Baal HaSulam, “The Love for the Creator and Love for the Created Beings”: It is difficult to understand how such a statement (“Love thy friend as thyself”) can contain the sum-total of all the Mitzvot in the Torah.
It is said that the commandment “Love thy friends as thyself” is the greatest rule in the Torah. In other words, it’s a program that governs all of reality, it’s a program called “love.” It includes the still (S), vegetative (V), animate (A) and speaking (S) nature. Thus, everything and everybody is subject to the influence of the force of love and progresses in accordance with it whether willingly or not.
Love acts as an affectionate and caring mother and constantly expands the desire to receive. This is what the Light does: It nurtures the desire to receive.
However, while the entire system grows, its sufferings are enhanced since it advances egoistically. On one hand, I would like to “swallow” the entire world, but on the other hand, who will let me?
So, it turns out that I suffer more in spite of the new “opportunities” I get. We are given more choices; every day we hear about new sources of pleasure. We can even “touch” and “smell” them, but we can’t really immerse in them completely. Each time we observe the pleasure from the side and in the end, just add to our frustration.
This is how progress has unfolded for thousands of years until now: We cultivate sciences, technologies, culture, and education and still remain “unfilled.” There are plenty of vessels that are ready to receive pleasure, but so what?
Let’s take a smart phone as an example. When I hold it in my hand, I actually hold the entire world in my palm. I have a chance to talk with whomever I want, get to know what’s going on in the most remote places of the world… But what do I actually do? I chat about nonsense or “kill time” by playing virtual games. In the long run, I remain empty. The younger generation spends all their time like that, they sacrifice their future potential and overwhelm themselves with emptiness. We act as if we are little children.
It means that the Light has led us to withering and degradation, to deterioration and indifference. It was totally inconceivable to us that it would turn out this way.
Pleasures do not stimulate hopes anymore. On the contrary, we are disappointed in them and today, all we want is rest. We have realized that we will never get what we want anyhow, so let’s just “smoke and forget about everything.” It’s not an accident that drugs are being legalized lately. People have to be “calmed down” somehow.
So, what did long-term progress bring to us? Nothing! We wanted to become stronger and more powerful, and now we prefer to reduce our demands and be satisfied with as little as possible so that we can be filled with the sluggish calmness that we aspire to.
We have capitulated. We have helplessly raised our hands in surrender. By not following the principle of “Love thy friend as thyself,” we multiply our suffering.
This is where the problem hides. Love is a general, universal law that embraces all of reality. We cannot escape from it. The more we adhere to it, the more success we will achieve, and vice versa. We constantly experience failures because we don’t even try to implement this in life. Being indifferent to this principle, we don’t realize how much we lose and how much we could gain from it.
Meanwhile, “love your neighbor as yourself” is a general rule for all corrections. In other words, all parts of the inanimate, vegetative, animate, and speaking nature have to come together in a relationship called “love.” We cannot alter this rule. It will always be this way.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 10/16/13, Writings of Baal HaSulam