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? – Micha Berger Aug 5 '18 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). – Avrohom Yitzchok Aug 6 '18 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. – Micha Berger Aug 6 '18 at 18:57

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