The Three Loves of His Life

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The following is a free translation of an excerpt of the Rebbe’s words at a farbrengen (chassidic gathering) on the Shvat 10, 5711 (January 17, 1951) – the gathering at which he formally accepted the leadership of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement.

Upon his arrival in America, the Rebbe[12] quoted the Midrash, “When you come to a city, do as its custom.”[13] Here in America people like to hear things expressed in the form of a “statement” – preferably a provocative and shocking statement. I don’t know if this is how it should be done, but “When you come to a city, do as its custom…”

A statement, then. The three loves – love of G-d, love of Torah and love of one’s fellow–are one. One cannot differentiate between them, for they are all one, of a single essence. The Baal Shem Tov quotes the early sages, “When you grasp the part of an essence, you grasp it all.” Since the three loves are of a single essence, each one embodies all three.

If there is love of G-d without love of Torah and love of one’s fellow, this means that there is something lacking in one’s love of G-d. On the other hand, if there is a genuine love of one’s fellow, one will eventually attain a love of G-d and a love of Torah.

So if see a person who has a love of G-d but lacks a love of Torah and a love of his fellow, you must tell him that the love of G-d alone cannot endure. And if you see a person who has only a love for his fellow, you must strive to bring him to a love of Torah and a love of G-d; that his love toward his fellows should not only be expressed in providing bread for the hungry and water for the thirsty, but also to bring them close to Torah and to G-d.

When we will have the three loves together – “a threefold thread” that “is not severed”[14] – this will achieve the redemption. For just as this last galut was caused by a lack of brotherly love,[15] so shall the final and immediate redemption be achieved by love for one’s fellow.[16]

Adapted from the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe by Yanki Tauber.

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[13] Midrash Rabbah, Breishit 48:16

[14] Ecclesiastes 4:12

[15] See Talmud, Yuma 9b.

[16] Likkutei Sichot, vol. II pg. 499.

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