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What does it mean to truly fear Hashem?

        

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Published
Rabbi Mendel Kessin


(Glossary below)

Yirah and Ahavah of Hashem as unique mitzvos
- All mitzvos are vehicles for the soul to express itself via the body
- Specific mitzvos are singled out for a special goal
- Yirah and ahavah affect how mitzvos are done
- These mitzvos do not have a time restriction

Defining fear
- Fear is an emotion felt towards a known threat, as opposed to anxiety where the threat is unknown
- The mind is always assessing the threat level of any situation due to the instinct of self preservation
- Fear also applies to a threat to one’s self worth

Levels of yiras Hashem
1. Yiras haonesh
- This is the knowledge and feeling of accountability one has from Hashem and the possibility of receiving consequences from Him
- This is the lowest level of yiras Hashem
2. Yiras haromemus
- This is the understanding and feeling of being in the presence of the awesome Being that is Hashem
- One can feel this even if he doesn't expect any consequences from Hashem
- This feeling comes from an understanding of the infinite disparity between Hashem and yourself, leading to an awareness of your relative vulnerability and mortality
- This level is greater than yiras haonesh since one achieves this level through understanding the nature of Hashem (as much as is possible) and an increase in emunah
3. Yirah meahavah
- This is the fear that one will disappoint or hurt someone that one loves.
- One can love Hashem so much that one fears disappointing Him
- Moshe Rabbeinu initially wouldn’t accept the mission Hashem gave him to free the Jews from Mitzrayim out of fear that he would disappoint Hashem through doing and incorrect action or having an incorrect intention.
- This is a very high level

Yiras Hashem is foundational
- It sets an attitude for your performance of mitzvos
- It stops you from doing wrong
- It puts you in perspective with regard to your struggle between doing Hashem’s will vs your own will

Developing yiras Hashem
- Become familiar with the attributes of Hashem as much as possible
- This can be accomplished through a study of nature (science) and understanding that they are acts of Hashem

Glossary
- Hashem: God
- Ahavah: Love
- Yirah: Fear/Awe
- Mitzvos: Commandments
- Onesh: Consequence/Punishment
- Chet: Sin
- Emunah: Faith (Literally: faithfulness)
- Romemus: Exaltedness
- Moshe Rabbeinu: Moses our teacher
- Mitzrayim: Egypt
- Yiras Hashem: Fear/Awe of God
- Yiras haonesh: Fear of consequences
- Yiras haromemus: Awe of the exaltedness of God
- Yirah meahavah: Fear born out of love

By Rabbi Mendel Kessin
torahthinking.com

in English
Category
Emunah - Вера
Tags
yirat Hashem, fear of Heaven
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