Quality & Quantity

Day 10 – Berachos 11

The Gemara is discussing the Berachos said before reciting the Shema. There is a dispute whether you say Ahava Raba or Ahavas Olam. Tosafos says that because there is a dispute, during Shacharis, one should say Ahava Raba and during Maariv one should say Ahavas Olam.

What is the difference between Ahava Raba and Ahavas Olam? Furthermore, why is Ahava Rabba said in the morning and Ahavas Olam at night?

I heard from my father, in the name of Rav Yosef Engel that the difference is one between the quality or the quantity of the love of Hashem for us.

Let’s explain.

In the morning, the world is bright and we see all the blessings of Hashem clearly, we say Ahava Rabba, that Hashem has a lot of love for us. However, as it becomes darker and we do not see so clearly the blessings of Hashem – in fact it appears to be very dark, we say Ahavas Olam. This reflects the eternal & deep love that Hashem has towards us.

Even if things are looking very dark – we recognize that Hashem still loves us and we say the Shema.

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