests, as our Master Rabbi Isaac Luria, of blessed memory, commented on the verse, "But the priests, the Levites," that the Levites of today will become the priests of the future). The service of the Levites was to raise the voice of melody and thanksgiving, with song and music, with tunefulness and harmony, in a manner of "advance and retreat" which is the distinction of the intense love resembling the flame that flashes out of the lightning, as is mentioned in the Gemara (Chagigah, ch. II).


R' Zvi Sobolofsky addresses this in a TorahWeb.com article titled "Loving Hashem," asking:

How do we practically fulfill this core mitzvah [of Ahavas Hashem]?

A: The Rambam towards the end of Hilchos Teshuva 10:2-3 equates loving Hashem with knowing Hashem. Just as the love one feels for another person increases the better one gets to know that person, so too the more we know Hashem the more intense our love for Him becomes.

The Rambam explains that by delving into His wisdom we can know Hashem, and that wisdom is composed of two parts.

  • 1) First, by studying the intricacies of His creation we can attain a greater understanding of Hashem and thereby enable our love of Him to grow.

  • 2) In Sefer Hamitzvos the Rambam highlights that Hashem revealed the second aspect of His knowledge to us in His Torah. The greater understanding of Torah one achieves, the more one knows, and thereby loves, Hashem.

R' Sobolofsky addiotionally notes:

The Sifrei, as quoted by Rashi, notes that immediately after the Torah commands us to love Hashem we are instructed to immerse ourselves in talmud Torah. It is only through a deep commitment to talmud Torah that one can reach the lofty goal of ahavas Hashem.

Lastly, R' Sobolofsky writes how having bein adam lachaveiro middos is also a component of loving Hashem :

Ahavas Hashem also expresses itself in merging our bein adam lamakom with our bein adam lachaveiro. Chazal teach us that part of ahavas Hashem is to bring others to love Hashem. One who exemplifies ahavas Hashem and is pleasant to other human beings will encourage others to lead their lives in a similar manner.


There are already excellent answers, I want only to add the Sifre debe Rav on Devarim 6.6, summarized in the Rashi comment of the verse. Here is the text of the Sifre.

היו הדברים האלה אשר אנכי מצוך היום על לבבך. למה נאמר? לפי שהוא אומר "ואהבת את ה' אלהיך בכל לבבך", איני יודע: באיזה צד אוהבים את הקב"ה? ת"ל "והיו הדברים האלה אשר אנכי מצוך היום על לבבך". והיו הדברים האלה על לבבך - שמתוך כך אתה מכיר את הקב"ה ומדבק בדרכיו: ‏

Take to heart these instructions with which I charge you this day. Why is it said? Since the precedent verse says You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, I don't know how to love g-d, the verse explains how: these instructions (words) should be taken to your heart. These words to heart, because through them you learn to know the Blessed be One and you can attach yourself to Him.

Explanation: Love is a human and animal feeling based on knowledge, attachment and reciprocity. One cannot love someone we do not know anything about. Moreover, you cannot really love someone you do not know how he feels about you. The Tora is what G-d tells you. If you lists attentively what He tells you, you will love him.

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