Why does the command to love HaShem tells us to love him with all our lev, with all our nefesh and with all our me'od? Why doesn't the verse says or add something like, with all you neshama or with all your ruach? Why these three? And why not just levavcha uvechol nafshecha like in other verses?

P.s. in relation to this question: Why does it say to love HaShem meodecha

  • See verse "תחת אשר לא עבדת את ה' אלוקיך בשמחה ובטוב לבב מרוב כל" – kouty Jun 14 '16 at 5:43
  • is there such a thing as love in the ruach and neshama? – ray Jun 14 '16 at 6:01
  • @kouty would you please explain your reference to the verse of Devarim 28:47? – Levi Jun 14 '16 at 9:33
  • @Levi Ibn Ezra אשר תתאוה או כל צורך – kouty Jun 14 '16 at 9:42

See Sanhedrin 74a:

דתניא ר''א אומר {דברים ו-ה} ואהבת את ה' אלהיך בכל לבבך ובכל נפשך ובכל מאדך אם נאמר בכל נפשך למה נאמר בכל מאדך ואם נאמר בכל מאדך למה נאמר בכל נפשך אם יש לך אדם שגופו חביב עליו מממונו לכך נאמר בכל נפשך ואם יש לך אדם שממונו חביב עליו מגופו לכך נאמר בכל מאדך ‏


כלומר תהא אהבתו חביבה לך יותר מכל החביב לך ‏

For it has been taught, Rabbi Eliezer said: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. Since 'with all thy soul' is stated, why is 'with all thy might' stated? Or if 'with all thy might' be written, why also write 'with all thy soul'? For the man to whom life is more precious than wealth, 'with all thy soul' is written; whilst he to whom wealth is more precious than life is bidden, 'with all thy might' [i.e., substance]. {Rashi explain that the love for G-d must be more than the dearest for you}

So we understand why soul and substance; hearth is an other topic. (Mishna Brachot 9, 5). See Ramban on Devarim 6, 5. From Rishonim it seems that all is included into Lev, Nefesh and Meod. Ibn Ezra said that Lev is Ruach. In modern speech, all this include desire and thinking, intelligence.

We do not see lev, nefesh, neshama, ruach as a list of organs (heart, liver, kidney, lungs...), but as a list of attitudes, of frames of mind, of situations.

  • Could one say it's about emotional knowledge (heart), intellectual knowledge (being), and physical deeds (me'od)? In which this love for HaShem should be involved/shown? – Levi Jun 14 '16 at 8:16
  • @user4762 of course, the Ramban is detailed about this. – kouty Jun 14 '16 at 8:20
  • @user4762 the translation of nafshecha by being is very good Ishar koach – kouty Jun 14 '16 at 8:26

Rav Hirsch points out that each of the three teaches a different lesson.

The heart is considered the seat of the will. Rav Hisrch says on the pasuk

Thus, the conception of תפילה is given as "work on yourself" as being a penetration of one's whole being with enlightening thought ans ennobling feelings.

The soul in the first paragraph of the Shma is the emotions and desires while "might" is all one's physical resources (see Art Scroll siddur notes and the Mishna Brachos 9:5). This also includes martyrdom as we see in Rav Hirsch on Va'esachanan - Devarim 6:5

לבב is the heart of hearts, the innermost centre of the human organic body. נפשׁ: the living and striving personality מאד: the whole sum of means and forces, the "fortune".

As we have in the declaration of Independence; Our lives our fortune and our sacred honor

Rav Hirsch also says

בכל לבבך ... both the יצר טוב and the יצר הרע are to be used to serve Hashem

Yea, in truth, none of our inclinations are in themselves good or bad. All of them, the most sensuous of the sensuous ones, the most spiritual of the spiritual ones become good or bad according to whether or not they are usedwithin the limits, and for the purpose Hashem has allotted to each one of them, or misused, going beyond the limits, neglecting the purposes, or changing them for other purposes which Hashem has set for them.

Raav Hirsch continues regarding our existence

בכל נפשך ... not to think that this remaining in His proximity would be bought at too high a price by giving up the whole existence here below for it.

Rav Hirsch brings the story of Rabbi Akiva from Berachos 61b as an example of this concept.

Finally, we have the physical means of our survival.

ובכל מאודך: ... using all one's means in the service of Hashem as well as in renouncing every gain or acquisition which can only be obtained or kept through transgression of Hashem's laws.

... For מאד is not really only one's wealth of money but altogether the complex of all means for accomplishing anything and so comprises everything which the management of Hashem's Love measures out to us.

Neirot Chanukah: A Cherished Expression of Ahavat and Kidush Hashem

When the Chashmonaim refused to concede their avodat Hashem even in the face of mortal risk in a time of religious crisis (shaat ha-shemad- see Sanhedrin 74b; Rambam, Hilchot Chanukah 3:1, Hilchot Yesodei ha-Torah 5:3) they were applying the norms of kidush and ahavat Hashem. It is significant that the source and concept of ahavat Hashem- “ve-ahavta eit Hashem Elokecha be-kol levavechah u-bekol nafshecha u-bekol meodecha” - is the basis for the kidush Hashem of martyrdom (idolatry, and possibly shaat ha-shemad…see Sanhedrin 74b; Pesachim 25a; Rambam, Hilchot Yesodei ha-Torah 5:7), as well as the daily kidush Hashem obligation to represent avodat Hashem and halachic commitment constructively (Yoma 86a- “she-yehei shem shamayim mitahev al yadecha”; Rambam, Yesodei ha-Torah 5:11, though with a different source).


Rav Kook (Olat Reiyah, 249) seems to suggest that me'odecha refers to Neshamah.

In it's association with the body, ruach is tied to the lev or 'heart'. Maimonides connects ruach as movement to movement of the heart. 'The heart' He writes, 'is in constant motion,and the source of every motion noticed in the body.' (Read it in genocide in jewish thought - David Patterson page 97 - viewable with Google books).

So maybe the verse of Devarim 6:5 does indeed includes these elements of our inner being as well.

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