Six Constant Mitzvot: Ohalei Yosef: Sanctification Through Love
The 12th of Tammuz is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Eliyahu Yosef (ben Aryeh Leib) Rivlin (1805-1865). Taught Chabad Chassidus in Yerushalayim, wrote Ohalei Yosef. The first published volume of Ohalei Yosef is on the laws of the Sanctification of God’s Name, and the laws of Tzeddakah.
Although it is the Mitzvah of Kiddush Hashem, the Sanctification of God’s Name, that obligates us to give up our lives rather than commit adultery, murder, or idol-worship, we derive the idea of giving up our lives for God from, “And you shall love God, your Lord, with all your hearts, with all your souls,” even if you must give up your soul; your life. The verse is describing love, immediately following the Mitzvah of knowing that God is a Unity.
It is love that must motivate our willingness to sanctify God’s Name. Love for God based on our conviction and clarity that He is a unity. It should never be fear that motivates such sacrifice. It should not be fear of the sin, or even fear of God. The ultimate challenge is to love God so much that all I want is to sanctify His Name and protect it from defilement through idol-worship, anythinh which will weaken the sense of God’s Unity.