The Zohar, “The Second Commandment,” item 198: The second Mitzva (commandment) is inseparably connected with the Mitzva of fear, and it is the Mitzva of love—for man to love his Creator with perfect love. What is perfect love? It is a great love, as it is written, “He walks before the Creator in complete sincerity and perfection” (Beresheet, 17:1).
There exists conditional love, which appears as a result of all the goodness received from the Creator (Introduction to The Study of Ten Sefirot, items 66-74), as a result of which man merges with the Creator with all his heart and soul. Yet, although he merges with the Creator in complete perfection, this love is considered imperfect.
Perfect love is the greatest, most inclusive upper commandment that Kabbalists tell us about, which is the major requirement with regard to all of creation that we must fulfill. This is the reason it is called a Mitzva.
In conditional love, the more I receive, the more I love the giver. It turns out that I don’t actually love him but the source from which all of the pleasures come. If this source of pleasure stops, I will lose the connection with this person or this force. This is called conditional love because it depends on my pleasure.
I depend on that love because I cannot differentiate myself from my pleasure, from the part in me that enjoys. I don’t split myself into two parts yet: into the donkey that enjoys and the human being who differentiates, sees, realizes, and feels that. The donkey and the human being are still connected. Therefore, if I feel good, I love the source of pleasure, and if I feel bad, I don’t love it.
This is the way we all love in this world, starting from small children who sometimes say that mommy is bad if she doesn’t do what they like. This is a natural, direct response of the ego and is natural for everyone with regard to everything in life. This kind of love is called conditional love, and therefore, it is imperfect. This is in accordance with the level of our development, and there is nothing we can do about it.
Of course, the more we develop, the more we will demand a more sublime love, not just some delicious food, some service, or some small pleasures, but more sublime and special feelings. However, this love still depends on receiving pleasure. It is with such love and from such love that we are born since we are a desire to receive; we are all like beasts, and this is where we start. This is the reason that we love what we enjoy, which means the source of the pleasure that we feel.
This requires much work, great effort, and a gift from above in order to begin to detach from the source of pleasure and connect to one’s inner essence. We should stop depending on receiving pleasure in our donkey and should prefer the actual source of pleasure, His qualities, not bringing direct benefit to me, but are valued for their own sake, at their source. It will be a love not conditional on what I get, but which depends only on what I identify by my impression of the sublime qualities of the source, on His special exaltedness as compared to everything that I can imagine.
From the Preparation to the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2/10/14