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The Sh'ma opens with the commandment to love the L_rd your G_d with all your heart, all your soul and all your resources.

To help protect the sanctity of Shabbat, there are laws which build a fence around the observance, keeping sanctity of Shabbat a step away from desecration; are there similar guidelines or laws in halacha to help protect the observance of the commandment to love Hashem?

I can think of many instructions which contribute to one's loving Hashem - for example, the many blessings of thanks help one keep in touch with one's gratitude for the pleasures of existence. But what is there that is expressly concerned with avoiding damage to your own, or someone else's love for Hashem?

Are there guidelines for Rabbis and other teachers, maybe, on how to instruct people in matters of observance in such a way that the recipient of their guidance understands observance as a path to increased holiness and doesn't mistake it for a burden? Is there advice for individuals on how to approach a mitzvah so that it can be appreciated, not merely fulfilled (or even just endured)?

  • The last paragraph seems to ask for something different than the rest of the question: "Are there guidelines for Rabbis and other teachers, maybe, on how to instruct people in matters of observance in such a way that the recipient of their guidance understands observance as a path to increased holiness and doesn't mistake it for a burden" this is different from asking if there are mitzvot designed to protect one's love for God. Additionally, the last paragraph seems too broad. – mevaqesh Oct 19 '15 at 12:27
  • @mevaqesh Yes, the last paragraph is different to the previous ones: if it were was asking exactly the same question as them, it would have been pointless my writing it. Since I don't know at all what might be the possible answers to my question, how do you imagine that I would be able to focus it? If you know which the superfluous branches are, it would be very helpful if you were to use the edit function. – chrysanthemum Oct 19 '15 at 13:38
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According to the "Duties of the Heart" love of God is a very advanced level. It requires lots of foundation work as explained in chapter 3 of the Gate of Love of God there. Here is an excerpt. You'll need to study the whole book to fully understand his words.

What is the way to attaining love of G-d? I answer this question as follows: This request is not possible for the seeker without many prerequisites. When the prerequisites are fulfilled, there will emerge from them the love of G-d. But one who has intent to it directly will not reach it...

...When one will fulfill all of these and combine them with abstinence from the pleasures and lusts of this world, and he understands the greatness of the Creator, His might and exaltedness, reflects how small is his own worth, how puny and lowly he is, and he comes to realize the great benevolence of the Creator on him, and His great kindness with him - then the love of G-d from the believer will come, with a perfect heart and with genuine purity of soul, and a longing for G-d that will be with exertion, zeal, and passion

http://dafyomireview.com/article.php?docid=394#ch3

  • how does this answer he question? – mevaqesh Oct 2 '15 at 16:46

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