Knowledge is Power -- G-dly Knowledge is SUPER Power.
And now, Israel, what does G-d want of you? Only that you be in (fear) awe of G-d your L-rd, so that you will follow all His paths and love Him... (Deut. 10:12)”
The two greatest motivators in a human being are fear and love. Fear before love. Rabbi Aharon of Karlin said, “Fear without love is not complete. Love without fear is nothing.”
The great defender of Israel, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev after a long visit with his teacher the preacher of Mezritch returned home. The father in law of Rabbi Levi Yitzchok, not very fond of the preacher, asked his son in law. “So what did you gain from your new teacher, the preacher of Mezritch.” Rabbi Levi Yitzchak answered. “I learned (how) to fear G-d.” Immediately the maid was called in and asked. “Do you fear G-d? “And the maid answered, “Sure.”
Turning to his son-in-law in a mocking tone he said, “So you spent all that time, for what a simple maid has? “ Rabbi Levi Yitzchok answered, “She says, she fears.”
King Solomon concludes his book of Ecclesiastes, “Ultimately, when all is known, fear G-d and observe his commandments, for this is the whole purpose of man…” When it comes down to it, King Solomon advises, to fear (and have awe and true respect for) G-d is the foundation, and final objective of human existence.
The preacher of Mezritch explains, a person must fear the sin itself and not merely the punishment it incurs. The situation is analogous to a father who warns his son not to walk around barefoot. The father warns that if the child steps on a thorn, he will have to be brought to a doctor to remove it and the operation will hurt him a lot. The son, because of his youth and limited intelligence, is not afraid of the thorn itself and the possibility that he might step on one; he is merely afraid of its removal. The father, however, truly wants him to avoid the thorn, and sees its removal as a positive remedy if he should so require it. So it is with our avoidance of transgression. Man wishes to avoid punishment, but G-d worries about the sin itself, and sees the punishment as a necessary atonement and correction.
Doing the right thing and staying away from what’s bad is “for our own good.” “The Bible was granted, to improve the world.” In the book of mysticism, the Zohar, it says, “G-d looked into the Bible (as a blueprint) and from it, He created the world.” Everything written in the Bible, the word of G-d, presented to mankind in front of millions of people, is a blueprint for all that is infinitely good, precisely organized and kind.
The things we are commanded to do, like resting once a week and be disciplined with our eating, and start the day with a prayer so we are focused on our purpose, and wash our hands when we come out of the restrooms, are all for our own benefit. Doing what’s wrong, is plain and simple to our own detriment. The punishments or sufferings that come as a result of bad choices is only to rectify the damage we made.
The Baal Shem tov, teacher of the preacher of Mezritch explains. The above verse in the Bible to fear G-d, is not the very simple and immature fear of punishment and fear of a G-d who is greater and stronger. This is something expected in anyone who contemplates the source for everything and our constant dependence on G-d.
The commandment to “fear G-d”, is, to be so aware of G-ds greatness and prominence that a person feels ashamed to do anything wrong, that would or could upset and/or offend Him, similar to the way a person would behave and act if a great and respected person was standing right there at his side.
In the Talmud, “Rabbah the son of Rav Huna says, whoever has the knowledge of Torah but lacks fear and awe of Heaven, can be compared to a guardian who holds the keys to the inner chambers but lacks the key to the outer doors.”