Related: Where does Rav Dessler mention that root word of אהבה is הב?

Rav Wolbe in Alei Shur vol 2, in the first va'ad on Hakaras Hatov (page רעט) says that Hakaras Hatov is a foundation of love.

חכמת המידות שהכרת הטוב מביאה לידי אהבה. (Hakoras Hatov brings to love.)

Rav Wolbe goes on to suggest that in its absence there will not be any enduring love.

In Rav Dessler's מכתב מאליהו in קונטרס החסד, he states that the basis of אהבה is giving. On p 127 of the English edition (Strive for Truth) he says,

“love flows in the direction of giving”.

So Rav Wolbe insists that Hakoras Hatov brings about love whereas Rav Dessler says that giving brings about love.

Is it possible (or necessary) to reconcile these two opinions?


1] We could say simply that Hakoras Hatov is a form of giving. This does not account for the statement that “in its absence there will not be any enduring love”.

2] There are different ways of bringing about love and there are different sorts of love.

  • 1
    Isn't this question much like asking whether dropping something or it falling off a shelf would cause it to fall? Or, more exactly, finding two books that refer to each example of falling, and asking how do we resolve the two or are the authors in disagreement? Aug 5, 2018 at 23:06
  • @MichaBerger It would be if not for the fact that Rav Wolbe says that in the absence of Hakoras haTov there will not be any enduring love. That implies that these are not just 2 ways of getting to love, but that Hakoras haTov is essential (or possibly an essential component). Aug 6, 2018 at 8:54
  • I still think you're looking for a machloqes where there isn't any, but here is more grist for your mill: According to R' Dessler (Qunterus haChessed), hakaras hatov is what separates receiving-as-a-kind-of-giving from taking. Aug 6, 2018 at 18:57
  • @AvrohomYitzchok according to Kabbalah, there are 5 types of love (one for each finger of the right hand). Also, when we say love, are we talking about the actual emotion, or the closeness and belonging that comes between someone we are in a relationship with? The word is used for both. I think without clarifying this, we will get seemingly contradictory answers. If you'd like to know more about any of the above lmk
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Mar 26, 2023 at 20:13


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .