By Eva Gabay
Breaking this down
a bit, we see that the Hebrew word "Yirat" means not only to "fear" but
also to "see".
Let's begin by getting to the point here, each day in our daily prayers we say "vi'ti'tain lanu chaim she'yesh bahem yirat shamayim v'yirat chet". We directly ask Hashem to give us "Fear Of God."
Now why would we ask for Hashem to bestow the mitzvah of fear within us. Simple, we love and honor Hashem and therefore by showing and asking for this specific fear, we show that we are truly sincere in the choices that we make and the repenting that we do. Among other things, this also show's Hashem that we love him so completely that to "Fear Him" is a gift.
The mitzvah to "Fear Hashem" is what I feel to be the only one thing in this world that we have complete control over. Yes, effects of situations that have been guided by Hashem come into play when deciding within ourselves whether or not to offer our "fear", but we alone have been given by Hashem the choice of weather or not to show our eternal love for him by "fearing" Him.
Hashem doesn't want
to make us fear Him, he doesn't want to force us to be good Jews. Rather,
Hashem wants us to show these qualities on our own volition as he guides
us on the right path. He wants us to love him and honor him so much that
"fearing Him" just comes naturally. He has given us the "inclinations"
both good and bad, which are apart of our everyday lives and do play a
role in how we conduct ourselves and the way we feel about the choices
We need to really take a deeper look inside ourselves and explore the gifts and the contentment that comes from "Fearing Hashem".
Fearing Hashem doesn't mean being scared of Him in the sense that He is going to be mad at you for every choice you make, it instead acts as a guide to help us choose the right decision.
For example let's say
you you're at work and you see an opportunity to make a lot of money. Of
course you're going to go for it, right? Maybe not. This is where the fear
of Hashem comes into play. Let's say that you sell diamonds. An amateur
jeweler has walked into your showroom and is interested in purchasing some
diamonds for some pieces he is working on. You can tell that he's pretty
new at buying diamonds and you see a perfect chance to make some extra
money. Well you could try to justify this by saying to yourself "hey this
is business, this is what I do, I make money". Or you might say to yourself,
"he won't know the difference, all my products are good and I deserve to
have a little extra money for the hard work and time I put in" Or any number
of other so called reasons you may come up with to take advantage of the
situation. But now on the other hand, if you were truly following the mitzvah
to "Fear Hashem" then you would not be an "opportunist" looking for a quick
dollar by trying to justify or rationalize why you should take his money.
Instead, you would just go about your business treating him like any other
customer that comes into your establishment.
Making the latter of these choices is the obvious one for a person who honestly holds the fear of Hashem dear and incorporates it into their daily lives even when it leaves them with "materialistically" less than what they might have had. The spiritual benefits are innumerous. That is just one example of how the fear of Hashem is a part of our everyday lives.
Let's conclude by taking a look at the meanings of the Hebrew word "Yirah." Yirah, having both the meaning of "to fear" and the meaning of "to see", we understand that fearing and seeing are both intertwined in a meaning like this: If you "fear" Hashem it is basically the same as "seeing" what the right thing to do by Hashem is. Makes sense.
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