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We are now entering the month of Tamuz, the month of Cancer. And for those of you who know Cancers, certainly those of you who are Cancers, like myself, know that emotions are a very big aspect of what makes Cancers unique, and also what makes this month unique. The power of emotions comes from this month; therefore, all of us, regardless of whether we were born in Tamuz or not, have the opportunity to take control of our emotions this month.
Our emotions are tremendously powerful, and can either assist us or limit us in our spiritual growth and in our connection to the Light of the Creator. I’d like to talk specifically about the emotion of love. One of the most important lessons of Kabbalah, the whole purpose of all the work that we do, boils down to one single statement- Love your neighbor as yourself. It is the basis of everything that we do of a spiritual nature. The basis of all our connection to the fulfillment and blessings that we hope to bring into our lives is dependent on how much we are developing our internal love towards other people.
It is important that we differentiate between two types of love. There is ego love, or selfish love, and there is true sharing love; it is the second type of love that connects us to the Light of the Creator and brings into our life the blessings and fulfillment that we desire.
The ultimate level of love is when we feel an innate desire to care, to share, with other people who do not give us anything in return. Love, as the kabbalists teach it, is not dependent on anything. And that is the ultimate level of love. As Rav Ashlag stresses, the entire purpose of our life in this world, the only way we can achieve fulfillment and true connection with the Light of the Creator, is when we not only have love towards other people, but also when we are constantly growing that love towards all of humanity.
That is the ultimate test of our spiritual growth. When we realize that even if we do 101 different spiritual actions or make 101 different connections, but our love towards other people is not growing, then we are not connecting to the Light of the Creator. And this is a very important point, because I think most of us believe that we are loving people. Certainly, we love our spouse, our children, our friends, those who are close to us. But that is not the test of love. That is not the ultimate true love. The constant question we need to ask ourselves is - is our love growing continually for those people who do not give us anything in return, for those in particular who do not give anything back to us?
The kabbalists teach about Abraham, who is the channel for Chesed, the channel of love and kindness. They teach that when Abraham lived, his whole life centered around love, sharing with others, and awakening and growing his love towards other people. He opened up the channel of love that flowed into our world; before Abraham, the channel of love from the Supernal world down to our world was limited. And Abraham's great work was that he opened up the channel of love not only for himself, but more importantly, for the rest of the world. And in the time of Abraham, it was easier for people to love others than during any time before him. But unfortunately, the kabbalists teach, people began using that love in a negative way. Their love became corrupted by their selfishness and ego. And so in order to protect humanity, the Creator had to again limit and shut down that channel of love.
It is a very important lesson that has to do with every single one of us. Every single one of us has the ability to either open up our channel of love or to limit our channel of love. And how do we open up our channel of love? By actively pursuing and awakening our love towards other people.