Rabbi Yaisa opened with saying: How much must a person love G‑d for there is no service before G‑d except love. G‑d calls 'beloved' everyone who loves Him and serves Him with love. If so, how is it possible to reconcile these two passages: "Do not forsake your own friend (G‑d) and your father's friend," (Prov. 27:10) and, "Let your foot be seldom in your friend's house (the Holy Temple, i.e. not to bring too many sacrifices)." (Prov. 25:17)

But the colleagues have already explained that this verse ["Do not forsake your own friend and your father's friend"] is written in reference to burnt offerings, but [the 2nd verse refers to sin offerings, that one should not sin and thus not bring many chata'ot and ashamot]. Now, regarding "Do not forsake your own friend, and your father's friend" - [Do not forsake] serving Him and cleaving unto Him and performing His commandments. "Do not forsake," indeed.

And regarding "Let your foot be seldom in your friend's house" - this means let your evil inclination [called "foot"] be seldom there, so that it would not provoke you or dominate you, and so that no strange thought will rise "from your friend's house." What is "your friend's house"? It is the holy soul that your friend (i.e. G‑d) placed in you and put inside you.

Therefore, the service of G‑d is to love Him in all [His dealings with you], as is written: "And you shall love the L-rd your G‑d with all of your heart, with all of your soul, and with all of your might." (Deut. 6:5) "This is my G‑d and I will glorify Him," for all of Israel saw at the sea what Ezekiel the prophet did not see (in his prophesy). Even embryos in their mothers' womb saw and praised G‑d and they all said: "This is my G‑d and I will glorify Him, the L-rd of my father and I will exalt Him." ["the L-rd of my father,"] is as is written: "the L-rd of Abraham."

Rabbi Yosi said: If so, why does it say, "And I will exalt Him," seeing that the L-rd of Abraham is [already] above [and there's no need to exalt Him further]. He said to him: Even so, it is needed [to exalt Him to elevate and connect him to Arich Anpin]. And it all pertains to the same issue [to connect all the partzufim to the same supernal place]. "And I will exalt Him," over all [to connect all to Abba, and from Abba to Arich Anpin]. Also, this includes one who knows how to unite (and thus connect all to) the Holy and Great Name (of Havayah), for this is the loftiest of service to G‑d.

Rabbi Yehuda was sitting before Rabbi Shimon and reading: it is written, "The voice of your watchmen is heard, they lift up the voice, together shall they sing." (Isaiah 52:8) Who are the watchmen in the phrase "The voice of your watchmen"? Those who anticipate the time when G‑d will have the mercy to build His house. When the verse states, "They lift up the voice", it should have said, 'They will lift up the voice' (in the future tense); what is the meaning of, "They lift up the voice" (in the present tense)? Every person who weeps and raises his voice over the destruction of G‑d's House will merit what is written afterwards: "Together shall they sing," and will merit to see it restored in joy.

The verse states: "When G‑d returns Zion;" should it not have said, 'When G‑d returns to Zion'? What is the meaning of, "When G‑d returns Zion"? "When G‑d returns Zion" is exact. Come and see: at the time that the earthly Jerusalem was destroyed and the Congregation of Israel were exiled, the Holy King [tiferet] ascended to Zion [yesod of malchut], and groaned over her, because of the Congregation of Israel [malchut] was exiled [and separated from the yesod of Zion]. When the Congregation of Israel [the Shechina] return to her place [i.e. connect with yesod of malchut], then the Holy King [tiferet] will return to His place, Zion [yesod of malchut] to unite one with the other. And that is the meaning of: "When G‑d returns Zion" [not 'to Zion']. Then, in future times, Israel will say: "This (in Hebrew, 'Zeh,' corresponding with Yesod) is my G‑d, and I will glorify Him," and: "This is Havayah [tiferet]; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation." (Isaiah 25:9) [Tiferet, called Havayah, unites with malchut through yesod, "Zeh/this"] - in His salvation, truly [for it is necessary for His salvation to return tiferet to Zion to its place to unite with malchut].

BeRahamim LeHayyim: What does the above mean to you, and why is it being revealed now?

Love, Love, Love, Love is all there is! There is no service before G‑d save love, sayeth the Zohar. Love is part and parcel of all of our prayers, Torah, and good deeds. The Third Temple will be built by the power of Love. Believe it or not, the Temple was destroyed because of G‑d's love for us. He could have taken his fury out on us, but instead it was directed at a building of stone and wood. Now, especially during these 3 Weeks of Mourning, the ball is in our court, to build in our hearts a place for the love of our fellow, and for G‑d. What this means for the individual is only personally known. Listen to the still silent voice within, and find out how to make a difference. Today.

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
Copyright 2003 by KabbalaOnline.org, a project of Ascent of Safed (//ascentofsafed.com). All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this work or portions thereof, in any form, unless with permission, in writing, from Kabbala Online.